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Sunday, December 17, 2006

What do we need?

Yes, the retirement of the boomers means that Minnesota and every other state are going to be facing problems attracting new workers. What do we need to succeed?

The way I see it, we need several things: education, diversity, tolerance, and an entrepreneurial work ethic. The Lori Sturdevant column talks about education, which is a good and necessary first step, but it's not all. We are getting more and more diversity, as long as we don't shoot ourselves in the foot by treating newcomers like crap. Minnesota has also been pretty good historically on the tolerance issue, although it seems we need to be more vigilant these days against Michelle Bachmann clones and their stupid ideas.

entrepreneurial spirit is probably the hardest to describe, but may be the most important. It needs to be easy to start new businesses and take risks here. Universal health care would be one thing that would do this, since it would both allow small employers to recruit good workers without worrying about how their health benefits stack up against larger companies, and it would also let employees move between jobs more freely and therefore take more risks. Reducing whatever unnecessary regulatory barriers to new business creation is another thing that I have long advocated for, along with tax code simplification.

Minnesota is far better at some of these things than other states, but that is no excuse to stop innovating.

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