Recently the Bluegrass Institute partnered with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University to host its Citizen Education Seminar at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lexington. The event included both Bluegrass Institute and Mercatus scholars discussing the most pertinent barriers standing in the way of Kentucky’s economic competitiveness.
Today, we present remarks from the Mercatus Center’s distinguished visiting scholar, Mauirce P. McTigue, in part 2 of of our weekly series delivering exclusive video footage from the event.
McTigue’s message was simple: no country in history has ever created prosperity through spending, consumption and government dependency. In order for jobs to be created and prosperity to grow, capital saving and investment must first occur –a truth often ignored by politicians looking for short-term political favor.
But since capital is so easily moved from one region of the country to the next, Kentucky’s mission is clear: create the friendliest business environment in the nation to attract business resources essential for growth in the commonwealth.
So just how has Kentucky been performing in that regard? According to McTigue, it really doesn’t matter which index of economic competitiveness or business friendliness you look at, because Kentucky ranks in the bottom half of all of them. In fact, according to CNBC’s “Top States for Doing Business” index, Kentucky comes in at No. 45 for “access to capital” — the key ingredient to job creation.
McTigue raised the obvious follow-up question: “Why the hell do you hate business here? Because to be in the 40s, you have to be doing a lot of really bad stuff.”
Unfortunately, Kentucky has a long way to go to become economically competitive with neighbors on either side of our borders. McTigue succinctly summed up Kentucky’s economic backwardness:
“Kentucky is a state that has been stagnating for a long period of time. Why would it be stagnating? Because I think your governments have just been satisfied with how we did things in the past and have not been prepared to think in an entrepreneurial way about how we might do things in the future. I get the picture that your government is very protectionist — is trying to stop people from making mistakes that might hurt them. Well, you have to get away from that.”