Next, I thought about the $200 million dollars the state Senate cut from the highways appropriation for the coming fiscal year. As ever, fear of insufficient revenues shades the judgment of several legislative leaders. They have so little confidence in our state’s economy, and the tax structure they have developed, that they anticipate fiscal collapse at any moment.
Then my thoughts turned to the room itself and the misconceptions many Hoosiers have about state government. There was no sense of grandeur or power in this room. Many meeting rooms in city and town halls across the state are more impressive.
Here, not a penny was spent to suggest the dignity of democratic processes. The people’s representatives asked meaningful questions when appropriate, and were at ease with each other.
Finally, I contemplated the real business of legislation as conducted away from view by the press and the public. An opaque film covers what is really happening. Powerful men (this is still Indiana), acting on behalf of powerful interests, manipulate the legislative process to produce results that amaze us if they correspond to the public’s well-being.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist, writer, and speakerwho may be reached at email@example.com.