Thursday, July 23, 2015

Governor Unbelievably Blames RFRA for Unemployment Rate Fall

Governor Mike Pence
Since peaking at 10.9 percent in February 2010 during the Mitch Daniels administration, the Indiana unemployment rate has been trending downward.

In January of 2013, when Mike Pence took over as Governor, it was at 8.3 percent.  It has continued to fall to its current rate of 4.9 percent.  The federal unemployment rate has fallen in a similar fashion.  It peaked in October of 2009 at 10 percent.  Since then, it has trended downwards to its current rate of 5.3 percent.

Both Governor Pence and the Indiana General Assembly and President Barack Obama and the United States Congress deserve a tremendous amount of credit for enacting economic policies that have improved job prospects for citizens.

The point is that the downward trend has been significant, not limited to Indiana, and has taken place over time.  It's not a new phenomenon.

Almost anything the Indiana General Assembly session this past year accomplished became overshadowed by the fight over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA.  As you remember, the LGBT community and its allies fought back against this legislation.  Eventually, the General Assembly brought in business leaders to help "fix" the legislation.  Many feel that the fix didn't go far enough to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Hoosiers leaving this to be fought over in future General Assembly sessions.  It's something to watch heading forward.

Perplexingly, Governor Pence cited the fixed RFRA legislation as one of the reasons why Indiana's unemployment rate is down.  That ignores the trends, the effects of other legislation, and any input the Obama Administration might have had.  Blaming RFRA for this lower rate sounds more like a personal justification for the legislation rather than something grounded in actual fact.

Honest to goodness, it just sounds more like the Governor is trying to find justification for bad legislation.


Paul K. Ogden said...

I don't think RFRA, fix or no fix, had any impact on the unemployment rate. Although a few big business CEOs make a lot of noise at the end of the day on social issues at the end of the day, all they care about is making money and they're going to go places that allow them to do that.

I have to say though I was thrown for a loop by how you use the word "blame" in your article. Usually when a person uses the word "blame" it is to assign fault for something, a negative association. You though use "blame" in the article to assign credit for something, a positive association. (I know you dispute Pence's claim that there is an association.)

Anonymous said...

The idea that Pence takes any credit for unemployment falling in the past few months is laughable since it takes a while for unemployment issues to sprout either in more hiring or more layoffs and terminations. The whole idea that Pence can take credit for this shows exactly how delusional he really is. Clueless and mindless would be even better terms for Mr. Pence, our state governor propagandist who hasn't been able to hone his skills to approximate Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Germany propaganda chief. However, his state run news service would have echoed the government ran news services back in Eastern Europe and other countries. Guess he just doesn't like being questioned by the poor and middle class.