Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Even conservative Republic columnist Robert Robb disagrees with GOP corporate bailout package

Robert Robb

The Arizona Republic

In making the case for business-oriented tax cuts, Arizona Chamber President Glenn Hamer takes issue with my contention that Arizona's current tax structure is compatible with economic growth.

Writing in Saturday's Arizona Republic, Hamer points out that Arizona has lost more jobs than any other state in this recession, except Michigan. “The numbers make clear that the status quo isn't working,” Hamer asserts. “A new approach is needed.”

Hamer makes a common mistake in discussions about the Arizona economy these days. He assumes that Arizona's economy at the height of the housing bubble was normal and measures the current decline from there.

But, of course, Arizona's economy was artificially inflated and oversized at the height of the bubble. It's a false starting point for comparisons.

A more appropriate starting point is Arizona's economy prior to the start of the bubble. Academics argue about when the seeds of the housing bubble first began to sprout. But mid-2003 was when increases in housing prices clearly began to exceed historical bounds.

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