EYE ON THE PIE: Readers respond to Indiana stamp

On Jan. 14, I wrote about the new Indiana stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. I objected to the selection of a farm tractor with a cityscape in the distance as being typical of Indiana and invited readers to comment.

Below are a few typical remarks:

From a reader in Tennessee who grew up in Kokomo: “As I read your column, I was torn between what you were saying and my warm fuzzy memories of my childhood. … Indiana represents farming to me from my mother’s side of the family, but it represents opportunity and growth to me from my father’s side.”

A fellow named Dan said, “Anyone driving through Indiana will see mainly farmland with lots of corn, wheat and soybeans. If traveling I-64, they will see the Hoosier [National] Forest. So I understand the selection of stamp design. … My preference for a stamp would be for something that advances and supports green science or something of future importance to the state.”

Mr. Smith of Columbus wrote, “It is true that a very small percentage of our nation earn their living by full-time farming. … However, let’s not forget that through skillful, efficient, large-scale mechanization, this very small percentage of our population is producing the raw materials for the food products of nearly 100 percent of our population. Now, for this hard-working, very small percentage of our population, is a ‘once in a lifetime’ commemorative postage stamp really ‘overdoing it’?”

Doug wrote, ” … a stamp showing a large manufacturing facility with dozens of semi-tractor trailers coming and going 24/7? No thanks, I’d rather stick with the tractors and corn.”

Geoffrey liked the idea of “a hood profile of the Duesenberg … it could be a reminder that this state produced what some call the best and certainly most luxurious car this country ever produced.”

Mark from the Fort Wayne area offered that we “go with a roulette wheel or deck of cards or slot machine … [or] maybe … a silhouette of two people arguing, screaming at the top of their lungs, nose to nose, and call it ‘legislature in action.'”

Joe from Logansport observed: “When I drive through my home state of Indiana, I see farmland and lots of it. I also see cities and small towns. I see … colleges that are full of simple-minded liberal professors who apparently only see statistics and dollar signs in Indiana.”

While Don, also from Logansport, said, “Congratulations on continuing your battle to gain a realistic expression of the state of Indiana.”

We had a poetic dreamer who would “like the scene to focus on state-of-the-art transportation modes (fully integrated) with the rest of the space depicting a collage of structures showing the harmonized version of manufacturing facilities, professional buildings, and variegated housing stock dwelling together in symphonic rhapsody.”

Millie was very clear: “So you don’t want a tractor on the new Indiana stamp? How about a bulldozer? Or a starving family, wondering where the food went now that the farmer is out of business? … Well let’s see what you think when your grandchildren are wondering why the food does not appear at the grocery store as if by magic. Shame on you, Mr. Marcus.”

Her views were shared by Russell, who wrote: “I believe that the narrow-minded opinion of ‘bean counters’ like you is the demise of this country. … We are all dependent on the American farmer, and I for one am proud to be a part of a state that honors those that feed this great nation and the world.”

But it was Wes Blue who came up with the best idea for an Indiana stamp, “… a clock face with two human hands pulling the hands of the clock in opposite directions.”

Marcus taught economics for more than 30 years at Indiana University and is the former director of IU’s Business Research Center. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at mmarcus@ibj.com.

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