Women's Rights and Jobs in the Best State

I have never been a big fan localities fighting against one another to attract companies. Typically, the companies win and the localities lose. Yet some recent developments point larger political issues. A month ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry came to Connecticut to try and recruit local gun manufacturers to move to Texas in response to legislation passed in the wake of the Newtown shooting. Businesses have tried to fight worker and consumer friendly legislation talking about Connecticut being bad for business. Walmart has vowed not to open stores in Washington DC after the city council passed a law requiring large box stores to pay a living wage to its employees.

All of this begs a question, what sort of business is good for Connecticut? Do we want jobs where people have to rely on the Government or their families and friends to survive in this state? Texas might, but should we?

This was illustrated nicely in the latest Measure of America report, where Connecticut came out as the best state to live in.

Connecticut and Wyoming have nearly the same GDP. Yet Connecticut residents, on average, can expect to outlive their western compatriots by two and a half years, are almost 50 percent more likely to have a bachelor’s degree, and typically earn $7,000 more. This comparison shows how an overreliance on economic metrics such as GDP can provide misleading information about the everyday conditions of people’s lives.

Recently, Colorado has been attempting to attract businesses to relocate to their state because it is one of the healthiest states. If Connecticut wants to keep for jobs, it should be competing to be the healthiest and happiest state, and not the state where workers and consumers have the lowest paying jobs and worst health.

In the long term, this appears to be much more productive. Take a look at Costco and Walmart. Which one has better returns and stronger stock performance? Costco, the company that treats its employees well. I hope Costco will offer to step into Washington DC in lieu of Walmart.

Yet back to the politics. Gov. Perry came to Connecticut to recruit businesses that don't like our new gun laws. Perhaps, after the vote in the Texas State Legislature, it is time for Gov. Malloy to make a trip to Texas to recruit businesses that respect the rights of women.