Target Leaving Middletown: How high taxes, school levies and socialism destroy communities

When Middletown schools defeated their 2013 school levy by the narrow margin of 238 votes the media made some theater of the issue and behaved as though something troubling was amiss.  Then those same voices cried out in shock as it was announced that Target—the popular chain of retail stores was closing two area stores—one directly in Middletown and another nearby.  Upon that news I could only shake my head.  Most people do not see the connection of high costs through taxation, unemployment, and how such things repeal a thriving retail community.  Those same voices are currently arguing for higher minimum wages and even more taxes for wasteful public schools teaching children liberal educations instead of conservative ones.  Then they are stunned when a large department store like Target wants to move out of their community when thriving Target stores in nearby Bridgewater Falls, and Voice of America are swelling with business.  To them it doesn’t seem fair—they feel that Target retail stores should stay open regardless of how much money they are making as they are performing a social service.  And they believe these things because they have been taught through public school and other liberal dominated places, that socialism works and is good—when in fact it is bad and destroys communities like Middletown.

I have watched Middletown decline all of my life.  Unlike Michael Moore who had a personal crisis when he saw the same type of decline happen to his town of Flint, Michigan, I know very well what has caused and is causing the declines in economic activity around Middletown.  It’s not the rich, greedy, white man as the socialist Moore proposed—it is human nature which turns and runs from too much interconnected responsibility with human beings who do not share their values.  Real estate investors, the kind of people who would buy homes of value in Middletown, and the kind of people who decide or not to bring Target stores to the Middletown area do so based on the prospect of value and profit their product can render.  As I watched interviews from the residents around Middletown speaking of the vacant strip malls which used to be filled with economically vibrant diversity—they are perplexed as to why they are no longer there—as if their existence had come to be so to provide a service to those people.  They never grasped that those businesses existed in those places so that they could offer a product or service so that they could make money, and when they cannot make that money—they leave.

Not a single member of government can bring a Target store to the Middletown area.  No government can create the jobs of a Target store.  They can lure Target to the Middletown area with the promise of lower taxes, but they cannot get management to do all the work of operating a retail store there.  If taxes go up after a Target store has come to an area, then Target has to sell more retail goods to offset their profit losses expunged from the taxes.  And if the kinds of people who come to those highly taxed stores are typical welfare recipients who are diseased by their own unhealthy lifestyles, Target is not going to make much money.  Target’s costs will be high because those types of people tend to have high crime rates among their populations, and high crime means sales margins are eroded.   Store maintenance in such places tends to be high as well.  Target as a management group can put the same effort into the VOA area and have much higher profit margins because the crime is not nearly so bad, the people are respectful of each other, and the employee base there is more robust and dependable.  In Middletown where many Target workers are weighing working everyday at the retail giant or staying home and collecting welfare, it is difficult to maintain a staff which can successfully provide the kind of service that attracts good customers as opposed to bad ones.  Nobody wants to go to a store to buy a pair of pants and hear a rant from some “baby momma” who is bitter about their life and is as snappy as a piranha in the Amazon.

Good people do not like to associate with bad people.  Moms with 10 year marriages, two children they are caring for, and a purse full of money they worked their ass off to get do not want to be greeted at the door of a Target by gang bangers, drug dealers, and the type of people who would rather buy a bottle of Jack Daniels over a bar of soap.  Those moms tend to spend their money in places where they can share their experience with people who have common values with them.  They don’t want to deal with such people who provide cat calls wanting sex by a malignant group of misdirected youth gathering in the parking lot of a Target to distribute drugs into the Middletown area.   They would rather go to the Voice of America target where the people are nice, affluent, and respectful.

The same decline in economic activity can be seen elsewhere around the Cincinnati area.  Detroit is not the only place where socialism and bad political management of taxed resources have destroyed communities.  And ultimately the fault rests squarely on the government schools which for three decades advocated socialism over capitalism leaving people completely defenseless intellectually to deal with the concept that Target stores will move away from their communities if they do not maintain a quality about their lives which is conducive to positive economic growth.  It doesn’t take long when socialism enters a community to destroy it.  Politicians who give away the efforts of the productive disincentivize that continued activity which pushes away the productive leaving only the parasitic to reside in their communities. When effort is taxed and those looted resources are then given to the unproductive, what else would or should happen?  The politician who suggests socialism is essentially stating that those who can pull a wagon full of those unwilling to walk should do so out of the kindness of their hearts—but the reality is that nobody of any worth, or intelligence would do so. They’d put down the wagon handle and walk off leaving all those riding in the wagon to transport themselves.

The Middletown school levy failed because the tipping point had been reached.  There are still plenty of apartment dwellers, welfare recipients, and parasitic drug addicts who will vote in favor of the Middletown school levy because they really have nothing to lose. Someone else is likely to pay for the taxes they voted in favor of.  But, in doing so the good property owner sells his apartment buildings to a “slum lord” and the profitable enterprise like Target simply pulls away from the area taking with them responsible employees who would pay taxes into a community.   It doesn’t take long to run out of other people’s money—and this is what has happened in Middletown, and why Target is leaving.

These are the dangers of socialism and if you believe that taxes can forever be raised on those able to pay—you have been taught incorrectly—and you should blame the foolish public school which put such ideas into your head.  Those socialist beliefs are what have killed Middletown over many years to such an extent that it cannot even support a Target store.  That realization is a crushing blow to a community that has forever seen its better days.  Once an area gets a stigma of having too much crime, too much low intellectual aptitude, and an unproductive workforce—it’s over.  Such reputations cannot be easily won again and only time will heal such things. Only Middletown doesn’t have time—and neither does its people.

Rich Hoffman