Excerpts from Evening Forum editorials
Saturday, January 07, 2017 8:01 AM
This is a time of rapid changes
There is a Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. We are cursed today to be living in the most interesting time in the history of the world.
The one thing that was constant before the modern era was: everything. People did the same things in the same ways for centuries on end, and the rhythms of daily life had a commonly understood predictability.
And when things did change, the great masses of people took a long time to be aware of it.
Today we are set apart from all who came before us by two things: the geometric acceleration of change, and the almost universal, nearly instantaneous knowledge of all of the changes.
State can do better on taxes
Politicians certainly like to boast of their tax cuts.
“I think Hoosiers got a great bargain with the tax relief that’s included in this budget,” Gov. Mike Pence said in 2013. “It’s a prescription for jobs and economic growth.”
And truthfully the business tax cuts that year were decent.
But the cuts for ordinary Hoosiers were nothing to brag about. Pence wanted a 10 percent cut in the personal income tax rate. He had to settle for a 5 percent cut over four years. The latest installment on that cut will reduce the rate from 3.3 percent to 3.23 percent. A Hoosier making $50,000 a year will owe $35 less to the state. Better than a kick to the head, but still ... $35?
Democrats have to change course
Indiana U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly might want to reconsider some bad advice he recently gave members of his Democratic party.
Sometimes, he said, candidates can’t “outrun the wave,” and he doesn’t want to see his party’s game plan change too much: “Our job is to recruit and train and encourage great young people, great older people who want to serve and, given the resources, work hard in all 92 counties.”
Yes, recruiting and training good people is always a priority, but if you think Democrats’ recent losses were the result of a single wave, you’re not going to interest prospective party members who have a lick of common sense. Democrats have been under water for a long time.
What happened to trial by jury?
A trial by jury is one of our fundamental rights and a bedrock of the criminal justice system. Furthermore, it has been dramatized so much in popular fiction that most of us have a pretty good idea of how it works.
But it’s getting harder and harder to see one in real life.
In 2015, there were just 1,160 jury trials across the state’s 92 counties out of 1,361,787 new criminal, civil, infraction and ordinance violations filed in Indiana.
That’s nine fewer than in 2014, and a sharp decline from the 1,514 cases resolved by a jury in 2010, and the 2,450 jury trials in 2005, according to data from the Indiana Office of Court Services.
We need roads, not rhetoric
Indiana Republicans want to increase taxes and fees on motorists in order to pay for infrastructure improvements. It’s a continuation of a trend, says The Associated Press, “pushed by the GOP in recent years that critics argue is shifting the tax burden away from the wealthy and onto the middle and working classes.”
Come now. Let’s be specific and call those critics what they really are: Democrats. Having too few members of the General Assembly to be able to influence legislation, they fall back on the “soak-the-rich” rhetoric that represents the only economic policy they have ever had.
Poor Democrats “are befuddled,” says the AP, that a party which has historically championed tax cuts now wants a sizable increase.