Art Rolnick’s Star Tribune article Sunday struck a powerful chord about how corporate welfare has been trumping the welfare of children.

Art demonstrates that the 3 billion dollar subsidy to Foxconn in Wisconsin is likely to go the same way as Indiana’s Hail Mary payment to Carrier in Indianapolis for the promise of saving 1000 jobs (630 of which will be gone by the end of the year).

Another common unsustainable corporate welfare practice is a state promising subsidies to businesses in an adjacent state with the intention of moving those companies into his/her state.

By definition, the jobs that would be gained by the move will be jobs lost in the other.  This is tax subsidized corporate warfare.

There is something senseless and wrong with this kind of governance.  Good governance always considers sustainability.

Unsustainable behaviors can look attractive to begin with, but like a Greek tragedy, everybody dies in the end.

Spending millions to steal jobs from another state or fake keep jobs (for short periods) to make newspaper headlines should be seen for what it is.  Terrible governance (malfeasance).

Art explains that 150,000 at risk children could have had two years of early childhood education and been a much better use of tax dollars with the money given to Foxconn.

This volunteer CASA guardian ad litem wants you to know that state ward children truly do benefit from quality early childhood programs and this saves the state a fortune in future costs, public safety, public health and quality of life.

Normalized children grow up to lead productive lives and pay taxes.

Children left to fend for themselves often remain state wards for a lifetime.  Think about the financial and social cost of traumatized youth to schools, public health, a prison system reaching an 80% recidivism rate and the value of living in a crime free community (the insurance cost of crime in America is about 2 trillion dollars annually).

A single state ward boy in my caseload (for 14 years) cost MN 3 million dollars by the time he aged out of foster care. This is without any consideration for the people he stabbed, teacher he beat up or the damage he did to the 29 foster families he lived with as a state ward.  I predict that he will go on to hurt many more people and continue to cost the community for his health care, incarceration and other state ward costs.

If you value your tax dollar, invest in programs that make children healthy.  It’s the right thing to do and healthy children become healthy adults who go on to have jobs, raise healthy families (and they pay taxes and don’t require public subsidies).  

Arthur J. Rolnick is a senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He previously served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as a senior vice president and director of research. Mike Meyers is a former Star Tribune reporter.

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