Georgia on ABCs Mind

     Asking if states pay too much to land job-generating foreign investments like auto plants, ABCs World News Tonight found a critic to sing a sour note about a plant Kia Motors announced it will open in West Point, Ga.

     Correspondent Steve Osunsami began his story detailing the benefits. The Peach State, Osunsami noted, was giving Kia a plum $400 million in tax breaks, road work, and cheap land. In return, the automaker will bring 2,500 jobs here, to a cow pasture in West Point, Georgia, where the textile mills are mostly closed, and thousands of residents remain unemployed.

     But soon after that, Osunsami slammed on the brakes, introducing a liberal economist to complain about the states tax incentives. They ought to be investing their money in things like education, health care, complained Washington College professor Robert Lynch, whom Osunsami labeled a public policy researcher who says states are wasting money competing for auto plants like Kias.

     Osunsami failed to find an expert who would disagree with Lynch, such as Michael Daniels, a Columbus State University economist who told the Associated Press that the [Fort] Benning expansion and the Kia plant would improve the economy of Columbus, Ga., a city near the West Point Kia plant location that suffered economic decline with the closing of textile plants.

     The ABC correspondent also left out that Lynch is far from an apolitical academic hes a liberal critic of tax cuts and a generous donor to Democrats.

     Lynch was among more than 400 economists who joined the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) lobbying against the 2003 Bush tax cuts. A review of the Federal Election Commission Web site reveals that Lynch, a resident of Silver Spring, Md., gave $2,000 to the John Kerry campaign and $800 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004, as well as $250 to then-State Sen. Chris Van Hollens congressional campaign in 2002. In that election, Van Hollen defeated Congresswoman Connie Morella (R-Md.).

     The Business & Media Institute has previously documented the medias focus on layoffs from Detroits automakers while downplaying new job openings from foreign automakers or the role of labor unions in damaging the profitability of General Motors (NYSE: GM).