Letter to the Editor

Let the marketplace decide

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I agree with Dana Grace's recent letter opposing a special tax to help a local developer. Government subsidies for private companies, whether they are farmers, bankers, industries, developers, etc, are misguided. Our economy should be market driven, meaning companies should compete in a fair, honest manner. When government enters, fairness goes out the window.

What's fair about subsidizing a business on one side of the street, but not the other? How can products and services be market driven with such unfair practice. Government has many important functions, but subsidizing private-sector activities with taxpayer money should not be among them.

I know there are strong arguments for using our taxes to help certain vital activities, but I think in most cases there are too many drawbacks. First, the process politicizes market decisions. Second, it gives unfair advantage to some. Third, results based on subsidies are generally not sustainable. Fourth, it smacks of welfare for the well off. And finally, it just makes most taxpayers unhappy.

I don't know and have nothing against Mr. Patel, and I'm sure the city is just doing what it thinks is best. But any time there is a proposal to use taxpayer money to help finance private enterprise, whether it be a Cape neighborhood, a run-down theater, a St. Louis ballpark, or a New Madrid aluminum smelter, red flags should fly. If the marketplace can't make it pay, government should back away.

GARY L. GAINES, Cape Girardeau