It's the economy, stupid

The Madison County Record Oct. 1, 2004, 3:47am

The monthly jobs report wasn't kind to Madison County.

According to the Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth & Prosperity, Metro East had the worst August of any job market in Illinois. We lost jobs-- 1,133 to be exact-- while markets like Decatur, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington, and Springfield gained them.

From our view, it isn't difficult to understand why so much of Illinois and America are on the economic rebound while Metro East continues to languish.

Two words come to mind: frivolous lawsuits.

The running local debate is laser-focused on medical malpractice lawsuits and how they chase away our local doctors. We hope voters realize another just as insidious effect of our local legal system is that it’s chasing away our jobs.

Job growth is less about keeping what we have today and more about attracting the next new thing. As the saying goes, "If you're not growing, you're dying."

And we're not growing.

The key to job creation is understanding what stimulates-- and turns off-- the people who actually do the creating. We're talking about the entrepreneurs and investors who pay themselves last and put their cash money on the line.

These job creators don't take unnecessary risks, especially when the 'opportunity cost' of taking their idea down the road (to Springfield, for instance) is low.

Consider that's hard enough to run a small business without having to also fend off aspiring victims looking for any excuse to drag you into court on some logic-tortured technicality.

Parasitic plaintiffs are now par for the course in Madison County. If you don't know what we mean, just turn to page three of this newspaper for a bevy of weekly examples.

Why work and earn a living? In Madison County, extracting wealth from those who do is the easiest (and trendiest) path to financial freedom.

So to the job creators of today, our region is radioactive. At least that’s what the numbers say.

And it makes sense. The uncertainty wrought by our legal system makes an investment in Madison County akin to one in a Third World country.

Unless you're a plaintiff's attorney, that is.

For plaintiffs, this is the promised land. For victims, Madison County is the place to be.

Is this the place we want to be?

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