Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff

First, the good news: Lafayette continues to register a persistent pulse on the national economic EKG, most recently when it was ranked among 30 U.S. cities as the best places to restart careers. Citing the Hub City’s small business growth rate, number of small businesses, personal income, unemployment rate, cost of living, charitable giving and student-friendly environment, author Kerry Hannon, writing for news/culture website The Daily Beast, rated Lafayette 20th, joining metropolises like Dallas, Denver, Houston, New York City and Seattle. In fact, the list is dominated by big cities; few mid-sized hamlets like Lafayette made the list. Hannon cites universities and thriving medical centers, which Lafayette has in spades, as common traits among the cities.

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And then there’s this: LSU economist Loren Scott predicts the Lafayette metro area will shed 3,000 jobs next year due to stress in the oil and gas sector, specifically a proposed federal extraction tax and a Gulf drilling slowdown due to new regulatory burdens. Scott further predicts that if the moratorium on deepwater drilling extends beyond the Nov. 30 deadline, the expected 2011 losses will increase by 9,000 jobs. But wait, it gets worse: Scott’s job loss predictions are supported by Dr. Joseph R. Mason, LSU endowed chair of banking and nationally renowned economist, who estimates that the proposed energy tax changes would trigger grave economic consequences including 154,000 job losses across the entire U.S. economy and $341 billion in lost economic output. Since the sky hasn’t evidently fallen yet due to the moratorium — as the industry famously and loudly predicted — we’ll whistle past this graveyard.

Isn’t it time Gov. Bobby Jindal just fess up: Sen. David Vitter is toxic, and toxins shouldn’t be touched. Jindal has so far conspicuously declined to endorse his fellow Republican’s reelection bid, insisting to an enquiring media that he had no plans of getting involved in federal races. “Voters can make up their own minds,” he told The Advocate in early September. Yet earlier this month Jindal gave a glowing endorsement via the Internet to U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican seeking outgoing GOP Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat. Jindal’s approbation read in part: “I am pleased to endorse Jerry Moran for U.S. Senate in Kansas. Jerry Moran will work hard to reduce government waste and be an advocate for taxpayers.” Isn’t that Vitter’s shtick, too? Moran holds a comfortable lead over his Democratic challenger, just like Vitter. So what gives? Doesn’t matter really. Unless Vitter is exposed as a gay Muslim socialist between now and Nov. 2, he has this one in the bag.

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