Inexcusably, Jindal was not asked by any of the reporters present to explain precisely what policies he believes that, in contrast to those of President Obama, would improve the wages of American workers and spur the growth of the economy.
is, in fact, an unrepentant member of the GOP's Neanderthal caucus, who
continues to insist, all evidence to the contrary, that a competitive
marketplace with minimal government regulation promotes economic growth
and personal freedom.
Ironically, Jindal is unable to reconcile this professed belief with
his unwavering support for Louisiana's "right-to-work" laws. Those laws -
which epitomize government inference in the most basic unit of economic
organization - the work place - impair the ability of employees to
organize unions and to bargain freely and collectively with management
over wages and working conditions. Those laws also make it virtually
impossible for agricultural workers - who are often among the most
vulnerable and exploited - to ever be able to improve their standard of
living through mutual, collective action.
Jindal is also unable to explain how, given his opposition to unions,
his refusal to support a state minimum wage - and Louisiana's continued
reliance upon the prevailing $7.25 the federal minimum - are
defensible? In what ways does that current minimum wage better address
the economic needs of thousands of low-wage workers in his state than
the proposed legislation by the President and Congressional Democrats to
increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10?
Jindal's documented hostility to the needs of ordinary Louisianans is not surprising. He presides over a state that is, by almost all measures, a rural, third-world, low-wage state. The economy of Louisiana, aside from tourism, some ship building and commercial fishing, is still largely dominated by oil, gas and extractive mining interests - i.e. the production of minerals, oil and natural gas, sulfur, lime, salt, lignite; petroleum refining; chemical and petrochemical manufacturing - and agriculture.
the U.S. Census Bureau data, Louisiana has fewer high school graduates
than almost all other states in the union, and the number of adults who
have earned a bachelor's degree or better is well below the national
average, as is the number of residents who have ever served in the Armed
Forces of the United States. In addition, between 2008-and 2012,
Louisiana's median household income lagged almost $10,000 below the
national median while the number of persons living in
poverty between 2008-2012 - 18.7% or almost one fifth of the states'
population - was the second largest recorded number among the 50 states.
A Gallup study reported in USA Today, February
27, 2014, descried Louisiana as the "tenth most miserable state" in the
union based upon its misery index. The report summarized its findings:
"Louisiana residents suffered from limited access to basic needs. Last
year, nearly 9% of those surveyed in the state noted they did not have
easy access to clean and safe drinking water, while nearly 12% of
residents lacked easy access to medicine, both among the worst rates in
the nation. Just 61.4% of respondents felt safe walking home alone at
night, the lowest rate in the U.S., and significantly lower than the
national rate of more than 70% who felt safe in the same circumstances.
Louisiana also ranked among the lowest in healthy behaviors because of
its residents' high smoking rate and limited healthy eating. As of 2010,
there were 229.4 deaths due to heart disease per 100,000 people in the
state, fourth-highest nationally. That same year, life expectancy at
birth in the state was just 75.7 years, one of the worst figures in the
report by Rebecca Catalanello in October 16, 2013 described a Kaiser
Family Foundation study that found that 242,150 poor people who
currently lacked health insurance would be denied access to insurance
provided for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
because of Governor Jindal's refusal to accept the federal government's
proposed Medicaid expansion.
reporter, Bruce Alpert, in a December 05, 2013 dispatch, cited a study
by Commonwealth Fund that found that, as a result of its rejection of
federal funds under the Affordable Care Acts expansion of Medicaid,
Louisiana would lose $1.65 billion in 2022, or more than twice as much
as it is projected to receive in federal highway and transportation
Bobby Jindal rejected the Medicaid expansion because he claimed that
the proposal would be too expensive to the state and that, in addition,
an expansion of Medicaid was not an efficient way to improve access to
health care, although U.S. Census Bureau data showed that in 2011,
886,000 residents -or roughly 20% of the population - of Louisiana were
the corporate media in this country were less supine, Governor Jindal
would have been dismissed as clueless long ago, rather than extolled as a
potential candidate for President of the United States. The disconnect
between Jindal's rhetoric, his policy prescriptions, and his stewardship
of Louisiana's economy suggest that, despite his
formidable educational credentials, something is not quite right. It
prompts one to wonder whether the current state of what passes for
politics and civic discourse in the United States, particularly among
the GOP, is now so bizarre and dysfunctional that its study should
become the exclusive domain of mental health professionals.