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June 29, 2014 3:00 PM Big business loves desperate, overqualified, underpaid workers

By David Atkins

Earlier this week CNBC named Georgia its top state for doing business. Its reason? A lot of well-educated but underpaid workers with no bargaining rights:

The Georgia workforce is tops in the nation, with an abundant supply of educated, largely nonunion workers. But that’s not new—it’s Georgia’s third straight year atop our Workforce category.

This even though unemployment is high, public health is poor, education is terrible and quality of life is low—largely on account of government budget cuts:

Georgia’s worst categories are Quality of Life and Education, finishing 32nd in both. Poor health hurts Georgia’s quality of life. Twenty-nine percent of Georgians are obese, and more than 19 percent lack health insurance. Poor air quality doesn’t help in the category, either. And in education, local school districts as well as colleges and universities are still struggling with budget cuts.

In other words, the sort of big business types that make up the supply-side objectivist crew at CNBC love places where quality of life is bad, and overqualified workers are desperate for whatever scraps the John Galts decide to throw their way.

Some of the Georgia media aren’t buying it, though. From the editor’s desk at the Athens Banner-Herald:

Georgia’s only other top-10 ranking in the CNBC assessment came in the “economy” category, in which the business network looked at “economic growth, job creation and the health of the residential real estate market” along with the number of major corporations headquartered in the state.
Elsewhere across the 10 areas assessed by CNBC, Georgia placed 32nd in education, 32nd in quality of life, 22nd in cost of living, 20th in cost of doing business, 16th in technology and innovation, 14th in business friendliness and 11th in access to capital.
In other words, Georgia’s top ranking as a place to do business is based on a few pieces of infrastructure and a low-paid workforce.
Back those two things out of the equation, and Georgia is sitting near the bottom third in education and quality of life, barely in the top half in the cost of living and the cost of doing business, and outside the top 10 in the remaining CNBC categories.
Certainly, the governor is free to celebrate the CNBC ranking, and it’s all but certain to become a centerpiece of his campaign for re-election to the governor’s office.
One wonders, though, whether anyone who would see such a lackluster performance as something worth celebrating has the requisite vision to help make Georgia a truly great state.

Texas, of course, is 2nd on CNBC’s list for similar reasons: few labor protections, desperately underpaid workers, poor government services and an atmosphere of deregulation. All the factors that make it great for exploiting workers, and bad to actually be one.

There are also some insinuations out there that CNBC’s high evaluation of Georgia was undertaken with specific input from interested donors to help Republican Governor Deal’s re-election chances.

Be that as it may or not, one thing is certain: anyone and anything that CNBC thinks is good, is almost certainly bad for the average voter and worker. That includes Republicans like Governor Deal.

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