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Monday, June 11, 2007

left-wing politics blog dishonest

But did I mention it was a politics blog? They are almost always dishonest. I met the author on Saturday of this particular offender who writes the "Taking Down Words" blog - an Indiana politics blog. I'm sure she's a wonderful person, but it's obvious she has no intention of citing things without spinning it to her left-leaning will.

She cites an economist who cites the BEA's recent release of GDP per State, which shows Indiana continuing to trail by a good margin the US average growth rate: "Indiana's GDP grew on average by 4.5% from 1997 to 2006 while the nation advanced by 5.3%. In 2006 the difference was greater: 5.3% for Indiana and 6.3% for the U.S."

That's misleading on a number of levels.

First off, I would've preferred she cite the chain-weighted real GDP measure. With that measure, Indiana's real GDP grew about 2.2% between 1997 and 2006, while the US grew at 3.0%. Ok, the point is taken that Indiana is going through a bad time. The problem is she uses that stat to then say:

"But...but...but...the Guv says we're on a hot streak. He wouldn't fib to us just to cover up for the fact that he has no long-term economic development strategy, would he?"

That's where the political hackery comes in. This can all easily be dismissed when you look at the rest (growth in real State GDP) of the midwest which between 1997 and 2006 grew as follows:

Michigan - 0.7%
Illinois - 2.0%
Ohio - 1.4%
Kentucky - 1.3%
Wisconcin - 2.3%
Indiana - 2.2%

As you can see, with exception of perhaps Wisconcin, Indiana has fared the best relative to its (similar) neighbors' economies. This jives with what most economists have said - that Indiana has had a much softer landing than many of the midwestern / great lakes states. The point is that, of course Indiana is trailing US trends - Indiana is still heavily domestic manufacturing (which have obviously been declining as foregin competition and service sectors are picking up). So, while the usefullness or lack thereof of the governor's policies may not be evident for years, Indiana is doing better to cut its losses than many of its neighbors.

Regardless, throwing political stones is not a solution, and does nothing indeed to point out any problem (if there even is one, in the long-run). Indiana will adjust - and the data shows that it is adjusting relatively well - albeit painfully.

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