Despite the steady but slow national economic recovery, New Jersey lags its neighboring states in almost all economic indicators. There are a number of reasons for this - some political, some based on our tax code, and many based on pure greed.
The buzzword going around these days is "corporate inversion." That's when a U.S.-based corporation moves its headquarters overseas to avoid paying taxes - taxes that pay for the infrastructure, protection, and resources that these corporations use to their benefit. But its not just inversions that harm our economy and environment. It's also investment in foreign companies that work against American interests.
So what are New Jersey politicians doing about this?
Assemblyman Troy Singleton recently announced that he would be introducing a bill that parallels a bill in Congress called the No Federal Contracts for Deserters Act. The congressional bill prohibits the Federal government from awarding contracts to companies that move their headquarters offshore and don't have substantial business operations in that foreign country. Of course, with the pro-business zealotry in today's Congress, there's no guarantee that this will pass on the federal level. But Singleton's bill uses the clout of the State's buying power to forbid New Jersey from doing business with corporations moving abroad simply to evade their fair share of taxes.
On the other end of the spectrum are businesspeople who invest in companies that work at cross-purposes with America's interest. Companies that foment violence or cozy up to America's enemies. Companies like Russia's Gazprom, that support Russia's goals in Ukraine by cutting off energy to Ukrainian citizens. Companies like Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation, which have big investments in Iran - not exactly a friend of America.
One such investor is former insurance executive Tom MacArthur. In addition to his track record of denying claims to Hurricane Sandy victims, MacArthur has investments in the two aforementioned enterprises. Yet, he wants to be a congressman (or better put - buy a seat in Congress)?
Americans have the freedom to invest in (almost) any enterprise they want. But should someone who wants to be a Congressman invest in companies that operate at cross-purposes to America's goals?
Troy Singleton is working for the interests of New Jersey's citizens. Tom MacArthur is working to enrich his own wealth.