Op-Ed: Holcomb to the Ramparts

March 20, 2020

WITH THE WUHAN VIRUS upon us we are gaining perspective on the Holcomb administration’s “leadership” style. It boils down to this: If there is the possibility of criticism, based on even the most narrow or isolated of anecdotal misfortunes, they throw principle out the window.

The tenant-landlord relationship is an example. The administration, fearing an Indianapolis Star photo of some evicted tenant or another sitting forlornly by some curb, suspended centuries-old laws of private property regarding foreclosure and eviction.

Does anyone think that this couldn’t have been worked out by landlords and tenants themselves? Indeed, a landlord’s incentive during such a time would be to practice grace as long as possible (it’s costly and difficult to find new tenants in hard times). There already are stories, off the media grid, of landlords lowering or delaying rent until the Wuhan epidemic subsides. It is a good guess that even without Holcomb’s postured intervention there would be zero actual evictions in the next few months.

So, what was accomplished other than to project the governor’s good guy image? Nothing. Well, not entirely. Now, going forward, there is a disincentive to invest in the lower end of Indiana rental properties. Investors avoid contracts that can be voided on the public-relations whim of a soft-headed governor.

This is the same governor, please know, who carefully avoids associating the Wuhan virus with China, pointedly referring to it as the innocuous and meaningless COVID-19.

Why is that important? Well, maybe I’m just a word guy but it reveals a dead ear to the fundamentals of liberty. Confucius said it: “When words lose their meaning, men lose their liberty.” And so did George Orwell: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four; If that is granted, all else follows.”

Finally, one would think that Holcomb, who was among the 19 governors lauded as “friendly” by the Chinese government, a professional politician having returned from a hugely expensive trip to China only weeks ahead of Novel Coronavirus saying how wonderful things were there, would want to be more circumspect on this topic.

Hoosiers should be asking themselves why that is not so. — tcl


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