The Legacy of “Our Man Mitch”

The NorthWest Times of Indiana has an article detailing the devastation that tax caps are visiting on Indiana’s municipalities. We can thank Mitch Daniels for leading the charge to place these caps in the state’s constitution, where they will continue to strangle local governments until we manage the difficult job of passing a constitutional amendment.

WTHR relayed the result of an environmental group’s investigation that found Indiana’s rivers and streams the most polluted in the nation–no surprise to local environmentalists, who have witnessed the Administration’s distaste for environmental regulation.

Indiana’s much-touted “balanced budget” was achieved without touching tax breaks for business (and in some cases, by increasing them)–by cutting programs that aid those poor and disadvantaged citizens least able to access the political process or otherwise protect themselves.

And–as we’ve seen over the past couple of months–there’s mounting evidence that this Administration can’t even keep its own books.

Add to these “factoids” the war this administration has waged against public workers, it’s divisive, politically-motivated attack on private-sector unions, its willingness to sell off state assets and privatize everything in sight, and we are left with a legacy that will last long after Mitch mounts his motorcycle and rides off into the sunset.

You’ve got to give the Governor credit: he has created a persona that is entirely at odds with reality. Mitch “the knife” was a disaster as Budget Director; he took Clinton’s healthy budget and proceeded to facilitate creation of Bush’s enormous deficits. His reputation as a businessman, rather than a politician, rests on jobs in “government affairs”–that is, as a lobbyist. His standing in the national party rests on a fiction of fiscal expertise and a contrast with undeniably pathetic competition.

Whoever wins the gubernatorial election in November will inherit a broken state that has steadily been stripped of the tools needed to fix it. Of course, if that person is Mike Pence, he won’t notice. He’ll just add a dash of theocracy and an emphasis on social issues, and finish the task of turning Indiana into Mississippi.