Sunday, March 8, 2015

Is Indiana Really Good for Business? What about the Common Good?

by Phyllis Bush

Recently I have been thinking about what has transpired in this year's legislative session, and my gut feeling is that neither the legislators nor the general public cares about the lack of fairness nor about testing nor about how unfairly Glenda Ritz has been treated.

As long as the latest/greatest bills are not touching their lives personally, the general public assumes that all of the brouhaha is about a prickly little librarian who is causing trouble because she can't get her way; the rest is about whining, privileged teachers. Of course, nothing is unfair unless it is personal and unless it touches our own lives.

Since our General Assembly seems to be without any discernible checks or balances, perhaps the only thing that they will listen to is when the business community says enough is enough.

Governor Pence, in his quixotic bid for the presidency, has been bragging about how good Indiana is for business; however, I would ask is Indiana really good for business?

Would a Fortune 500 company really want to bring its headquarters or factories to a place where the public schools are being systematically starved into failure?

Would a Fortune 500 company really want to come to a place where the infrastructure is crumbling and where the parks and cultural attractions are being underfunded or eliminated?

Would a Fortune 500 company really want to bring its business to a place that celebrates intolerance?

If the General Assembly continues its power crazed rush back to the dark ages, why in the world would any business come to this state?

Common sense tells me that if I were going to bring a business to a city or a state, I would be concerned about the quality of life for my family and for my employees. Our cities and towns and villages belong to all of us, and yet many of our legislators seem hell bent on the systematic destruction of our community treasures and resources under the guise of fiscal responsibility.

How in the world have we become a place where veiled cruelty and lack of compassion are rewarded and where genuine disagreement is dismissed as dysfunction which needs to be punished? When did kindness and concern become replaced by mean spiritedness, condescension, and moronic talking points?

Whether this can simply be dismissed as politics as usual, it makes me sad and angry that so many of us feel helpless in stopping this assault on the values we hold so dear.



Todd Smekens said...

Very well said, Phyllis.

In response to your question about corporations, many of them support what Pence is doing. MBA's are taught about enhancing profits - not social responsibility.

Economists use growth to measure policies/successes. So, growth in charter schools is a good thing.

Shifting resources from the public sector to the private sector are fantastic motivators for politicians who need funds to maintain their seat in power. Pay to play becomes the standard.

The republican party has become nothing more than corporate lobbyists. It's the corporate agenda straight up, and since quality of life takes a back seat to profits, it feeds itself.

It's maddening to watch, and you've nailed the problem - apathy.

Also, if you look at who is funding the campaigns of republicans, and look at Lilly Endowment/Mind Trust connections to education reform, it starts to make sense and becomes ironic.

Think for one moment...Lilly derives its profits from sick people. The USA pays more for drugs than any other industrialized nation.

Indiana ranks 48th of 50 states in our health and wellness. Why aren't we reforming the health system in Indiana, when they've obviously failed Hoosiers?

Even more to point, why aren't a politicians making those who profit the most, pay to reform the industry?

Instead, we've got a health related company using past profits to fund the privatization of public education because supposedly, educators have failed students, based on individual achievement tests.

Do you see the hypocrisy and/or double standard?

I don't know of a single Hoosier who isn't aware of the high cost of our healthcare system. All Hoosiers are personal impacted. All Hoosiers should be rallying behind reforming the healthcare industry as well, refusing to let politicians play these games with our lives, wallets and children.

I suspect very soon the public will care, and will be upset. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

Chris Treber said...

We are not powerless. At least I hope. It feels that way. But there are many, I think, who agree with the concerns you express. The key is getting those individuals to 1) get informed 2) spread the word to others who are misinformed or may not have time to follow this ever-changing issue and 3) take action, encouraging others to do the same, in terms of constant communication with legislators. I tweet, I email, I message our legislators as much as I can in recent days. We must stop complaining and start DOING. It's our only hope. The voucher system has a better campaign because they are backed by a lot of money (Indiana's Institute for Quality Education)- they can afford a fancy website and professional, persuasive, marketing materials, including online. Parents must come together to form a campaign of their own, or public ed is in serious trouble. So please, anyone reading this, spend some time really following education in our state. Get informed first and foremost, THEN tell someone, anyone, and ask them to be involved. We ALL win when our nation is educated. Public schools serve our communities. Their suffering should not be based on flawed data and misguided logic.