INDIANAPOLIS –  Gov. Holcomb sent shivers up my spine last week with his bizarre billion-dollar bomb blast.

Until that moment, I felt sorry for Eric Holcomb, a fellow trapped by a bunch of Ultra-Wrong loonies in the Indiana General Assembly. Here, perhaps, was a decent human being, degraded by his association with Mike Pence, and subsequently morally immobilized by Righteous Republican Rabble.

How could a rational Republican suggest taking a billion dollars and wantonly refunding tax money to Hoosiers when those citizens are in such distress?

What is this distress? Yes, it is inflation for the very poorest who already struggle from day to day. However, for all Hoosiers, except perhaps the very most wealthy,  Indiana’s real distress is its persistent decline relative to the nation.

Giving $250 to be spent willy-nilly does little to ease the pain of inflation. Consumers can adjust to higher prices by recognizing many of their “necessities” are luxuries. How many streaming services are you paying for? Instead of bleeping about inflation, don’t give in. Find ways to spend more wisely.

Indiana and America have no need of added consumer spending. After adjustment for inflation, since 1968, consumer spending in the U.S. grew faster than our production of goods and services (GDP).

During that period, Indiana has steadily failed to keep pace with the nation. Gov. Holcomb knows education is Indiana’s most urgent need. A few more dollars for every Hoosier taxpayer does nothing to improve teaching or the behavior and aspirations of our students.

This is the moment to spend a small portion of that billion on planning how to work with and for parents as never before. This requires a new set of skills and personnel in our schools. That means a revolution in our Schools of Education, the sources of knowledge and inspiration for the education establishment.

Nor will thoughtless “generosity” improve our streets and roads. Patching pits is not sufficient. To get serious means restructuring roadways and using the highest quality materials given the anticipated wear.

A few dollars temporarily in our pockets will not reform our criminal justice system, remediate environmentally damaged land and water, help small towns and their small businesses, provide affordable and healthy housing.

The “regional” awards being made by the state do not treat our fundamental educational abscess. They are more like palliative care because our deficiencies go to the very core of Hoosier life. We do not encourage achievement, we suffer from contentment, wallow in sentimentality, and are pathetically unaware of own potential.

If Gov. Holcomb has the courage to break away from his corrupt political party, to think about the true needs of Hoosiers, he will not go forward with the absurd plan put forth last week. 
 
Mr. Marcus is an economist. Follow him and John Guy on “Who Gets What?” wherever podcasts are available or at mortonjohn.libsyn.com.