IBJOpinion

MARCUS: Not the time to emphasize our negatives

Morton Marcus
November 30, 2013
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Morton J. MarcusWhat is the number one complaint of Hoosier employers? The labor force is outdated. We do not have enough workers with the training and experience to compete with other states and nations.

Some employers would supplement that concern with the high percentage of applicants who cannot pass drug tests.

Our schools by virtually every measure are inadequate. They have produced a generation of ill-equipped, under-educated adult workers.

There is an epidemic of obsolescence in our towns and cities that is easily seen in downtown areas, roads, bridges, civic and governmental organizations. It is as though we are still in the 20th century fighting to retain the conditions of the 19th century.

When we have a chance to join with progressive movements, we resist. Instead, we embrace regressive initiatives.

Examples:

• replacement of property tax revenue by an increased sales tax that helps the wealthy

• a repressive voter registration law and rejection of improved voter access methods

• antiquated child care oversight and child protection services

• rejection of expanded Medicaid for approximately 300,000 Hoosiers

• acceptance of a “right-to-work” law.

Now a group of companies and institutions have the courage to come forth and say, “Enough is enough!” Led by Eli Lilly and Co., Cummins Inc., the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and Indiana University, a coalition has formed to block legislative passage of a resolution to put a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the ballot in 2016.

Indiana already has a law banning same-sex marriage. Proponents of that measure want to make it harder to repeal the law by placing the ban in the state’s Constitution.

Worldly-wise companies and institutions have said, no! They know how Indiana is viewed from elsewhere already. Why make things worse?

From outside the Hoosier Holyland, we look like a retrograde Southern state. We were late to integrate our schools. We opposed (and still do) federal aid for a long list of infrastructure and social projects. We celebrate an agricultural heritage that has been in relative decline for 100 years.

We delayed multi-county and interstate banking until our banks were swallowed by banks from our neighboring states.

Only lately, we recognized the importance of manufacturing and logistics in our economy.

Specialists in Hoosier hype tell companies how business-friendly we are. They don’t mention the fact that we are unfriendly to those who work. They talk about our low Worker’s Compensation taxes without any mention of the resultant inequitable benefits for injured workers.

With all the negatives stacked against Indiana, we must commend successive administrations for keeping those good-cheer press releases coming. Although the gains cited and the honors awarded are mainly trivial, the flow of carefully crafted happy news is energetically maintained.

Same-sex relationships have become an increasingly important touchstone of contemporary thinking. For some, these relationships are sinful; others find them acceptable. The latter view is becoming dominant in the Western world.

The companies and institutions that know that world do not want to see us pile more on the slag heap of our negatives.•

__________

Marcus taught economics for more than 30 years at Indiana University and is the former director of the university’s Indiana Business Research Center. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...

ADVERTISEMENT