The “Cultural Problem” Is With Mississippi Government, Not Her People.

By Keith Plunkett | April 16th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

BY: Keith Plunkett / Editor

Keith Plunkett is a Policy Consultant, Editor, Writer, Founder and Publisher of

Filed Under: Business, Contributor, Culture, Economic Development, Feature Stories, Federal Government, Keith Plunkett, MDA, Mississippi, Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi PEP, MS State Government, Opinion, Politics, Spending

Mississippians just don’t accept that the government should be in the role of “workforce training”. The results show why their suspicions are correct.

The Big Government/Economic Development folks are going “ga-ga” today over an editorial in the Daily Journal that blames Mississippians for creating a “stigma” around so-called “highly-skilled” “technical” jobs, of which there are reportedly 40,000 available.

The Daily Journal Editorial Board writes that the “skills-gap” in Mississippi is the result of a “culture problem,” and that Mississippi students look down on skills-training for careers such as welders and electricians.

But the Daily Journal, government agencies and big business groups, like the Mississippi Economic Council, rely on a false premise to excuse the failures and ignore the truth they don’t want to accept. Mississippi has many people, young and old alike, who have and who want to develop these type of skills. However, ordinary Mississippians just don’t accept that the government should be in the role of “workforce training” to begin with. The results show why the suspicions are correct.

Government, through “economic development” projects, spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually enticing companies to locate in Mississippi. Corporations are given tax incentives and advantages through numerous state and federal government labor programs to “win” their companies appreciation. The state government then purports to “train” Mississippians to develop the “skills” these companies will need from their employee work force.

There’s lot of taxpayer money floating into a lot of pockets in this scenario. And there’s a lot of federal dollars available for state government to keep pushing these programs. State government agencies use this money through the creation of a myriad of state and federal programs, and then hand it over to these companies to subsidize the “creation” of so-called “jobs of the future”.

There’s only one problem, and it’s a big one: the whole thing is a steaming pile of bureaucratic B.S., a money scheme.

On average, incentivized jobs these companies create have little to no increase in earnings for employees. Sure, as the Daily Journal opines, $60,000 is a solid starting salary. But the reality is most of these subsidized laborers will still be making the same salary years later as when they started — if they decide to stick with it.

The federal Dept. of Labor has researched the results of workforce training programs many times over decades in the hopes that the latest Congressional tweaking and reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act might finally show some positive impact.

The latest of these studies was released on November 8, 2016.

If this date sounds familiar, it’s because this was also the day of the Presidential election. The Labor Dept. Released the report on that date, two months later than required by statute, precisely because it contained more bad news for bureaucrats and Big Government believers.

The Labor Dept. tactic worked, initially. The public’s attention was squarely focused on the election and the report didn’t get a minute of coverage from media.

But the truth is there for those who want it.

The 2016 Labor Department report, as with the ones issued in previous years, proves workforce training is a bureaucratic fantasy.

The government of the State of Mississippi cannot predict the “jobs of the future”. To even suggest such a thing is laughable. The jobs that are available today through these programs are the result of companies taking advantage of state incentives. State government provides incentives by imposing the cost of that burden on taxpayers, and by taking advantage of those seeking jobs to make a living and a life in Mississippi.

Call it what you will. Blame whomever you wish. Government involvement stifles private investment, and it is only private investment in productive value that creates jobs.

Mississippi Republicans once understood that to be a basic fundamental conservative principle and an economic lesson learned from generations of experience. But the temptation was too much, and the prevailing sentiment today worries far more about keeping their campaign war-chests full and their donor base happy than in serving the people they were elected to serve.