Show Me the Money…

Wasn’t “show me the money” a repeated demand in that Tom Cruise movie, Jerry MacGuire?

The phrase seems appropriate in light of recent news from Indiana’s budget mavens; according to several media reports, state lawmakers will have about $213 million less to spend during the next two years than they thought they would.

And why might that be? After all, we’ve been assured by our elected officials that Right to Work and similar measures would grow Indiana’s economy and fill our coffers, that the ability to hire workers for low wages (because we all know that’s what Right to Work was all about–low wages) would bring “job creators” in droves to our state.

It didn’t seem to occur to our economics-challenged lawmakers that people who work for less have less to spend and less to tax.

The General Assembly’s logic reminds me of the old joke about the business owner who bragged that he was selling more widgets than his competitors, because he had priced his below cost. When he was asked how he expected to make any money, he said he’d make it up on volume.

Low wage workers don’t pay a lot of taxes, and widespread reductions in disposable income translate into less business for retailers and other business establishments, so the amount of tax paid by those businesses is also less than it would otherwise be.  

Nor has Indiana seen the promised influx of new enterprises. Businesses tend to gravitate to places that can offer a high quality of life, and low-tax states like ours can’t compete with places that can spend more money on schools, transportation, parks, public art…. When you don’t have any natural amenities–seashores, mountains, great weather–the absence of those niceties is really noticeable.

You’d think our lawmakers would notice that constantly chasing the lowest common denominator hasn’t worked, but they’re doubling down. This session, it was repeal of the Common Construction Wage.

We’re circling the drain, while our “frugal” lawmakers wonder why they can’t show us the money.


  1. I don’t pretend to be a financial genius, nor do I fully understand the ins and outs ot politics BUT; how can Indiana have $213 million less to spend but be bragging about a surplus in the budget? My “surplus” is my savings account which dwindles whenever I have an emergency or unplanned expense or to keep up with higher costs of everything. What is planned for the state surplus?

  2. You really nailed this one, Sheila. The ruling party Supermajority has no clue how to improve our economy, so they offer snake oil “cures” like RTW and repeal of laws which set wage floors for workers. Then to distract us from their failures they serve up a diet of HJR-3, elimination of sensible gun safety laws, new obstacles to women’s health care and on the right to vote, and privatization of our public schools. And they appoint people to run our regulatory agencies who are in the pockets of the regulated. When will the people realize they’ve been lied to and deceived?

  3. The ideologues have shown again and again that they won’t even acknowledge data that shows their plan doesn’t work. The jobs numbers don’t support the hype for RTW; the tax revenues don’t support the claims that employment is improving; after the republicans drive the final nails in the construction wage coffin, you can bet that there won’t be another mention of any savings or any data to back the claims of their campaign against construction labor.

    On another economic issue: I have always wondered how our trusted public officials managed to completely dodge any personal accountability after agreeing to provide tax abatement, training funds and other “incentives” for businesses that promised to create hundreds of jobs, but never get anywhere near the promised number (Carbon Motors, e.g.). Did it ever occur to anyone at any level in our state government to make these deals with the provision that if the company doesn’t hit its goals, it pays us back?

  4. In addition, these low-paid workers are also the neediest. They need more help, more medical assistance, more help with education, etc.

  5. When most of the citizenry do not know the name of the people who represent them in the state legislature, let alone in the their own city, it should come as no surprise that those with the deepest pockets to buy the most influence would have the advantage.

    Local media is either non-existent or so focused on infotainment/gossip or sensational crime that most of what goes on behind closed doors never sees the light of day. And when it does come to light, the standard response is to hire an outside PR firm to spin the bad news, call the facts questionable and blame the “media”.

    We are being duped into our own decline by ideologues who live large and curry the favor of the wealthy power brokers. The arrogant, entitled, unethical peddlers of deceit ignore or disdain the working poor and middle class folks as rubes and leeches

    Show me the money, indeed. Watch as it flows out of our pockets, paychecks, public coffers, and into the ever expanding private power brokers’ bank accounts.

  6. When Romney was caught accidentally telling the truth that the Great Oligarchy plot only planned to govern the wealthiest 47% of America he revealed the source of their complete befuddlement about economics. They believe that business can be successful without those pain in the neck whiney and demanding customers which of course are the same folks who for half of the day are those pain in the neck whiney and demanding workers.

    Businesses just should not have to put up with those irritations. High profits and big bonuses are entitlements as members of The Party just as Mao demonstrated in his neck of the woods. To the victors go the spoils and all. Vintage Limbaugh.

    Perhaps America is indivisible. Perhaps as Soloman opined half the baby is not half the benefit. Perhaps its our economy not their economy.

    When mythology meets reality the battle makes folks nervous. But somebody told me that we are the center of the universe……or the most polite form of cognitive dissonance, I’m not comfortable with that.

    Welcome to discomfort 47%. Welcome to the real world, our world.

  7. This is what happens when they denounce unions and employees have no protections for themselves. Where is the money, indeed. It surely isn’t in the pocket of the working man or woman. It’s all going to the CEOs and politicians. Duh.

  8. I just wonder how bad things have to get before the mob picks up their pitchforks. I’m just afraid that they may go after the wrong people.

  9. From the budget planning stage there will be $213 million less for essential services, but the reality of the matter is that once a budget is adopted, you may as well cut at least another 4% annually through required reversions. So, on top of being frugal with the “people’s money,” executive priorities undermine legislative intent and further erode essential services. This picture needs to be painted as well.

  10. So very well said Sheila.

    Our lawmakers have been too busy serving the demands of the 1%. I don’t believe any single one of them was intelligent enough to realize the far-reaching economic damage of their actions. But, they may just be sneaky enough to endear themselves closely to the 1% so that they and their families will be insulated from the destruction they have leveled on the rest of us.

  11. Sometimes, I really miss my Indiana friends, then I read the news from Indiana. Mikey and the Republican Supermajority General Assembly remind me why I thought I might like retirement in Ithaca, NY.

  12. Back to something that can get nationwide traction and needs to be addressed.

    Solutions, Sheila?

    Are you proposing an agenda?

    If I buy into this seemingly decent populism, am I forced to bake a g-y wedding cake?

  13. Here we go…

    “they serve up a diet of HJR-3”

    So? Needed to happen.

    “elimination of sensible gun safety laws”

    No such thing.

    “new obstacles to women’s health care”

    Are you talking about abortion? Killing a growing human is not, in any way, “health care,” quite the antithesis.

    “and on the right to vote”

    Republicans do want to eliminate voting, that’s true.

    “and privatization of our public schools.”

    There’s a sneaky fallacy. It’s education that needs to be public, not schools, Bill. You can deliver a public education without public schools.

  14. I found a Web Site Wallethub
    Indiana ranks 47th in Eco Friendly States .
    Another Report Best & Worst Cities for Recreation – Indianapolis ranked 63 out of 100 cities. Parks quality Indianapolis ranked 82nd.
    2014’s Best and Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle Indianapolis ranked 65th out of 100 cities. 2014’s Best & Worst Cities for Families 150 cities rated Indianapolis was 111.

    This seems to be rather consist with other surveys I have seen on Indiana. The Middle Class continues it’s decline so it is not surprising the tax revenues should be shrinking.

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