With the traditional address granted to the governor at the opening day of Legislature’s regular session, Edwards issued forth a rendition decidedly distorted from the reality of Louisiana’s condition. The fact checking required and explicated would overburden the reader, but a few highlights prove illustrative of the con job Edwards seeks to perpetrate on the state’s electorate.
The governor crowed about record high state gross domestic product and numbers of Louisianans at work. But that’s because a rising tide lifts all boats: these numbers came about not because of anything Edwards did, but because of what Republican Pres. Donald Trump has done in cutting taxes and regulatory burdens – while Edwards has increased taxes and done nothing to ease constraints on business. In reality, he has failed to champion tort reform and encouraged legal actions against businesses following the law.
Nor does Edwards acknowledge that his tax-and-spend policies have led to a Louisiana economy that has performed arguably worse than any other state’s during his tenure, even if it has eked out gains in GDP and employment. Any state gains have come despite, not as a consequence, of Edwards’ policy preferences, which continue to saddle the state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In fact, relatively speaking, Louisiana has lost ground to other states in economic output and employment since Edwards has taken office.
Despite these inconvenient facts, he alleged that the state rested on more solid financial footing that before his term. In reality, only those tax increases of hundreds of millions of dollars a year he advocated combined with failure to cut excessive spending that has seen the burden on state taxpayers increase at twice the rate of inflation allowed revenues to catch up with bloated state government – higher sales taxation disproportionately on the backs of the poor.
He also tried to tie in Medicaid expansion as part of this, alleging that economic activity spawned from it contributed to a net gain to Louisiana’s economy. Of course, he didn’t mention that by the beginning of next year expansion would cost state taxpayers over $310 million annually and increase state spending by $3.1 billion annually, covered by a tax increase on purchases of health insurance, the sick, and state taxpayers that he initiated. Thus, he failed to admit to the reduction in economic activity that resulted from extracting that money from the state’s people – which has helped to depress the state’s economy relative to all others and caused a net out-migration of citizens and more than almost any other state so far during his term.
And, he told a fat whopper when he said some 480,000 people who took advantage of Medicaid expansion now had insurance that they previously lacked. In fact, a substantial number of those individuals, well over 200,000, statistics indicate simply dropped other forms of coverage that they paid for to make taxpayers now pay for their health insurance – wealth redistribution, purely and simply.
As well, he delivered a rehash of failed policy prescriptions that undoubtedly the Legislature will reject again – but upped the ante. He agitated for forcing entities to pay the same regardless of sex, blatantly ignoring the research showing that accounting for all relevant factors that a gap existing between men and women doing the same amount and quality of work is a myth.
But he additionally demanded that the Legislature pass and people vote into the Constitution a mechanism that would increase the minimum wage. Not only would this decrease the number of jobs and increase unemployment numbers, but it also stupidly would lock into the state’s governing document a specific political policy that mandates periodic increases to exacerbate these problems.
More could be written about this abysmal snow job, but readers get the point. It deserves an ‘F’ for its lack of fidelity to the truth, the imbecility of its policy preferences, and outright audacity in trying to present itself as otherwise.