Gov. Maggie Hassan presented her Thursday State of the State address as a framework for improving New Hampshire's economy. "The state of our state is determined, as we focus relentlessly on strengthening and growing New Hampshire's economy and middle class," she said.
In case people did not get the message, her office issued a press release declaring that the governor had called to "strengthen middle class and accelerate economic growth." Her speech, though, showed that she is taking the same sort of ineffective approach that President Obama has taken since 2009 - because they share the same jaundiced view of the private sector.
Hassan's address revealed a great affection for "public service," defined by sacrificing one's self for the state or community. She began by thanking charity volunteers, military personnel and state employees. "Thank you, to all of our public servants, for all that you to do strengthen our state," she said. This is how she started a speech focused on expanding economic growth - by failing to mention, much less thank, a single entrepreneur.
How does she envision the state strengthening the economy? "(W)ith open minds, open hearts and common purpose.... That starts with advancing the priorities that support innovative economic growth and help businesses create good jobs, the kind of jobs that will strengthen and grow our middle class."
In Hassan's view, government creates growth when politicians decide what types of jobs the state should have, then enact policies that cause businesses to create those jobs. President Obama has governed under precisely that philosophy for five years. It has failed nationally, and it will fail in New Hampshire.
Hassan identified a few areas of legitimate government action that could enhance the state's business climate. If our transportation and electric utility infrastructure and our public schools fail, our economy suffers. Improving them will help.
But her unfounded faith in the wisdom of the state to guide our economy through targeted incentives crafted to create precisely the types of jobs she prefers will lead to wasted resources.
Our economy will not realize its full potential as long as our scarce public resources are squandered by people who have more faith in the state than in the people.