My friend Morton Marcus has a good column in the recent issue of NUVO.
He reflects upon the most recent legislative session, and on Indiana politics generally, and in a make-believe conversation with one “Victor Van Nutt,” he makes a point my father used to emphasize: if you want to know what people really believe, what they really value, you’ll look at what they do–not at what they say.
“If we wanted local control of schools, we never would have allowed the state to take over financing education. If we wanted strong communities, we would not have voted for property tax controls starting with Otis Bowen and ended up supporting a constitutional amendment capping those taxes.
“On the other hand,” he continued, “if we wanted economy in government, we would have eliminated township governments, merged adjacent cities and towns, and merged under-populated counties.
“Then,” he went on, “if we truly believed in the virtues of small business, we wouldn’t yield our tax policies to the imagined desires of out-of-state corporations, hoping they will bring any kind of jobs to Indiana.
“We would stop shifting taxes to households and away from the big corporations. Remember, many small businesses are basically households not paying corporate taxes. We would not be anti-union since small businesses are not likely to be unionized.”
Until and unless Hoosiers start following what our government is actually doing–until we stop taking political figures at their word, and ignoring what they actually do once in office–nothing will change.
And of course, that advice also applies to us. If we just criticize those in power, content to complain about the “World’s Worst Legislature” while finding excuses not to vote–if we bitch and moan at cocktail parties while doing nothing to help change the system that keeps returning these same people to office–well, that says something about We the People and what we really value.