There are a couple of good news items from the business community recently that I'd like to honor, as a break from the usual run of politician handouts, tax breaks, TIFs, subsidies, and earmarks.
The point is, capitalism is fully capable of getting the job done all by itself, without becoming intertwined with government. And when it does it's worth noting.
The Register recently reported that "Des Moines business leaders are discussing creating a private downtown economic development group that would pull together land for high-profile projects such as a new downtown YMCA or a convention center hotel. Investors in a proposed economic development group would guarantee up to $10 million . . . . Officials say no taxpayer money would be sought . . .." Donnelle Eller, "Question Marks of Downtown; D.M. Leaders Mull Creating Private Group to Help Develop Big Projects," Des Moines Register, June 24, 2012, p. D1.
Permit me to repeat that last line: "Officials say no taxpayer money would be sought . . .."
The other item is in this morning's Press-Citizen, and it involves Marc Moen. I have strongly opposed the City's contributions of taxpayers' money to his for-profit projects. But we share a vision of what the downtown needs, and his taste in art and architecture. So since today's news of his latest project involves nothing but his own money and none from the taxpayers, it's worth recognition and praise.
Mitchell Schmidt, "Artist completes downtown mural; Project took 17 gallons of white paint, 50 cans of black spray paint," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 27, p. A1. [Photo credit: David Scrivner, Press-Citizen.]
These examples join the earlier SSMID (Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District) for downtown Iowa City, a self-imposed financial contribution from business owners, rather than from taxpayers, for the improvement and promotion of downtown. "SSMIDs, Taxes and TIFs: The Lessons," November 3, 2011.
Capitalism -- for its own preservation as well as consumer and citizen protection -- does need some oversight and regulation from government. What it does not need is a taxpayer contribution to survive. It can not only get by, it can actually do much better, without it.
So can the rest of us.