British comedian John Oliver turned his sights on Kansas City on Sunday during a rant about dubious government incentives for job creation.
F-bomb 1: “It’s basically throwing money down a hole and hoping it brings us prosperity, which is the exact business model of the f------ wishing well.”
“We are spending billions of dollars on little more than faith,” Oliver continued on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.” “To see this at perhaps its most pointless, just look at Kansas and Missouri.”
Oliver then zeroed in on what we locals refer to as the “border war” to offer tax breaks and other subsidies to lure companies and their jobs from one side of the state line to the other.
He cited a study by the Hall Family Foundation that said since 2009, about 6,600 jobs have migrated from the Missouri side to the Kansas side while about 5,500 jobs have moved from Kansas to Missouri, for a net difference of about 1,100 jobs. The combined loss to both states in tax revenue was about $321 million.
F-bomb 2: “That is not creating jobs any more than moving your couch from your bedroom to the living room is creating f------ furniture.”
Payoff: “Think about that for a second,” Oliver said of the border war.
“You could create a program where the first 1,100 people to come to Kansas City from Missouri would each get a Ferrari, which they could then drive around a giant pile of $30 million that the state had set on fire. And you’d actually be fiscally responsible because you would have saved the area $20 million.”
Geography bonus: A CNBC reporter stands with the Kansas City skyline behind him and points south to Kansas.