Bob Orr hits the nail on the head with his quote about the Dell incentives debacle in this News & Observer story. Dell plans to close its Winston-Salem plant and lay off 900 employees despite the state’s much heralded, but misguided, $280 million incentives package. It’s yet another example of what can happen when government officials wrongly believe they can, and should, choose winners and losers in the marketplace. The fact is, consumers choose winners and losers. As the Dell spokesperson says in the story, the Triad plant produces desktop computers but consumers have turned to other products.
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“You just don’t want to see this happen,” said Bob Orr, executive director of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, which spearheaded the 2005 lawsuit opposing the incentives. “But this shows the stark and painful folly of the incentives game that state and local governments are playing. No matter how much money you give these large international and national corporations who are headquartered out of state, if it’s financially more feasible for them to shut down the operation in North Carolina, they’ll do it and never look back.”