Some readers may be old enough to remember the Sammy Davis Jr. hit song, the one that advised listeners to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…and don’t deal with Mister In-Between.”
I think Governor Pence took that advice too seriously.
A couple of days ago, an Indianapolis Star article trumpeted the governor’s “good news” that “From February to April, Indiana saw a .5% decline in the unemployment rate, from 5.9% to 5.4%. That’s the 5th largest decline in the nation in that time period.”
That sure was accentuating the positive. The negative–which certainly was eliminated by both the Governor and the Star’s coverage– was reported by the Institute for Working Families, which noted that during that same time period, 18,800 Hoosiers had dropped out of the labor force.
Per Derek Thomas, senior researcher for the Institute:
As a percent of the labor force, that’s the second largest exodus from the labor market in the U.S. during that time period – just behind Wisconsin. This means that the unemployment rate decline can be explained – in part – by the number of Hoosiers leaving the labor force. Workers are only counted in the unemployment rate if they are actively seeking work. If someone finds no success in the job market, gives up the job search, and leaves the labor force, the unemployment rate goes down – but not for good reasons.
The Governor also took credit for GM’s recent decision to invest 1.2 billion dollars in upgrades to its Fort Wayne plant. During an interview on a local radio show, he attributed the decision to passage of Right to Work and repeal of the Common Wage, implying that Indiana’s efforts to neuter labor unions were the key to GM’s decision.
Ironically, not only is the GM plant unionized, but the company’s massive retooling will be done by union construction workers pursuant to precisely the sort of project labor agreement that Pence demonized in television ads this spring.
I understand accentuating the positive, but inventing the positive takes real chutzpah.
I wonder what the weather is like in the reality the Governor inhabits.