A lot of people are under the impression that the manufacturing core of Rhode Island left because taxes were too high.
In this post I will explain why I believe that to be untrue.
Taxes have always been present. Taxes aren’t the only factor that flushed out manufacturers like Gorham Silver, Brown & Sharpe, and FranColor.
Granted the whole tax break situation is lopsided. The companies and individuals that least need and deserve tax breaks and cuts get the lions share. Please explain how Fidelity needs massive tax cuts to have a presence in RI? Or Bank of America? I’d just as well see them pull up stakes and leave rather than to hold employees as ransom.
That said I think it is time for me to explain the drain on the manufacturing base in Rhode Island and in the nation as a whole.
Recall that the inception of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) happened during the early 1970’s, the EPA with the Ash Council Memo to President Nixon in 1970, and OSHA in 1971.
I contend that those two organizations had more to do with the flight of manufacturing than anything else.
Think for a moment, the environment was under severe strain in the 1970’s. You still had fuels containing lead, you had house paint with lead in it, but most of all you had toxic discharge from manufacturing processes that was fouling our air and waterways.
The technology existed even back in the 1970’s to mitigate the pollution but manufacturers and the companies that owned them decided they’d balk. They balked because of the cost of the measures to install scrubbers, and filtration, cooling and other systems to control pollution in their effluent. Even today you still get static from companies like PG&E or Southern Union and National Grid about pollution controls. The difference is, the latter three mentioned are energy companies who can’t just up and move out, instead they’ll pass the cost of pollution controls on to ratepayers.
But manufacturers could move out and they did. That first wave happened in the mid to late 70’s. First to the southeastern U.S. and from there it was China, India, in essence any third world shit hole that didn’t have any environmental law, or any worker safety provisions, or even a regulatory agency over food production.
This explains the problems we’re seeing in China right now. Tainted food is becoming epidemic in that part of the world and the pollution in some parts of China is astounding.
It goes back to something I’ve howled about on a regular basis. Big Corporations have far too much power. They control our political, regulatory and other agencies at this point in the game. And I’ve already explained the solution, just a tiny little verbiage change to a constitutional amendment and poof, corporations no longer have the same rights as a flesh and blood being.