Sunday, October 31, 2010

iPOPA Questions Governor Daniels on His Definition of Private Sector Job Creation

Dear Governor Daniels:

Speaking as a Hoosier, I guess I'd agree that the existence of a Hoosier job today that didn't exist yesterday is a good thing, so I don't mean to nitpick.

But I have a hard time with intellectual dishonesty, so when the Indianapolis Star reported today your announcement on the "creation" of 2,650 jobs, I was plagued by skepticism.

As you know, you announced that Indiana was benefitting from a 650-worker locomotive factory to be opened by Progress Rail Services, a 500-job service center for Ascension Health, and another 650 jobs at student loan firm Sallie Mae and call-center operator Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). This was in addition to the 850 jobs you announced earlier in the week to be created by two other companies.

Don't take offense, Governor, but given that these jobs are to be "created" over five years, can you tell how many will actually ever exist? I ask because you've held some press conferences next to CEOs who've made grandiose promises they never kept.

Remember when WTHR-13 in Indianapolis went to find the jobs you "created" and instead found a bunch of empty warehouses and cornfields? You must have been so embarrassed that we Hoosiers had been double-crossed! I suppose, however, that the sting didn't linger for you as much as for us since at least you got to use all those bogus job announcements to get re-elected.

Maybe being there in person to hear Progress Rail CEO Billy Ainsworth's inflection makes a difference, but he sure didn't sound all systems go when he said, "If the economy picks up and demand picks up, we'll go to full production."

Also, given your gift for political theater, I hope you will forgive me for thinking you knew long before Friday that these companies were going to "create" jobs, but you consolidated and held the announcements until a week before the election to achieve maximum political effect.

Speaking of political effect, what a great quote you gave! You nearly dislocated your shoulder patting yourself on the back when you said, "Weeks like this remind us that Indiana is a leader in private-sector jobs creation because we've built the best sandbox for business."

Governor, initially I wondering why nobody told you that Ascension Health is a not-for-profit entity. Then it occurred to me that you conservatives probably just lump not-for-profit job growth into the "private sector" since at least it isn't "government employment"?

But more importantly, Governor, is it really fair to say Indiana "created" jobs in cases like with Sallie Mae where the 350 new Indiana slots are the result of 2,000 people losing their jobs in other states? If we employed your logic, wouldn't India be "creating" more American jobs than any state in the union? When a company like Sallie Mae moves its workforce, maybe we should brag that Indiana not only has a great sandbox, it also is extremely skilled at picking up crumbling pieces from companies in other states before their inevitable departure overseas?

Oh, I also noticed you said ACS, the vendor who served as a subcontractor for IBM on your massive welfare automation boondoggle is going to add 300 jobs? Out of curiosity, if IBM sues ACS as a party in the lawsuit the State of Indiana has against IBM, will you have to treat ACS with kid gloves in the litigation to get the jobs? Also, are these 300 ACS jobs dependent on a parking deal, by chance? I know the Mayor of Indianapolis said that his colossally crappy 50-year parking lease would create 200 jobs. Tell me you aren't counting those chickens because I'm thinking they might not hatch.

Finally, Governor, I was under the impression you hated President Obama's stimulus package because you said it wasn't creating private sector jobs. Did I hear that right? If so, you must have been hating life when you announced that Abound Solar Manufacturing was creating twelve hundred manufacturing jobs making state-of-the-art solar panels in an abandoned Getrag facility in Tipton County? Maybe you saw in Time that there's been a whole new economy created by the stimulus?

Maybe if you'd spent less time on your anti-stimulus national posturing, we could have landed more Abounds and become renowned for our new energy economy. (Dude, green is right up your alley - that was the color of your campaign t-shirts!) But, hey, I'm sure it's hard to bash a stimulus package when you have to keep announcing jobs created by it, so I understand why you hung back.

Thanks for listening!


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