OUR VIEW: Liberal bloggers can dance on the head of a pin all they want, but “less jobs” and “lost jobs” hurt just the same. Even a reluctant Hick said “raising the corporate [income tax] rate…right when we’re trying to attract businesses, that would put up a neon sign saying we don’t want businesses here.”
In an economic tit-for-tat that's about as interesting as watching a debate about the proper pronunciation of potato (potat-oh or potat-ah), a long running back-and-forth about a study showing that the Rollie Heath Tax Hike called Proposition 103 will kill 119,700 jobs was the focus of a story by Earnest Luning in the Colorado Statesman.
In the wake of the Statesman's reporting, today the liberal blogosphere is claiming victory, as the study's author says that the tax hike will result in fewer jobs created, as opposed to a job loss.
According to the Colorado Statesman, Dr. Fruits said:
“It is a difference in employment levels. If you don’t have the taxes, you’ll have one level; if you have the taxes, you’ll have another that’s lower.”
Summary: If there’s a tax increase there will be a lower employment level, and if there’s not a tax increase, there will be a higher employment level.
Exactly how is that a liberal victory?
More taxes and less jobs is about the same as more taxes and jobs killed. Unless, that is, you are riding the misguided wagon train that is the Prop 103 campaign.
Because everyone's eye lids are already glossed over, we won't engage the nuance of the debate over whose numbers are right except to make 4 quick points.
First, it isn't just conservatives who know that higher taxes will kill jobs. The Senate's Number Two ranking Democrat admitted as much in a bizarre statement a couple weeks back:
Senator Morse: Raising taxes will slow the Colorado economy. And we heard public testimony that whether it's Keynesian or monetary, or whatever, taking tax dollars out of the private economy slows the private economy. Okay. What about the government economy?
Second, the author of the Prop 103 study predicted almost exactly the economic impacts of a similar tax increase in Oregon a few years ago. Look, we don't worship on the alter of any particular economists’ set of projections any more than anyone else, but this guy has a track record of getting it right. In Oregon, he predicted a tax hike there would harm the jobs picture. And wouldn't you know it, his predictions were just about exactly right.
Third, if Proposition 103 is truly harmless from an economic standpoint, why did John Hickenlooper say to Mike Rosen in Feburary:
Raising the corporate [income tax] rate…right when we’re trying to attract businesses, that would put up a neon sign saying we don’t want businesses here.
…. Yes, if 103 is truly no big deal, why is John Hickenlooper afraid to take a position on it?
Fourth, whatever the real number of jobs lost, voters know that higher taxes means fewer jobs. And as long as liberals are debating the number of jobs lost, they are going to lose the debate.
In that sense, maybe the critics of Proposition 103 have the tax hikers exactly where they want them, as the debate over "jobs killed" as opposed to "fewer cumulative jobs" marches on.