Last week, the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication began releasing the six part “Louisiana Survey.” The survey, actually a poll and analysis thereof by the school’s lefty professoriate, was the 20th conducted in a series dating back to 2003. The survey was conducted over February and March of this year and four of its six parts have already been released, but the focus of this article is on the initial release. It was an eye opener, to put it mildly.
Now, the self-described mission of the Louisiana Survey is “…to establish benchmarks as well as to capture change in residents’ assessment of state government services. The survey is further dedicated to tracking public opinion on contemporary policy issues.” And both of these goals have apparently been met- this latest edition of the Louisiana Survey has documented, to the likely dismay of its authors, the most sharply deteriorating vote of confidence in Louisiana’s future in the survey’s history. To begin with the awful poll numbers:
No less than 66% of the residents polled (a historic high), believed the state was headed in the wrong direction. While that is certainly a perceptive assessment by the lights of any rational observer, the wonder is that 26% of the residents (a historic low), thought the state was headed in the right direction. One can only assume that this latter group must have taken full advantage of the state’s new marijuana access laws.
In a truly remarkable finding, a majority of every demographic, black, white, or other; older, younger, or middle aged; rich, poor or middle class; Republican or Democrat- all agreed that the state was headed in the wrong direction. For this stunning consensus, we can thank (or rather, blame) two men- our President, Joe Biden, and our Governor, John Bel Edwards.
The mistakes of Joe Biden are the more obvious for being national and international in scope. Shutting down oil and gas leases on public lands and then attacking the oil and gas industry with every power under his command, damaged Louisiana more than any other state. To the lost jobs and tax revenues, add the raging inflation which has stolen 10-12% of the value of our dollars out of the pockets of every American over the last fifteen months. Then throw in the foreign policy disasters which may yet involve us in a major war, and the inept governance which gave pride of place to woke extremist ideology favored by a small minority of Americans. Above all, we cannot forgive the rapidly approaching bankruptcy of the country. All this will mark Joe Biden as one of the worst presidents in American history, and he has not yet completed one third of his term!
Now consider what could have been achieved under a Republican or even a truly moderate president: Inflation might have ticked up to 3-4% in the last fifteen months, instead of 10-12%. Our oil and gas industry would have been strongly supported, not attacked, and American production would have been available to allow Europe to wean itself from the dirtier oil and gas sources in Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. The Invasion of Ukraine would likely not have occurred. Our economy would be humming along, with the highest labor participation rate in modern history, and tens of millions of Americans, and particularly Louisianians, would be happier and more prosperous.
And what role has John Bel Edwards played in this sad story? It is well known that Louisiana endows its governor with extraordinary executive powers, which powers actually go well beyond those enumerated in our constitution. Although elected as a moderate, he has governed as a lefty liberal trial lawyer and stifled reforms at every opportunity. By way of example, the cost of governing Louisiana has risen by over forty percent in a mere six years while taxes have increased and infrastructure has deteriorated, even as the population has decreased.
Louisiana has lost ground by every known metric as compared to our sister states, and the federal COVID money will begin to run out by next year, at which point massive reforms or a huge tax increase will be required. We have not just wasted six years under John Bel Edwards- far worse that that, our situation has starkly deteriorated even as our neighboring states have prospered.
And how would Louisiana have fared under a conservative or even a truly moderate business friendly governor who would not have spent money hand over foot and bullied and intimidated the legislature these last six years? We could have cleaned up the most profligate and inefficient state government in the nation, lowered state income taxes (like Texas and Mississippi), enacted full tort reform, revived oil and gas production, reinvigorated our antiquated port system, and at least slowed the increasing cost of our government. The oil severance tax could have been lowered several times by now, to rates competitive with our neighbors; the income tax reduced or repealed; the notorious inventory tax finally done away with completely.
And those are the costs we Louisianans are now paying because of these two men. Our thanks go out to the Louisiana Survey for so capably documenting the depth of our collective despair. Let us hope that change will soon be on the way!
LOUIS GURVICH, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana