A Uniquely Overqualified Candidate

LaFaive's satirical cover letter for MEDC job

(Editor’s note: The following cover letter is tongue-in-cheek satire, written after spotting a legitimate job offer online for another Michigan Economic Development Corp. vice president.)

August 28, 2014

Ms. Valerie Hoag
Senior Vice President
Business Development
Michigan Economic Development Corp.
300 N. Washington Square 
Lansing, Michigan 48913

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Dear Ms. Hoag:

I read with interest your advertisement for a job paying up to $159,000 for individuals with as little as five years of work experience in public relations, marketing, international studies, business administration or economic development.

As you may know from my published work on corporate welfare, I possess a graduate degree in economics and 19 years of experience in the economic development and larger fiscal policy fields. I have also co-authored two exhaustive studies on economic development.

The first study focused on the efficacy — or lack thereof — of the now defunct Michigan Economic Growth Authority, which was run by the MEDC. We found that for every $123,000 in tax credits offered to the companies declared “winners” by MEDC jobs wizards, only one construction job was created and 100 percent of those jobs disappeared within two years. The second MEGA study, which included a broader analysis of the MEDC itself, found an empirical link between the MEGA program and jobs, but it was negative. That is, it found the MEGA program might destroy manufacturing jobs on net balance.

The good news is that this ineffectual program was mercifully put down. The bad news is that all the other programs run by the MEDC for the purpose of creating jobs probably create little more than job announcements. Maybe that is why the job description published online emphasizes an educational background in public relations and marketing.

I must confess I am delighted by the generosity of the MEDC’s pay. A salary range of between $106,000 and almost $160,000 for so little education and experience is simply remarkable. The good times must really be rolling for government bureaucrats these days.

If I may be so bold, I’d like to offer some advice that may separate me from other candidates. The MEDC should make all applicants for this position — including myself — submit their own investment portfolios to you as evidence that they can perform better than the market as a whole. In fact, every person involved in approving corporate welfare should be required to do so.

Displaying the investment track records of government jobs czars will give Michiganders confidence that their tax dollars are being invested wisely, by people with Warren Buffet-like track records, and not just political appointees and civil servants with little real-world experience in building a legitimate business.

I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to apply for this position at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. There are perhaps few other places in America where I can feel both overqualified and overpaid at the same time. 


Michael LaFaive
Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative

P.S.: Do you really want more economic development? Kill the MEDC outright and spend the $300 million-plus in annual savings on better roads, or just let all businesses and people keep more of what they earn. 

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