One measure of Mitch Daniels' successful Republican governance

Last weekend, I was in Indiana for the Young Republican National Convention. I had heard a little bit about Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor who was re-elected wtih over 60% of the vote in 2008, even though Barack Obama won the state. In Indianapolis, he even got over 20% of the African American vote.

So I started digging around on his governing record. I was pretty astonished by this one. Daniels has actually been shrinking government. They have a little over 30,000 public employees right now. That's the lowest number since 1983.

You might notice the sharp decline that started in 2004 when he took over.

Rich Lowry recently noted what a bad hand he was dealt, and how he has turned it around.

When Daniels took office, Indiana had an $800 million deficit. He turned it into a $1.3 billion surplus (although it will be eaten into in the current downturn). Since 2005, he's saved roughly $450 million in the state's budget and reduced the state's rate of spending growth from 5.9 percent to 2.8 percent. "I tell you with certainty," Daniels told his Washington audience, "concern about the debt and deficit has not gone out of style."

No wonder people are talking about this guy for President. He has actually run something successfully.

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Mitch Daniels

I taped the C-Span Q & A interview that Brian Lamb does every Sunday night. 

Daniels was absolutely outstanding & inspiring. Even though he really seems to mean it when he says he will not ever run for preisdent, I hope circumstances change enough so that he changes his mind.

Good government = fewer full time state employees?

> Daniels has actually been shrinking government. They have a little over 30,000 public

> employees right now. That's the lowest number since 1983.


I find this mindset rather baffling.

Let's talk about state employees at the federal level.  Would you automatically assume reducing the number of military personnel or law enforcement officials would be a good thing too??


Mind you: I am not saying that having 38,000 full time state employees in a state of 6.3 million people is necessarily better. Daniels is after all a popular governor who has managed to balance the books, so most likely the cuts were justified. I just object to the idea that the number of state employees is a useful metric.



State employees a useful metric?

No question that shrinking the number of employees is a good thing.  Think about it: if he were firing teachers, highway  patrolmen, or investigators, there is no doubt we would be hearing about it and his popularity rating would not be in the stratosphere where it is, nor would he have been reelected in a strong Obama state.

It's a little rough, but such a measurement is extremely useful.  Like measuring overall survival rates from cancer.  Of course you need to drill down deeper and look for details like age and stage, but as a year-to-year comparison this is how it's done.

The business community has

The business community has been sounding the bell about an unsustainable workers' comp system for awhile now, and that cost containment measures are needed in order to lower costs to the system. The Department recognized that raising workers' comp taxes by the 20-30% needed to shore up the funds would have resulted in an unrealistic burden on employers and employees. But let's hope the Department and policymakers also recognize that simply putting off higher workers' comp taxes until the economy improves is not the solution -- cutting costs is.

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Obama's New Pick for Surgeon General...

Obama has made a new pick for Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin.  Regina Benjamin, MD, graduated from Morehouse School of Medicine, and ran a practice dedicated to low income families around Bayou La Route since the early 90s, and moonlighted in clinics and ER's to fund her practice.  Her practice in Louisiana was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and again by a fire almost a year to the day afterwards, and she used a cash loan or two to rebuild.  Her position on socialized medicine is unknown.  Regina Benjamin is a credit to the human race, a great pick for SG – and many would give a cash advance to see someone as qualified take the post.

My Man Mitch

I live in Indiana, and the graph represents the truth.  He's also very popular, and recently bullied the state legislature into producing a fiscially responsible budget.

Another thing that's worth mentioning is that, as far as I can remember, he's kept every single one of his campaign promises (well, he did promise to only run for one term, and he's now in his I guess he reneged on that one).

Now, there were a couple of his promises that I would've preferred he not keep, but that's beside the point.  The point is that you have to respect someone who fights for the things he says he's going to fight for. And, it's no wonder that his popularity is high. If you voted for him, you should be happy with him, unless you were confused about how you were voting for.

I don't think he can win the White House though. He's a good guy, but I don't see him as charismatic enough to win the White House in the 21st century. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic.

"TAPPED" at The American Prospect

..wants to aske Soren a question:


But, despite his conservative bona fides, (he's been an adviser to Dick Lugar and Ronald Reagan and was, before running for governor, George W. Bush's OMB director) part of Daniels' plans have involved raising taxes.

He raised cigarette taxes to pay for health care, raised sales taxes while capping property taxes (a regressive trade-off that might have Proposition 13 style consequences in the future), and put a surtax on the top 1 percent of earners to balance the budget, leading Grover Norquist to apoplexy.

Dayton observes, "No wonder people are talking about this guy for President. He has actually run something successfully." But in so doing, he violated one of today's key conservative tenets. I wonder if Dayton thinks Daniels' pragmatic record would survive a GOP primary?"



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And now what ? All the FDIC can do right now is charge more premiums to the banks to beef up the money pool they have to dole out in the case of a bank failure - LIKELY caused BY the deflation of real estate, as I see with so many good banks that have gone bust.

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