Of all of the Republican candidates who have thrown their hats into the 2016 race for the White House, Governor Bobby Jindal probably has the worst economic record. Jindal, who is at the bottom in GOP polls, has been called one of America’s worst Governors for his abysmal policies that have all but destroyed the state he “governs” — all because he is convinced high profiting corporations need billions of dollars in corporate welfare at the expense of everyone else.
Jindal took office in 2008, in the middle of the Great Recession, while Louisiana had a $1 billion surplus. Instead of protecting the surplus like a good “fiscal conservative,” his policies have completely eliminated it and thrown the state into financial ruin. Now, well into his second term, the state of Louisiana has a $1.4 billion shortfall.
While job growth is almost nonexistent and unemployment rises and his approval rating lies in the gutter, he is still very popular among Louisiana’s business oligarchs. Following the Republican economic playbook to the letter, Jindal has plundered his state coffers of $11 billion and given it all to multi-national corporations in taxpayer subsidies — more than any other state. His handouts have cost the average Louisiana taxpayer $2,500.
Here’s a list of some of Bobby Jindal’s subsidies:
Valero Energy has received $315 million
ExxonMobil has received $263 million
Cleco has received $180 million
Walmart has received $700,000 (for just two stores)
Fracking companies have cost the state $1.2 billion
The Duck Dynasty television show gets $330,000 for each episode aired
While he has handed out billions, he has cost the average college student in his state $5,000 after schools were forced to raise their tuition by more than 50 percent after Jindal slashed $693 million from college education; and, earlier this year he wanted to cut $300 million more.
He also proposed cutting $1.2 billion from the state budget and elimating 727 jobs in a budget plan he released in May. In the proposal he bragged about all of the state employees he has put out of work:
“With the elimination of 727 additional positions in the upcoming year, we now have the smallest number of state government employees in 25 years.”
Well, that’s something to be proud of! There is nothing quite as satisfying for a Republican than laying-off state employees.
The Republican talking points insist that excessive corporate welfare will bring thousands of jobs- but once again, Lousiana proves that they only bring wealth for CEOs. Last February unemployment in the state was the lowest it has been since the recession, 5.4 percent, but it has steadily increased over the year to 6.6 percent right now.
He gave Valero Energy $10 million in subsidies, because the company wanted to “expand,” but that expansion has created a whole 43 jobs. Less than 50 jobs were created from ten million dollars, and the story repeats itself with every other company. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, Louisiana has only added 109,700 jobs since 2010. Adding insult to injury, the sheer amount of money Jindal is throwing at multinational corporations results in each job created in the state actually costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
“Jindal signed off on $1.6 billion in property tax cuts for the oil and gas company Cheniere Energy, along with $117 million in workforce training and payroll costs. For all that cash, Cheniere is only providing an estimated 150 new jobs that pay $100,000 annually, amounting to $7.5 million in public money for each new job.”
Taxpayers are paying more than seven million dollars for 150 white-collar jobs.
Imagine what would happen to America if this guy made it to the White House. Years of progress would be washed away in just a few months. Now, the likelihood that Jindal will ever make it to the Oval Office is slim to none. Terrifyingly, Donald Trump has a better chance becoming president than Bobby Jindal. But Jindal isn’t alone in his extreme corporate pandering and religious adherence to atrocious economic policies- the Republican orthodoxy is so strict that every candidate adopts the same cookie-cutter agenda, with destructive consequences for their constituencies.
The Republican Party governing policy has become little more than a funnel, shunting taxpayer dollars away from public institutions and into the pockets of corporate bigwigs, whose support they believe will get them the White House. It’s up to the American people to prove them wrong, and up to the Democrats to clean up the rubble left in the wake of incompetents like Jindal.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.