The economy continued to struggle through 2011, with persistently high unemployment, a foreclosure crisis that kept on burning, and banks behaving badly in a whole host of ways. And there were plenty of ideas from economists, lawmakers, and pundits about what to do about it. But some ideas were, shall we say, more…unique than others.
Here are ThinkProgress’ nominations, in no particular order, for the ten craziest economic ideas of the last twelve months. Think we missed a good one? Let us know in the comments below:
Florida State Rep. Proposes Ending Ban On Dwarf Tossing To Create Jobs: In October, Florida state Rep. Ritch Workman (R) filed a bill to end the state’s ban on dwarf tossing — the practice of “launching little people for the amusement of an audience.” Workman may not condone throwing little people across his lawn, but he introduced the bill because he wanted to remove a “Big Brother law” that would create jobs: “Well, there is nothing immoral or illegal about that activity,” Workman said. “All we really did by passing that law was take away some employment from some little people.”
New Jersey Gives MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ A Film Credit Worth $420,000: Despite Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) unapologetic hatred for the MTV series Jersey Shore, the state Economic Development Authority awarded the series $420,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for the show’s production costs. Not only does the credit fail to create virtually any long-term, stable jobs, the EDA offered the credit without even considering the show’s content. The Jersey Shore cast, however, did succeed in producing rare a agreement among Democrats and Republicans to veto the credit, a veto Christie happily delivered.
Kentucky Provides Tax Credit To Build Theme Park Modeled After Noah’s Ark: In May, Kentucky gave a Bible-themed amusement park — replete with a model Noah’s Ark and Tower of Babel — a $43 million tax break, even as the state was cutting social services. In August, the state went even farther, giving the Ark Encounter theme park a 75 percent property tax discount for the next three decades (the tax break, it turns out, will last 10,580 days longer than the Great Flood itself). The justification for the tax breaks? Ark Park officials say it’ll create 900 jobs — based on a study Ark Park officials did themselves and never showed state officials.
Virgina Bill Provides Tax Credit For Blasting Cremated Remains Into Space: A Virginia state representative proposed a bill that “would provide a state tax credit of up to $8,000 to those who agree to have their cremated remains loaded onto a rocket and blasted into space,” in an attempt to bolster Virginia’s nascent space industry. There’s just one catch: Virginia’s lone spaceport doesn’t actually offer space burials. The bill is scheduled to be debated in January.