MAURER: Fallout from ratings keeps going and going ...

August 20, 2011

Indianapolis is the most sexually satisfied city in the country, according to Men’s Health magazine. This is not a one night stand. Indy came in at No. 1 on the “Best Sex” list in 2008 as well.

In addition to condom sales and birth rates, the magazine factored in sales of sex toys. According to the article, the right props can turn a great performance into one that begs for an encore. (At my age, you can beg for an encore all you want but you are not going to get it until tomorrow.)

Our fair city also ranks as the eighth-most-dangerous city in the country. According to Forbes magazine, when it comes to safety, Indianapolis is more perilous than Chicago and Philadelphia.

I see a correlation here: Perhaps we are aware of the danger lurking out there and are spending more time in the safety of our homes under the covers.

In business-related rankings, Indianapolis also has fared well. Last year, Business Facilities Ranking Report named Indianapolis the seventh-best city for economic growth potential and ranked it eighth on the best cost of living list. Executive Outlook magazine listed Indy fourth among the top 25 cities for business.

Ratings and rankings make for spirited cocktail conversation, but most are subjective and rarely scientifically verifiable. For example, rank your favorite rabbits: Br’er Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, Peter Cottontail, Energizer Bunny, Thumper, Roger Rabbit, Harvey and getting back to sex again, Hugh Hefner’s latest conquest.

Standard and Poor’s is a leading player in this field of fanciful guesswork. Earlier this month, S&P roiled the stock market when it removed the United States government from its list of risk-free borrowers for the first time, downgrading its credit rating from the best-possible AAA to AA+. The agency cited the fact that the gulf between the political parties had reduced its confidence in the government’s ability to manage its finances.

Confidence? Isn’t this the same S&P that bestowed glowing ratings on Lehman Brothers up to the day it imploded? And didn’t S&P abet corporate marauders in the mortgage-backed securities shell game that sent many financial institutions to the bottom of the FDIC pile?

Following the downgrade, Standard and Poor’s explained that some U.S. state and local government debtors can maintain or achieve ratings above that of the sovereign. The report notes that many state and local governments function with a high level of revenue, treasury, finance and debt-management independence compared to their global counterparts.

That is the case in Indiana. S&P—along with Fitch and Moody’s—granted Indiana a AAA rating, making it one of just a few states with a AAA rating from all three rating agencies. Returning Indiana to fiscal solvency may be one of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ most important legacies. In 2005, he led the state to its first balanced budget in eight years, and without a tax increase transformed the $600 million deficit he inherited into a $370 million surplus.

Daniels often likes to say, “Indiana’s business environment makes it the best sandbox in which to play.” Indeed, the state was ranked as the best place in the Midwest to do business by Chief Executive magazine following a survey of CEOs on a range of criteria including business tax policies and regulations, work force quality and livability. Site Selection magazine also recognized Indiana in 2010, ranking it the eighth-best state business climate.

Most ratings are bunk, but Hoosier business men and women should be enthused over the recognition of Indiana—and particularly Indianapolis—not only for success in the sack but also as a haven for business opportunity. Can we mark that down to fiscal soundness, business-friendly policies and the result of sexually satisfying experiences?

By the way, my favorite rabbit is the energizer bunny. I like to think Hoosiers have that same spunk.•


Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Media Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal. His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to


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