The righteous men and women of the Indiana General Assembly, enabled by a lame duck Governor, have done it again.

 

They disregarded the testimony and advice of medical professionals, knowledgeable social observers, and the business community. The forgot Hoosier history.

 

Do you recall the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015? Our Legislature passed that act legalizing discrimination on any claims of religious belief. And, our then-Governor, Mike Pence, signed it into Law. What happened?

 

A national outcry blasted even normally deaf Hoosier ears. Business groups foreswore traveling to Indiana. Our own businesses were in an uproar of indignation. We became philosophical pariahs. The Legislature was forced to rescind the law.

 

Now, our political leaders have banned abortion. Now, one of the foundation firms of Indiana, Eli Lilly & Co., has identified the economic disadvantages such an act means for retention and recruitment of employees. Now, organizations are considering alternative states for conferences. Now Hoosiers are ashamed.

 

This is the administration that wanted to boost Indiana as a destination. They propose to spend millions luring people here. They will get their wish -- in reverse.

 

Hoosiers will find good reason to go elsewhere, Not just to seek abortions from facilities out-of-state, but out of revulsion from a state that openly attacks human freedom.

 

The advances of technology and management have reduced the shackles of geography that hobbled corporate business and bureaucratic government. COVID allowed us to learn about remote employment. 

 

Today, millions can work where they please. They can “commute” electronically. You don’t have to live in Indiana, shop in Indiana, pay Indiana taxes to work for an “Indiana” company.

 

Economists talk about footloose companies, those capable of locating where they pleased because they are not tied to a source of supply or a configuration of buyers. Firms not burdened by high transportation costs.

 

What does it cost to transmit an idea, a memo, a spreadsheet, an image, a permit in today’s electronic world? We now have a portion of the workforce that is footloose -- workers who choose where to live with slight regard for where their work is aggregated.

 

The disregard by our General Assembly for the realities of business and working today, as well as a disregard for the strongly-held opinions of most Hoosiers and most Americans, means Indiana communities will find it harder to attract talent, entrepreneurs, and firms to this state.

 

How will the State respond? Will they increase monetary inducements to buy their way out of widespread disdain?

 

Maybe, it won’t be long before they authorize local option abortions. Counties or cities might be empowered to offer Abortion Ban-free Zones -- jurisdictions where abortions are legal in order to restore Indiana as a decent place to locate a household or a business.

 

It’s how the righteous South handled Prohibition after Repeal.

Morton J. Marcus is an economist formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His column appears in Indiana newspapers, and his views can be followed his podcast.

© 2022 Morton J. Marcus

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