A Case Study in Punitive Liberalism

A few days ago a liberal columnist for the Seattle Times wrote a good column about the collapse of small business in the downtown core of the Emerald City: “Self-inflicted wounds make Seattle’s business losses worse.” Someone in Seattle’s media is finally getting it:

Shops were looted, in some cases repeatedly, this past summer. It sullies the cause of social justice protests to link the two together. The looting was pure criminality.

The city’s lack of prosecution for most shoplifting is another big DIY problem. It played heavily into Macy’s decision to close before COVID-19 and is extremely costly for small retailers. Fear of street crime also helped kill the Kress IGA, my neighborhood supermarket. The chronic unsheltered, drug dealers and the mentally ill keep customers away and worry employees.

The loss of Bergman Luggage (and its big neon sign) is especially telling. Owner Hardial Gill said the downtown location had been profitable and the landlord accommodating during the pandemic. But the store faced repeated burglaries, tents on the sidewalk and finally looting. . .

Mayor Jenny Durkan appears uncomfortable interacting with the business community and has lost power to an assertive council. That body is obsessed with defunding the police without a viable Plan B. Its membership is stuffed with career activists and pols, with thin business experience at best.

No wonder the council is hostile to business. Even the smallest shop is exploitative capitalism. The council’s loudest voices are running a “revolution.” Only in a city made so prosperous by hated capitalism could this intellectual Ponzi scheme be tolerated or seem without consequences.

Never mind small business and retail shops. Big business in Seattle isn’t very happy either. Boeing announced today that it plans to discontinue manufacturing its 787 Dreamliner plane in Washington state and consolidate 787 production in (nonunion) South Carolina. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise to Seattle, given that Boeing already moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago a few years ago. Let that sink in a moment: although Boeing said they wanted an HQ location closer to their global customer base, you really have to wonder that Chicago would be preferable to Seattle, given the parlous state (and higher taxes) of Illinois. In other words, this should have been a wake up call for Seattle’s political class.

Well, Boeing pulling its 787 production out of Washington isn’t sitting well with Washington’s dimwit Governor Jay Inslee. Inslee let out this blast:

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement Wednesday following these reports. He says if the report is true, Boeing is “turning its back” on workers and the “best place in the world to build airplanes.” Inslee adds that if true, the state would be forced to review its partnership with the Boeing Company, which includes a look at the “company’s favorable tax treatment.”

Of course, if a company has left a state, cutting their tax breaks is the epitome of closing the barn door too late.

More curious is why Inslee would object to Boeing leaving in the first place. Jet aircraft manufacturing is hugely resource and energy intensive, after which you have a product that spews out lots of carbon emissions for decades. Inslee’s major cause in life is reducing carbon emissions. You’d think he’d be glad Boeing was leaving Washington, the better to burnish Washington’s green credentials.

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