Why Louisiana Stays Poor

With all Louisiana’s wealth in natural resources and industry, WHY DO WE STAY SO POOR?

Comments

Wow, as an outsider (not from Louisiana) I’ve visited the state numerous times, and the impression is always the same—shocking poverty and decay. I’ve always thought of Louisiana as an under-developed state that has just been passed-by the 20th & 21st Centuries. To learn that economically, it’s a very wealthy state with huge economic production and growth from which residents are deriving little to no benefit SCREAMS exploitation. This is a clear lesson in the vital importance of taxes and how they are used.

 

I am a native Louisianaian. If the people would stop electing and re-electing corrupt politicians we could be such a better state. Louisiana is a fantastic state but corruption has ruined us.
I remember working at a hotel when I lived in New Orleans and met a man from there that had moved to Colorado. He told me prior to moving to Colorado he never left Louisiana and thought it was the best state ever. He then said “I got so use to seeing the clean interstates and meeting nice people in Colorado, I came back here to visit 3 years later. I looked around and realized this is a NASTY ass city with no opportunities I can’t believe I stayed here most of my life”. He was happy he left and at that moment I started a plan to leave. I’ve been gone for 4 years and never going back.
The world’s shortest book is entitled “A List of Honest Louisiana Politicians.”
This is why I moved to Texas 16 years ago. EVERY citizen in Louisiana needs to see this. Thank you so much for making this video.
This is absolutely amazing I live in Louisiana and I am one paycheck away from being homeless and corporations get away with murder this absolutely sickens me
“If the wealth of a nation is mostly dug out of the ground, it is a terrible place to live, because a gold mine can run with dying slaves and still produce great treasure.” -CGP_Grey [Rules for Rulers] Corollary: Great places to live are founded on the economic strength of happy productive citizens.
Great video. Another thing to keep in mind is Louisiana has some of the highest sales tax rates in the country, and they are high partly to make up for the lost property tax revenues. Sales taxes hit the poorest the hardest.
I cried watching this. I was born and raised here. I’ve watched my friends and family vote consistently for politicians who sell them out. They worship Industry and Big Oil, they think bending over & letting the big companies have their way is the only path to economic opportunity. I have such a deep connection to this land, such a love and appreciation for it, but I just can’t be here anymore. I can’t watch the thing I love and cherish be ripped apart and torn asunder so greedy politicians and corporations can glean every last drop of wealthy we have.
I’ve lived in Gonzales, Louisiana my entire life. I can count on one hand the times I’ve left the state longer than 48 hours in my 21 years. Honestly until seeing this video I’ve felt very optimistic about living in this state, and have always wanted to come back home anytime I leave. I grew up thinking we were one of the best states because the amount of plants ascension pairsh, and neighboring parishes have to then see/hear all of this. It’s a real slap in the face, and we all deserve better. If it wouldn’t for me honestly not having the means to leave, and how much I love my community I’d leave. The other states I’ve been too not every so I don’t know for sure the people aren’t as kind, nore hospitalitie as us in Louisiana are. My take on all of this is that we as citizens of this great state need to fight for our share of what WE ALL put in with taxes. Let’s not forget the men, and women working the plants who have some pretty dangerous jobs who are nothing but numbers. Finally how about all of us who don’t work in that industry? We have the Devine “privilege” of breathing, smelling, and for some living in such close proximity to them all. For that alone we deserve some sorta system related to Alaska where it’s citizens get a percentage of the revenue in OUR pockets, and more importantly that these multi billion, maybe trillion dollar companies pay AT LEAST a fair share of the property value/profits!!!!
Great video… I went to school in Louisiana, now living in Texas. I’ve always been amazed at the stark contrast in infrastructure… as soon as I cross the border from Texas into Louisiana, the roads are noticeably inferior. I’ve never been able to explain this, since both states have similar natural resources… this video makes sense. Thank you for doing this.
As an immigrant I feel this video resonating with the reasons we leave our counties, it’s not because we are land poor without the beautiful riches nature has to offer but because they are poorly managed and hoarded by a small corrupt few. Louisiana looks more beautiful, and I regret not going out during the reconstruction after Katrina and offering my little grain of sand when I had the chance.
And don’t forget Louisiana’s “cancer alley”, where the rates of cancer are significantly higher than the national average. This is so bad that it was used as a case study in one of my environmental courses for how bad out of control pollution can get.
I’m from western New York and this just stuns me. I thought the disparity and corruption is bad here but it doesn’t hold a candle to this. I hope the people of Louisiana get justice and a properly funded future!
it’s amazing that corporations can be exempt from property tax but that individual’s homes cannot.
My uncle served in the Air Force in Louisiania and absolutely loved that state, but he was shocked by the poverty and the rampant corruption.
This was an outstandingly professionally produced video.
As someone who works in data, great job keeping this data driven and factual and not based on “Feelings”. Its very easy to follow your research and understand a cause and effect relation. I’m not from Louisiana but I’m from another “traditionally poor state” – Michigan and I think some of the problems you face are some of the same ones we also face. I hope your politicians can turn it around.
It wasn’t until I moved away from Louisiana that I realized how bad the situation was there. I love my people, but it is too hard for me to see them taken advantage like this and just roll over for it. All of this wealth rightfully belongs to the people of Louisiana, but they don’t even realize it. Honestly, once my mother passes away, I probably won’t ever return to the state. It’s too heartbreaking for me.
As a foreigner living in the US, I’ve always wondered why the “South” is always so poor. This explains so much. Thank you for explaining this.
So glad to know you exist and are fighting against these inequities with great skill, and showing some results! It gives me hope for the state where family and friends still live. I left Louisiana decades ago for college out of state. I saw how other states operated and never seriously considered returning. I sadly began to see Louisiana a a state operating much like a Central American kleptocracy, but embedded in the US. Even the most corrupt other states had nothing on Louisiana.
This is absolutely terrifying. I honestly wonder if Louisiana’s natural resource infrastructure and tax exemptions are part of the reason why school privatization was pushed so hard in New Orleans after Katrina hit.
I’m German, could care less and stumbled upon this video by accident – but my God did they do a good job in presenting this!!! One of the best visualizations and presentations I’ve ever come across and I work in white color automotive. Congratulations! Hope this had the wanted outcome and the situation has gotten better for the people …
I tend to be one of the last to support a tax increase, and being Louisiana, my initial thought was of corruption and levee funding being diverted. But this is a very solidly argued point that Louisiana went way too far in practically exempting industrial properties from property taxes. Then my next reaction was that there was no way the political fight would be won so I was pleasantly surprised to see the progress shown at the end. Congratulations to you guys for helping to create a significant improvement in public policy! Now I hope the money will be well-spent.
With those property tax exemptions, there’s also the point of them not paying for services and public right of ways that they need to operate. More dense development typically is the only property that returns more than it costs cities to maintain. This means not only are the urban poor subsidizing suburban development, but they’re subsidizing the giant corporations they work for. And they’re not even paid a fair living wage to begin with due to deregulation.
Let me just take a wild guess and say that practically everything has gotten worse and almost nothing has gotten better for Louisiana residents since this video was produced. Get out while (if) you still can. I’ve struggled here my whole life and I’ve finally had enough. I’m selling my possessions and moving away with whatever fits in my beat up 90’s car as soon as I can manage it, and I will never look back.
I’m from Mississippi, a genuinely poor state with poor natural resources and high corruption – not so much on the corporate-political level, but rather internally to our politics. Both sides of the government participate in these practices, and its no wonder that our state remains poor. Whenever I cross over into Louisiana, however, I’m always shocked at how destitute things are. Like this video states, there are so many reasons that Louisiana should be one of the richest states in the United States, and I’ve been aware of them for a long time. It’s baffled me for years that a state so strategically placed and rich in natural resources could possibly be on a level of poverty like Mississippi. Now I know why, and it breaks my heart to see a state that could be so prosperous falling to corruption and poverty that has no business being in it. Unlike Mississippi, there is no excuse for Louisiana to be at the bottom. I sincerely hope this changes.
You think those good ol’ boys on the state board might be getting some kick backs from all those tax exemptions they hand out so freely ?
Having lived in Alaska, where every citizen received a yearly dividend from investment of oil lease fees, this is sickening to hear. Louisiana should be one of the most flush states in the nation if it weren’t for trickle-down economics and tax breaks for the wealthy. The impact of these industries should be beneficial to the area not debilitating. The bottom line is that the people of the state of Louisiana are paying (or losing out on) the taxes that should be spread out to all the consumers. Good luck to all in Louisiana, I hope you finally get this corrected.
“No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.”
OMG, I had no idea how bad this was. I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana for 10 years. I actually left because of lack of opportunities, widespread poverty and lackluster healthcare system. I also knew that my life expectancy would go down drastically if I stayed. I did develop endocrine health issues during and and immediately after living there. It took 10 years to figure out what was wrong with me. My DNA may have been predisposed to these problems, but maybe they may never have come up if I never lived there.
This could also be useful to show to the decision makers in most other states if nothing else to show what not to do.

Why Is Latin America still Poor

Why is Latin America poorer than North America? The massive differences in wealth between a rich United States and a relatively poor central and south America is startling and hard to explain at first. In the video we delve into the key historical, political and economic factors that have led to this inequality, finding that the answer is more startling and interesting than initially expected.

–Contents of this video——————————–
00:00 – A Tale of Two Cities
01:29  – A Tale of Two Continents
04:03  – Spanish Colonization
07:09 – Enslaving Empire’s
09:18 – The Mountain of Silver (Cerro Rico)
12:00 – English Colonization
13:30 – Why The United States is So Rich
15:38 – Why Latin America is Still Poor
20:33 – Why is Latin America Poorer than North America

Support the Channel! https://www.patreon.com/CasualScholar

–Sources used———————————————
Books:
– Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
– Bulmer-Thomas, V. (2003). The Economic History of Latin America since Independence (2nd ed., Cambridge Latin American Studies). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511817397

Scholarly Articles:
https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/files…
– Coatsworth, John H. “Inequality, Institutions and Economic Growth in Latin America.” Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 40, no. 3, Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 545–69, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40056706.
– https://www.nber.org/system/files/cha…

Argument against redistribution of wealth

There’s an old joke that a heart surgeon goes to a mechanic to get his fuel pump replaced. While he’s working on the car, the mechanic muses that their jobs are pretty much the same. “I figure out what the problem is, take out the old pump, put a new one in, and sent the ‘patient’ on its way. So how come I make $40,000 a year, and you make $400,000?” The surgeon smiles and says “try doing it while the engine is running”.

You might think my point is that the 1% earned their wealth through their superior skills. That’s actually not it at all. My point is that the economy isn’t about static wealth that can just be grabbed and redistributed. The economy is a vast machine with millions of moving parts in constant motion. If you disrupt that engine, then we’re all worse off than we were.

And this is a big deal. There was a time when wealth was primarily a result of who owned which land and natural resources. In such an economic setting, one can imagine seizing the land from the landowners and redistributing it among the peasants (that has it’s own issues, but it’s conceivable).

In the modern economy, it doesn’t work like that. Let’s say we wanted to physically seize Jeff Bezos money and redistribute it? How do you do that with force of arms? The vast majority of that wealth is in stocks, which means that it’s entirely theoretical. Armed mobs could seize Amazon trucks and warehouses, and occupy their corporate offices, and… then what? You’d end up with a few trucks and buildings divided among however many members of the uprising there were. Even all the inventory you could seize wouldn’t be all that much, once you divvied it up. In order for Amazon to have it’s value, it needs to continue to function. To tear it down, or even to disrupt it’s operation by violence, means that something that was once incredibly value now becomes nearly worthless.

And the same goes for most of the wealthiest people in the world. Very few of the uber-rich have large amounts of wealth in any form that you could physically seize and occupy without destroying most of their value.

And that’s one of the issues with communist rebellions. They’re sometimes successful at pulling down the wealth of the wealthy, making people more equally poor, but redistributing the wealth to make everyone roughly equivalent? They’re terrible at that.

The best you can hope for is to create a social and governmental system in which successful businesses and individuals have to continually contributed some portion of their profits to the common good, as a condition of doing business in this society. That has its issues as well, but it has much more potential than trying to rebel and grab wealth that doesn’t exist in a grabbable form.

What to Make of the Age of Trump by Thomas Frank

The day after Donald Trump was elected president, The New York Times recommended six books “for those trying to understand the political, economic, regional and social shifts that drove one of the most stunning political upsets in the nation’s history.” Among them: Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Frank, a Kansas City native, has followed up, embarking on a 13-city barnstorming tour to talk to Trump voters, union leaders, and progressive activists across the Midwest in conjunction with Listen Liberal’s release in paperback. On his last stop¬in Kansas City¬he discusses what he has learned. This event is co-presented by Rainy Day Books. Frank discussed Listen Liberal at the Library in March 2016; you can view the video on YouTube, and you can find the book in the Library Catalog.

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When Reputation Matters, Leaks Like the Pandora Papers Can Be Very Effective

Some reports on the Pandora Papers have featured colorful and scintillating headlines (“Secret money, swanky real estate and a Monte Carlo mystery”), but there is a drab, depressing familiarity to the nearly 12 million leaked confidential financial records that throw light on the opaque wealth of powerful public figures around the world.

We see the same ominous pattern as in the Panama Papers leak of 2016 and the Paradise Papers leak of 2017: legalized corruption at the highest levels, on an almost unimaginably vast scale. And it appears that the people most empowered to end this nightmare are the most heavily invested in prolonging it for their own benefit.

Each successive leak drives home the same message: Abandon any hope that government will serve the people or that the rule of law will be applied equally to all, the foundational premises of modern government.

Yet there is some cause for optimism, even if it’s not in the form we might expect. New laws aren’t coming to the rescue, because they probably can’t be created quickly enough or made comprehensive enough to effect meaningful change. But there is evidence that technology and public opinion are shifting the balance against elites’ use of the offshore financial services industry.

For nearly 15 years, I’ve researched that world from the inside, earning certification as a wealth manager and then traveling the globe to study practitioners at work. What I learned is that “tax havens” aren’t really for avoiding taxes: They exist to help elites avoid the rule of law that they impose on the rest of us. The offshore financial industry is generating much of the economic and political inequality destabilizing the world.

Many of the individuals exposed in the Pandora Papers are politicians — more than 330 of them, from 90 countries, including 35 current and former heads of state — and their lifestyles are made possible by exploiting the nations they purport to serve. The revelations highlight several politicians who campaigned on vigorous anti-corruption platforms, like Prime Minister Andrej Babis of the Czech Republic, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

In 2016, Mr. Babis scolded the wealthy Czechs whose names appeared in the Panama Papers and, in a 2020 interview, proclaimed that a governing philosophy was to “cut off the heads of the ‘corruption-Hydra.’” Now he’s accused of using a string of offshore shell companies to purchase luxury real estate on the French Riviera, including a chateau worth $22 million. (Mr. Babis has denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the report as politically motivated.)

That so little has changed after the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers is not lost on the public. By my count, there have been fewer than 10 convictions resulting from previous offshore leaks, and only one involved a politician.

People are angry and they know they are being ripped off, but watching successive iterations of public corruption on flamboyant display, followed by no consequences, is an affront to the spirit of democracy. As the economist Thomas Piketty noted even before the Panama Papers broke, many respond to the appeal of ethnonationalist politicians, who promise to crack down on elite corruption.

Yet we do see forms of accountability being imposed that are effective despite being outside the realm of the law. As my own and other recent research on high-net-worth individuals has shown, reputational costs weigh more heavily on them than the threat of fines or prosecution. The laws are no match for the legal armory that the wealthy individuals in this world can afford. And there is evidence that public opinion is changing quickly, in a way that imposes the reputational costs that matter most.

When Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, many Americans — even on the left — shrugged at the news that his wealth (estimated at the time at $250 millionincreased through offshore investments. But in the wake of the Panama Papers, public opinion has grown significantly more negative toward tax avoidance, which, while often legal, is increasingly regarded as immoral and unpatriotic. This mirrors the rapid change that occurred earlier in the 21st century, in which public neutrality toward corporate tax avoidance turned to public outrage and successful pressure campaigns within a few short years.

The Pandora Papers’s reputational impact may deliver some instant karma to Mr. Babis. The Czech police say they will “act upon” his use of offshore shell corporations, and a much swifter public verdict could arrive this week in parliamentary elections that could dislodge the prime minister from power. He preaches water and drinks French wine,” the leader of an opposition party said.

Technology also offers more reason for hope. It has made it much easier to impose these costs, by facilitating the dissemination of vast troves of data to journalists and the public. The past five years have revolutionized the possibilities for whistle-blowers to maintain anonymity through the use of tools like PGP encryption, allowing them to deliver huge quantities of data from offshore while protecting themselves from retaliation. Five years on, we still do not know the identity of “John Doe,” who leaked the Panama Papers, nor of the person or people who leaked the Paradise Papers four years ago.

That’s remarkable in an era of digital surveillance and will encourage more whistle-blowing. As I found in talking with wealth managers all over the world, a significant number understand that their work has contributed to dangerous levels of economic and political inequality; they want to do something, and many understand that one of the most effective uses of their insider position would be to pull back the veil of secrecy that makes so much of offshore corruption possible.

Formerly, these potential whistle-blowers would have been deterred by the fate of figures like Hervé Falciani, who in 2009 brought forward evidence of widespread tax fraud by private individuals facilitated by his employer, HSBC in Switzerland. Mr. Falciani has been hounded by investigators and caught up in legal limbo ever since, including being convicted in absentia and given the longest sentence ever handed down by a Swiss court for violation of the country’s draconian bank secrecy laws.

But it’s now possible for insiders to act on their conscience without ruining their lives and careers, as well as those of their families. We already see momentum building in the form of the enormous size of the Pandora Papers, which is even larger than the Panama Papers — formerly the biggest data leak in history — and involves information from 14 offshore sources instead of one.

This suggests that whistle-blowers are not only emboldened now, but also may be cooperating internationally, to do what lawmakers cannot: holding accountable the most wealthy and powerful people in the world in the court of public opinion.

Brooke Harrington (@EBHarrington), a sociology professor at Dartmouth, is the author of “Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent.”