Back Home in Whose Indiana?

Two articles have come across my laptop screen in the past week that reminded me of the old observation that what you see depends on where you sit.

Morton Marcus’ “Eye on the Pie” column stuck basically to statistics, sharing data that suggests our state is not faring well economically. Private sector jobs remain stubbornly below pre-recession levels, despite growth in population; and although wages are up, they aren’t up enough to have kept pace with inflation, so real wages (buying power) actually declined in all but five metropolitan areas.

The result is that the average Hoosier has $30 less a week than she had six years ago.

The job picture is similarly uneven.  Elkhart-Goshen has lost 8.8% or 10,600 jobs; Michigan City-LaPorte is off 4,400 jobs, or 11.2%.

In the Northwest Indiana Times, Rick James focused on the contrast between Indiana lawmakers’ solicitude for business and our abysmal social safety record.  Indiana is 45th among the states in infant mortality–more babies die here before their first birthday than in 44 other states. Public school teachers have been under relentless attack for deficiencies in our education system, despite the fact that our problems are systemic, complex and frequently exacerbated by clueless ideologues at the statehouse.

As James notes,

“Pence can boast about the business climate. He can also talk about the $2 billion the state has in the bank while babies are dying, roads are crumbling and schools are cutting staff and programs because of lack of funding. That, my friends, is Honest to Goodness Indiana.”

The evidence demonstrates rather forcefully that being a low-tax, “right to work” state has failed to create jobs or contribute to prosperity. To the contrary, our obsession with tax-cutting has degraded the quality of life that–according to research–is what actually attracts new businesses and residents.

Meanwhile, our political spin-doctors continue their “happy talk.”

I don’t know what state the administration flacks who issue those glowing media releases live in, but the rest of us would sure appreciate getting directions to that Indiana.


  1. I think it is worth noting that the largest collective of Nuts & Racists chose Indy for their national convention. Yee-Haw . Bang Bang.

  2. When then governor mitch daniels had a town hall dog and pony show in Lafayette, he almost broke his arm patting himself on his back about what a great job he had done. After a bunch of flattering suck-upy atta-boy questions he called on me last. I said, governor, I can’t believe we live in the same state. Here you are congratulating yourself on lowering the property taxes but I pay more in three months of health care premiums than I pay for a year in property taxes. The diminutive governor looked like a deer in the headlights, mumbled something about Healthy Indiana, and I pointed out that I didn’t qualify for that, what else did he have. Someone quickly ended the question and answer portion at that point. Yes, we are certainly in a race to beat Mississippi to the bottom. Know why? Because it makes the money of lawyers and doctors go so much farther. ‘Domestics’ will work for less than minimum wage. No sweat over ‘nanny taxes’ here–we’ve re-instituted slavery.

  3. Recently completing my degree here in Southern Indiana most of my fellow students are leaving the state. Why? Lack of culture and the rampant racism. We are in a race with Mississippi. We are the middle finger of the south.

  4. I’d expect that any corporate decision maker that had to drive on the interstates in Indiana to visit would quickly make the decision that the state is not in good shape.

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