In an effort to protect taxpayers from wasteful spending, conservative elected officials over the years have embraced a number of good ideas for cutting public spending.
We have an especially strong tradition in this regard in Indiana, from Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s well-documented competitive outsourcing initiatives in the 1990s, to Governor Mitch Daniels’ use of allotment authority to take the state from $700 million in the red to $2 billion in the black, to Governor Mike Pence’s continued use of allotment authority and introduction of new tools to identify waste in public spending and make government run more efficiently.
All of that is good for taxpayers.
Another Indiana tradition embraced by conservatives is hiring highly accomplished private sector leaders to drive positive change in government. Governor Pence recently appointed former information technology entrepreneur and executive, Steve Braun, as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Braun will leverage his professional experience to ensure that state and federal training dollars are utilized to prepare unemployed, under-employed, and under-skilled Indiana workers for high-demand, high-wage jobs employers are trying to fill.
Job training dollars are famously subject to waste and inefficiency. Braun’s job will be to use his background to build new tools that help identify job opportunities in the most promising sectors for people in Indiana looking for work, and to prioritize the training that prepares people for these jobs.
Saving taxpayers money and promoting job creation are what conservatives do.
For this reason, it is odd that Breitbart’s Susan Berry sided with skeptics of government reform in her October 7 post. Berry describes Braun as a “data czar,” a term created by the teachers union in Indiana and promoted by others who are opposed to accountability and high standards in education. This is all fairly easy to discover by doing a few searches on Google and is well-known in Indiana among those who follow these issues.
There are no “data czars” in the Pence administration, and there never will be. Braun will be analyzing data on market trends and job opportunities, not individuals and students. Contrary to what Berry claims, this is all part of an overall effort to reduce the footprint of government programs in the economy and to expand the role of the private sector in job training.
Typically, reducing wasteful government spending is considered a conservative thing to do.
It would be incredibly irresponsible to continue to shovel job training dollars toward programs that do not work. That is what bureaucrats have done for years with the support of policymakers who care more about inputs like spending than outcomes like job placements. Mike Pence has made a commitment to ensure all job training dollars in Indiana are used to educate people for the jobs employers need to fill today and for jobs that are most likely to create upward mobility in the future for those in our state who are trying better their lives.
Dr. Ryan Streeter is Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Strategy for Indiana Governor Mike Pence.