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COMMUNITY VOICE

Donnelly hopes for promotion after maiming medical device industry

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 1:10 pm

Congressman Joe Donnelly is asking the good people of Indiana for a promotion. He wants us to upgrade him to Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Why? One reason given is that Donnelly, as Democratic senator, will help create jobs.

Donnelly should choke on goose feathers every time he mentions creating jobs in Indiana, since his bite marks are all over the throat of one of northern Indiana’s golden-egg layers: the medical device industry.

Headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana’s medical device industry is one of the most exciting high-tech caches of manufacturing jobs any smokestack state could want. Computerized metalworking, state-of-the-art micro-foundries and space-age composite molding techniques (among myriad other technologies) advance industrial arts well into the 21st century. This industry employs a significant blue-collar workforce, paying wages to the non-college educated who are the envy of the working world.

Biomet, DePuy, Zimmer, Symmetry, Paragon Medical and others also employ those degreed from Ivy Tech in manufacturing, from IU in medical and legal, from Purdue in cutting-edge engineering, and from countless other institutions of higher education.

Warsaw is rightly proud of its emergence as the “Orthopaedic Capital of the World.”

So why in the world would Congressman Donnelly want to kill this gilded goose? That is the question that the wannabe senator should be asked at every whistle-stop.

Here is the answer: To please his political bosses inside the Beltway. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, sat ringside as the Democrats captured all powerful citadels in 2008. McConnell sagely observed that the Democratic Congress, led by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi triumvirate, rammed through an “agenda” that boiled down to the following directive: “Move the country to the left as fast as we can.”

No Hoosier partnered with the left wing of the Democratic party in this “hard-to-port” maneuver more slavishly than U.S. Rep. Donnelly. Former Indiana Rep. Chris Chocola credits Donnelly with “wholeheartedly” supporting “the Obama agenda,” noting that Joe voted for “ObamaCare, the Obama stimulus and the Wall Street bailout.”

Donnelly might claim to be a moderate, but his voting record swings as far to the left as President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi demand.

Rep. Donnelly voted to give us ObamaCare not once, but twice. While he could possibly be forgiven his first vote for ObamaCare — after all, Speaker Pelosi urged Joe to vote for ObamaCare “so that we can all find out what is in the bill” — Donnelly should never be forgiven for his second vote endorsing ObamaCare. That vote was last July, just a few months ago. Do not be misled — Joe’s second vote came after he fully understood how ObamaCare would impact his fellow Hoosiers (using fellow loosely, since Donnelly was born and raised in New York).

ObamaCare includes a unique tax assessment that will fall on Warsaw much harder than it falls on any other city in America. According to Indiana University’s business school, the ObamaCare medical device tax is a 10 percent tax on all revenues. Not profits — all revenues. The industry has assured Washington that this harsh and anti-corporate penalty will result in layoffs as well as the hobbling of viable research and development.

A study released eight months prior to Donnelly’s second vote affirming ObamaCare reported that 20,000 Hoosier families are supported by the medical device industry. The study concluded that ObamaCare will trim Indiana’s medical device work force by 10 percent.

The record is clear: Congressman Donnelly has been the Hoosier champion for ObamaCare. He advanced it knowing that ObamaCare would cost northern Indiana some of its best manufacturing jobs. Donnelly stood with Obama, Reid and Pelosi when he should have instead stood protecting Hoosier jobs.

Democrats will be Democrats, you might be thinking. True, but when they sink their teeth into the throat of one of Indiana’s most successful industries, well, I posit that things should then move from the political to the personal. Imagine if you were one of the 2,000 Hoosiers facing layoff due to Donnelly’s slavish loyalty to Barack Obama and friends?

Yet Donnelly has the audacity to hope for a promotion after so maiming a Hoosier gilded goose. Donnelly should instead be retired from public service so that he can learn, firsthand, how difficult it is to find viable employment in the “stimulated” economy that he built with his shipmates Obama, Reid and Pelosi.

Bryan J. Brown is a local attorney (practice limited to federal court) experienced in both politics and manufacturing who is currently pursuing a Master of Science in orthopaedic regulations from Grace College.