Letter to the Editor

Missouri not keeping pace

For the past few decades Republicans have taken the position that low taxes, fewer regulations, along with pro-business legislation and laws that restrict union power will lead to a growing economy.

However, U.S. Commerce Department statistics show that Missouri is trailing the nation in economic growth for the ninth straight year. In fact, the recession years of 2008 and 2009 were the only times since 1997 that Missouri didn't trail. For example, Missouri's gross domestic product grew 2.3 percent last year. This is less than the U.S. growth rate of 2.9 percent. Also, in 1997, Missouri's per-capita Gross Domestic Product was 99 percent of the national average. Last year it had declined to 81 percent of the national average. Moreover, if income in Missouri had kept pace with the national average, each worker in Missouri would be earning an additional $3,387.00.

Essentially Missouri suffers in the same way as the other so called Rust Belt states. Much of the industrial base it had 50 years ago moved to the South and/or overseas. It will be a long and difficult process to recover from this situation. And obviously, it will take more than the mantra of lower taxes and be friendly to business.

We need to develop and focus resources on a process that will improve the entire state. As a start, this would address such items as education, infrastructure and increasing taxes as necessary to improve Missouri. Our state cannot survive another 50 years of relative decline.

John R. Piepho, Cape Girardeau