Today’s Columbus Dispatch editorial “Labor Pains” is a prime example of false equivalencies.

Leaders recognize that their states no longer can afford the rich benefits that union workers enjoy. Tuned-in politicians also grasp that taxpayers, many of whom don’t have comparable salaries, benefits or job-security, won’t long stand for footing the bill.

While Republicans are most likely to take on the issue, some Democratic governors also are calling for concessions from unions, despite the political support traditionally derived from organized labor. New York’s Andrew Cuomo is expected to seek a one-year salary freeze for state employees in a bid to save $200 million to $400 million. Jerry Brown of California, returning to the governorship after 28 years, has said he will review state workers’ benefits and pensions as part of the effort to deal with that state’s $20 billion deficit.

The point, the Dispatch seems to try to be making is that Kasich is proposing about public unions isn’t that radical, and is, in fact, in line with what even Democratic Governors are doing.  For good measure, the Dispatch takes a shot at former Governor Strickland for allowing people to…. gasp!…. unionize during his Administration.

But here’s the problem for the Dispatch’s point.  Strickland was able to do the very thing they’re citing Cuomo for doing.  If the Dispatch were interested in not demagoguery of public unions, it would acknowledge that Ohio’s public unions were willing to work with the Strickland Administration and make concessions to help the State balance its budget.

But what Strickland and these Democratic Governors didn’t do, aren’t doing, is what Kasich is planning to do: gut Ohio’s collective bargaining rules and slash benefits at the low end of the pay scale.

Again, the Dispatch paints public unions as the reason to blame for Ohio’s budget problems.  Except that the State’s pension and benefits cannot possibly be attributed as the reason for the State’s budgetary problems.  There’s simply no evidence that suggests that doing everything Kasich wants to do has more to do with the State’s budget than an anti-union political ideology that is taking the State’s budget situation as a pretext to do things it wants to do anyways. 

After all, the state’s pensions aren’t even considered part of the State’s budgetRead that sentence again.  You know that $8 billion to now $10 billion that the Kasich Administration is suggesting is the reason for everything they’re proposing to do… it has nothing to do with Ohio’s pension funds.

Let’s say Ohio did what Kasich suggests and denies public employees the right to collectively bargain.  Heck, let’s say he makes Ohio a “Right to Work” state.  Let’s say he repeals Ohio’s estate and income taxes, too.  Privatizes most government services.  Let’s say Kasich institutes all the changes necessary to get that top tier ranking in the conservative Tax Foundation’s ranking of state and local government tax burdens.  You know what State we’d be most like then?


And you know what else is big in Texas?  It’s budget deficit.

Texas has every policy conservatives like Governor Kasich and the Columbus Dispatch’s editorial board claim would be a panacea for all of Ohio’s economic and budgetary ills.

And it has a budget deficit of $27 billionMore than one observer has noted that silence about Texas’ budget problems is due to the fact that Texas has already done everything conservatives in the nation claim the States need to do… to get their budgets balanced.

Where’s the outrage by the Taft era tax cuts?  They contributed to a 24% cut in our State revenues that far out pace anything you can attribute to public unions. You could fire every State employee, and it would hardly make a dent in the State’s projected deficit now that the State won’t have additional stimulus money to help it get through this recession.  Where’s the admission that conservatives who claimed that economic growth created by the 2005 tax package would pay for those revenue source cuts were wrong and left us with a massive deficit?

But there’s another aspect of the Dispatch’s hypocrisy that shows they are more interested in demonizing organized labor than offering real solutions.  The Dispatch has not offered any real criticism of the duplicity of Kasich scapegoating Ohio public unions while promoting inflated starting salaries for his closest staffers from the campaign.

How much you want to bet that tomorrow the Dispatch will endorse the House Republicans proposal today to repeal Ohio’s estate tax?

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  • Fotogirlcb2002

    This has turned out to be (Collective bargaining and unions- over paid -workers) a nation wide problem. Afscme had a great article Jan 7 about all this.Notice how the folks who work everyday and pay their taxes are the ones asked to sacrafice.Strickland has the numbers down to the 1983 total– same number of state
    employees as in that year.The workers voted to take 20 days off no pay (cost savings days ) no raises ,( in fact look it up I bet theres been no raises for at least 4 years ) and all the while costs of everything has went up. And this so called tax cut — cost me$42 a month.( yes folks my check is now $42 less than it was)
    let me tell you in the ODOT agency– not only did Kasich hire a “double dipper” they have added high paying jobs — Wray now has 3 assistants–I dont believe the was that many under the old director.Seems everyone that is getting put in these positions are adding jobs — all of a sudden theres so much work they need more people BUT only if you are owed a favor — other than that you hear there are too many and Kasick wants to privatize to save money ! Just another way for him and his pals to get their friends companies in to collect more of Ohios money. If he got rid of all the state employees he might save $5 million we are in debt -how much -billions I believe. People of this country should be on constant guard — this whole group of folks want you to work for minimum wage with no benefits and work until you die. The unions nor its supporters are to blame for the states problems — nor are the state employees–its the spending — and who makes the decisions on where the money gets spent?The same people we vote for to NOT do that but once in office most do whats best for themselves not us.Cracks me up — all these folks throwing this crap out there are “state employees” they are representatives and senators and even a governor of the state of Ohio. Just one difference -while they are running the state workers ( city and county also)down they seem to only be working about 3 days a week- I think I read it was like Tues-Wed-Thurs- then resessed for weekend to go home if they want.Sure everyone wants to be with family — but then the thought of “public servant” comes in.If you are a public servant arent there sacrifices that go with that.
    Look up Kasichs polifact record he excells in the 1/2 truth dept.Just like this article full of 1/2 truths.The fact is the unions and their people make sacrifices everytime a new contract is made– no wage increase to keep health insurance and so forth.So what are unions for ?to see that things are more fairly done — gone are the days of blatant discrimination,gone are the days working 10 hour days for 4 hours pay,
    gone are the days of strikes by police ,firefighter,and state employees.Regardless of what you are told its in these contracts– a NO strike clause.I am sorry people are unemployed while others are working but has it gotten to the point that people hate you because you are working–yes and its because of the 1/2 truths you are being told by the politicians.They promised jobs — write and call them everyday asking where are the jobs?( most they let go overseas!!) Like caterpiller and dupont and coke just recently did.

  • David33333

    It is funny that Kasich, a rich Wall Street Stock Broker, whose Wall St. buddies financed him 2 to 1 against the democracts has the gaul to talk about the powerful influence of public unions? Their high wages? Their benefits? We are living in an Orwellian world of double-speak for sure.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    on researching I found that the last raise for state workers in ohio was in 2007( was bargained for before Strickland came in)
    also found ohio has smallest number of gov employees only 12% and only 4% of that is state workers
    washington dc has the largest % of gov employees 38%

    also found Strickland froze the wages of 3400 employees when he came in( all the people Kasich is giving raises heads and so forth) see toledo blade june 10,2007

    I fail to see how ohios workers are making the budget so overblown–we arent the ones benefiting from this new gov
    and arent we forgetting he gets a congressional pension and this gov salary also which has pension benefits to but we will never know since he didnt disclose his finances
    Strickland did ,you can see a copy of his 1040 someplace for 2009( sorry I have looked at so much I forget)was a news article
    I cant find anything on Kasich– (16 pages of nothing)

  • Guest

    Because he doesn’t work for us. So it isn’t any of our business. ……..

    No not really but he is doing a the W dodge.

  • David from Hilliard

    One thing I have contemplated doing: it is time for me to renew my subscription to the Columbus Dispatch, a subscription I’ve carried for more than 25 years. Reading the Dispatch was a tradition in our family, one I continued even though I’m a Democrat.

    I do not agree with much of the Dispatch’s reporting and nearly 100% of its editorial content. So here I am, subsidizing a newspaper that stands on the opposite of almost every issue I favor; that supports nearly every candidate I oppose in every election. But the last straw has been its support for John Kasich. The things Kasich’s done since his election have been appalling. The Dispatch has either endorsed his actions or, if they’ve had any objection, have remained silent.

    Newspapers across the country are hurting, the Dispatch included. As a firm believer that print media is vital to a free and democratic society, I have kept subscribing and kept reading. But more and more I think: I am helping an enterprise that I do not agree with, enriching people who do not share my views, and de facto supporting them in putting into office the most reprehensible man I believe Ohio has elected governor in my lifetime.

    I wonder how many Democrats subscribe to the Dispatch? And what effect it would have on the newspaper if we all pulled our subscriptions? After all, if you really want to read the Dispatch – you can do it online.

    Of course my fondest wish is this: that the Columbus Citizen-Journal would miraculously return. Boy, could we ever use THAT newspaper in Columbus and Ohio today.

  • FairComment1

    I have had the exact same thoughts and made the decision in December to cancel my subscription after many, many years. Yesterday, I got a call from the sales department asking me if I’d like to subscribe. When I told the caller I wasn’t interested, he asked why. When I told him I was dissatisfied with the content of the paper, he said “oh, too much negative stuff?” When I explained that it was the unrelenting negativity about Governor Strickland and everything he said and did without any semblance of objectivity, he simply said, “oh, okay, bye.”

  • David from Hilliard

    The fact that there is no other daily newspaper with a different point of view is disheartening, but such is the case today with most major cities. And the Dispatch is not objective and unbiased, Benjamin Marrison’s claims to the contrary. Sure, they endorsed Strickland in 2006 – only because Ken Blackwell was so far off the beam they would’ve lost all credibility to back him.

    But when was the last time they endorsed a Democrat for the White House? Answer: Woodrow Wilson, 1916.

    It’s sad, because as I said I believe a strong and vital print media is so important. And parts of the Dispatch are still worthwhile. But politically – reading the Dispatch is akin to watching Fox News 24/7.

  • Concerned Grandma

    I quit the Dispatch many years ago because of its biased editorials, reporting and the “slant” in its attitudes about politics. Real journalism died when Rupert Murdoch bought up 85% of the media in the U.S. Better to research articles myself and draw my OWN conclusions rather than listen to just one side of an equation day after day. If I wanted to have that I could just turn on Faux News.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    you are so right — Fox only has one attitude –figures Kasich had his own show there ,huh.

  • RussRamey6

    Dayton Daily News is probably more your style…

  • Working Stiff

    Ohio should offer individuals the freedom to associate, but at the same time it should also offer an individual the freedom to NOT associate.

    If the concept of stimulating an economy really relies on putting more dollars in the family wallet, then why would you demand that these funds be deducted and given to some union official? If an individual feels strongly about his union then he can support it, but not everyone should be required to join that club.

    U.S. Dept. of Labor statistics show that the 22 Right To Work states have shown an increase in private sector jobs from 1999 to 2009. The overall increase is 1.5 million jobs. Conversely, those states that do not have Right To Work laws lost 1.9 private sector jobs. Ohio ranked 47th, out of 50, in job growth during this time while showing a loss of 508,000 jobs.

    According to the recent census figures, seven of the eight states that are gaining congressional seats have Right To Work laws. Eight of the ten states that are losing representation, with Ohio being one of them, do NOT have Right To Work laws.

    Opponents to Right To Work laws allege that these laws lead to lower wages and lesser standards of living, but credible independent studies, see , have shown that real wages do not differ greatly from those states that do not have the laws. In fact, these studies shows that the wages are slightly higher and that there are more people earning them.

    Ohio is not alone in thinking through the benefits of the Right To Work laws. Presently, the states of Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Indiana are also working on legislation to gain this economic advantage.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    once you resign from the unions in those states — you can( still) benefit from the collective bargaining — they get raises,medical insrance , pensions etc– I personally dont think thats fair — if you DO NOT belong and do not support the unions with dues you should be exempt of ANY benefits the union gets for its members –thoses people should have to be in line for so called “merit raises” in other words hope the boss likes you so you can get a raise.
    the enemployeement rates for the right to work states are as high as anyones ex: Floridais 11.2%, Alabama 9.7% Mississippi 10.8% these numbers off the US Bureau of Labor Stats.
    you know statstics are a funny thing you can numbers to back up what ever your beliefs are are that time.
    I looked up some stuff on another web site national right to work foundation and found that the president of the foundation is affliated with Fox news– so do you really think thats an unbiased web site –I kind of doubt it
    once again this is my opinion –if you do not support a union of choice you should recieve NO bargained benefits it was after all the choice of the employee–why should these people who consciously choose not to join reap any benefits from others hard work to better there work place ( safety standards as well as benefits come from unions– protection of being fired or protection simply from a harrassing boss YES they still exist)

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