Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Delaware Continues to Lose Business Friendly Competitive Advantage

In its annual report that ranks each state on how well it does to conduct and grow business, CNBC once again gave poor marks to Delaware.  In fact, Delaware has fallen into the bottom quartile, and with a dramatic turn-around the future does not look good for Delaware's economy.  For 2012, Delaware ranked a an anemic 43rd out of 50 (last year it ranked 36th.

The mere fact that in 2011 Delaware ranked 36th and in 2012 it now ranks 43rd, shows that policies by elected officials are simply not working.  Only two categories showed improvement - economy and access to capital.  This is a red herring since the labor force continues to shrink in Delaware and around the nation, but also because the unemployment rates drops due to lapsing of benefits paid to the unemployed.  Access to capital have have improved but this is a fraction of the what it was in 2007.  Delaware also cannot compete with larger states for venture capital due to its small size and lower profile.

Delaware also failed to be in the top five in any of the categories above.  In 2011, Delaware was in the top five in business friendliness (ranked #1 in the nation).

In the categories that will lead to job creation and business development, Delaware ranked worse in 2012 than it did in 2011.

Here are the definitions affiliated with the categories above and you will see why Delaware is not making the grade:

  • Cost of doing business - Cost is a major consideration when a company chooses a state. We looked at the tax burden, including individual income and property taxes, as well as business taxes, particularly as they apply to new investments. Utility costs can add up to a huge expense for business, and they vary widely by state. We also looked at the cost of wages, as well as rental costs for office and industrial space 
  • Workforce -  Many states point with great pride to the quality and availability of their workers, as well as government-sponsored programs to train them. We rated states based on the education level of their workforce, as well as the numbers of available workers. We also considered union membership. While organized labor contends that a union workforce is a quality workforce, that argument, more often than not, doesn’t resonate with business. We also looked at the relative success of each state’s worker training programs in placing their participants in jobs.
  • Quality of Life -  The best places to do business are also the best places to live. We scored the states on several factors, including local attractions, the crime rate, health care, as well as air and water quality. 
  • Economy - A solid economy is good for business. So is a diverse economy, with access to the biggest players in a variety of industries. We looked at basic indicators of economic health and growth. 
  • Infrastructure and Transportation - Access to transportation in all its modes is key to getting your products to market and your people on the move. We measured the vitality of each state’s transportation system by the value of goods shipped by air, land and water. We looked at the availability of air travel in each state, and the quality of the roads.
  • Technology and Innovation - Succeeding in the new economy—or any economy—takes innovation. The top states for business prize innovation, nurture new ideas, and have the infrastructure to support them. We evaluated the states on their support for innovation, the number of patents issued to their residents, and the deployment of broadband services. We also considered federal health and science research grants to the states. 
  • Education -  Education and business go hand in hand. Not only do companies want to draw from an educated pool of workers, they want to offer their employees a great place to raise a family. Higher education institutions offer companies a source to recruit new talent, as well as a partner in research and development. We looked at traditional measures of K-12 education including test scores, class size and spending. We also considered the number of higher education institutions in each state.
  • Business Friendliness - Regulation and litigation are the bane of business. Sure, some of each is inevitable. But we graded the states on the perceived “friendliness” of their legal and regulatory frameworks to business.
  • Access to Capital - Companies go where the money is, and venture capital flows to some states more than others.
  • Cost of Living -  The cost of living helps drive the cost of doing business. From housing to food and energy, wages go further when the cost of living is low.
 As you can see if you live or work in Delaware, the elected leaders are not living up to their end of the bargain.  The electorate trusted them to make things better, but instead continue to make it worse.  This is why elections matter.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Obama's Assault on the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is undoubtedly the most significant of the Bill of Rights.  It is undoubtedly the most significant.  It is the bedrock or foundation of this great nation and speaks to the who we are as a nation and what rights (or freedoms) we hold true.  The right to free speech; the right to choose and practice religion; the right to press;  the right to peacefully assemble; and the right to petition our government for grievances symbolize a nation that promotes individual liberty over government tyranny.

However, as of late, one of those freedoms is under attack.  Despite being mentioned twice in the First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof – the Obama Administration did not get the memo.  Our Founding Fathers intentionally framed religious liberty twice – the establishment of one religion over another and the practice of one’s religion – intentionally.  They did so because of the significance religion plays in a moral and just nation, but religion liberty also played a major role in why we became a nation in the first place.

Many of the early settlers to Colonial America - in the early 1600s - did so because of religious persecution in their native homelands.   If you look back at 16th Century England for instance, King Henry VIII martyred un-loyal dissidents who refused to recognize him as Supreme Head of the Church of England.  Despite the Act of Supremacy of 1534, many faithful felt the royal crown went too far.  Not too long after, Charles I of England created a schism between Protestants and Roman Catholics, of which many British Catholics fled to Colonial America.

Many of the framers of the Constitution remember what brought them or their ancestors to America – religious persecution and they wanted religious freedom to be protected.  And they did so with the First Amendment – the first protection of five key freedoms not witnessed by any other nation.
Fast forward to present day America and look no further to the Obama Administration for a present King Henry VIII or Charles I.  From the on-set of his inauguration Obama and his cabinet have embarked on a mission to divide the American religious faithful.  Despite those powerful and eloquent  sixteen words of the First Amendment, the Obama has ignored the rule of law and imposed his will on Americans who want to practice religion freely and dutifully.

The first salvo against the faithful was in February 2009 when the Obama Administration reversed the Mexico City policy which originally prohibited federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions around the globe.  Obama, well known for his abortion rights, in this action willfully uses taxpayer dollars earned by American faithful to fund abortions – or infanticide- against their conscience.  This action also cements America’s legacy in state-sponsored infanticide world-wide.  Not a legacy a moral nation would endure.
The 2011 full repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, instituted by the Clinton Administration advanced Obama’s agenda for sexual liberty.  That sexual liberty, reminiscent of the 1960’s sexual revolution endangers the moral conscience of the faithful in the military who must now cohabitate with who are not of the sexual persuasion.  This action compromises the faithful whose religious and moral teaching prohibit anything other than traditional marriage – between one man and one woman.  This policy also compels the military chaplains to compromise their faith by not condoning non-traditional relationships as immoral which is contradictory to their faith.

The precipice of Obama Administration divide of the faithful was cemented in the embattled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.   Passed in March 2010 along party lines, the behemoth of a bill is the hallmark of religious intolerance and government tyranny rolled into one.  The tenants of the bill which are an affront to religious liberty center on the mandatory funding of abortion and the conscience violation of contraception funding mandated by the new federally-compliant health care plans.  Despite empty rhetoric and promises from the Obama Administration, a citizens free exercise of their religion is compromised with the implementation of this legislation.

Whether the faithful knows this or not, the faithful’s conscience is compromised by de facto funding of abortion services, abortion drugs and contraception under the new health care plans.  The actions by Obama, his cabinet and the Democrats in Congress is so egregious to the integrity of the First Amendment that many organizations with the Catholic Church had no choice but to take the Obama Administration to federal court.  But let’s not forget that despite the deception by the Obama camp towards the Catholics on this issue, this is an assault on all faithful whose religious teachings put life over death.  An assault on one is an assault on all.

The fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is up for judicial review by the U.S. Supreme Court with a ruling in late June 2012.  Despite the ruling, the legacy of the Obama Administration is one that does not value the tenets of the U.S. Constitution and clearly not the Bill the Rights long cherished this republic for over 230 years..  Rather the Obama camp is more determined to govern via despotic rule.