The recent announcement that Toyota/Mazda had chosen Alabama over the Triad is the latest episode in a long-running series. It was never realistic to hope that Amazon might locate here. While the celebrated megasite might lure another large industry at some point in the near-to-intermediate future, the fact is that the major city nearby-- Greensboro-- has some real problems. First, it does not prioritize public safety and actively undermines the work of police. And second, it feels it does not need to compete to attract employers on the basis of cost and the ease of doing business.
Certainly, the local political culture believes it competes for employers when it repeatedly purchases various expensive bells and whistles in the downtown area and at the coliseum complex. That presumes key individuals making site selection decisions within the corporate community are looking for these particular bells and whistles.
I remember specifically a city council member stating a number of years ago that she felt a corporate executive was going to choose Greensboro and bring a huge company here because of the aquatic center. Really.
What truly afflicts Greensboro's local political culture is hubris, pridefulness, arrogance and obstinacy. They reflexively dismiss the idea that they must compete on the basis of combined state and local taxes and fees. Easing the local regulatory environment is not even on their radar screen.
And while they harbor these attitudes, local populations have suffered. The number and quality of well-paying full time jobs available for working class, lower middle class and minority families are quite limited. Outside the relatively safe harbors of governmental work, health care and education, local citizens don't have great choices here. Some other good niches exist, but they are limited.
And for families established here for many years, it has become a ritual to raise kids and then ship them off elsewhere to work. The opportunities here for college-educated young adults are limited.
These conditions were not present here two decades ago.
The need to compete is a given among those who must make a living in the private sector. But for political animals weaned on the precepts of socialism, it is a foreign abstraction. The irony is that they pose in a virtuous fashion, along with their crony donors, as if they truly represent the interests of the poor, the downtrodden and various minority groups.
One must congratulate them on one particular aptitude, however. They deceive people exceedingly well.