No, he’s not offering to resign.  Yes, we are going to offer you a chance to watch Kasich’s latest Issue 2 commercial here.  We believe it is necessary to set the proper context for the pro-Issue 2 campaigners led by Governor Kasich and his Building a Better Ohio fundraising entity.  This latest ad follows on the heels of Kasich’s insightful views about the status of his campaign:

“I think we’ve been pretty factual about it,” Kasich continued. “The problem with the campaign – they’ve been emotional and we’ve been factual. And in campaigns, emotion usually wins. That’s kind of where we are.”

[Source: Columbus Dispatch (10/12/11)]

Factual, Mr. Governor?  You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

factual [fak-choo-uhl]

  1. of or pertaining to facts; concerning facts: factual accuracy.
  2. based on or restricted to facts: a factual report.

In the latest release by Kasich’s Building a Better Ohio, titled Had Enough?, they finally cite a reference!  If you don’t want to watch the entire clip, forward to the 20 second mark to see the reference.

Finally, a fact someone can check!  The ad cites a report prepared in September for the Ohio Business Roundtable by Andrew G. Biggs, Ph.D. & Jason Richwine, Ph.D. of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a “private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution. Without regard for politics or prevailing fashion, we dedicate our work to a more prosperous, safer, and more democratic nation and world.”

Sidenote about AEI: other published statements by this nonpartisan group with the “highest standards of research” that operates without regard for politics include:

  • Taxpayers have been duped. They’ve been told the state’s pension plans are well funded, and compared with states like Illinois or New Jersey, they are. But that is tantamount to being the prettiest hog in a slaughterhouse.
  • State and local public sector employee pensions are widely known to be underfunded, but pension financial reports do not reveal the true extent of funding shortfalls [introductory statement].
  • It is well-known that public employees enjoy greater job security than private?sector workers, and public-sector unions place an emphasis on retaining it.
  • But that’s like a guy handing his apartment key to 25 women at a bar. He might believe himself to be a Casanova, but taking high risks is no guarantee of high returns.
  • People on the left tend to oppose means-testing based on the view…that “a program just for the poor is a poor program.”
  • The right, meanwhile, has tended to oppose means tests for economic reasons.
  • The Obama administration made what was supposed to be a pre-emptive strike on Texas Governor Rick Perry, but which turned out to be, in baseball terms, a “swing…and a miss.”
  • Government has been calling the plays while ordinary Americans ride the bench. But when the game is on the line, it’s time to give the real playmakers the ball. The answer to too much government isn’t more government.

All of these comments are, factually speaking, directly from the lead author of Better Ohio’s cited report, Andrew G. Biggs.  Nonpartisan, highest standards, no politics….

This commercial lifts a dubious section from the report, the claim that public sector workers receive 43% more in total compensation than their private sector peers. To obtain this inflated number, the authors have added in a 9.3% bonus factor that they claim accounts for the alleged greater job security that public sector workers have.  Two days after this report was issued, however, Biggs made the following contradictory statement on his blog,

We cannot say for sure how much job security is worth. But we can say it is worth something more than zero…

Read the full report and you’ll find that the 9.3% was pulled out of their collective asses by compounding the salary and compensation numbers by both overvaluing pension contributions and benefits, undervaluing Social Security contributions and benefits, and by using their own SELF-CREATED MODEL.

Enhanced job security is a benefit to public employees, but is it possible to assign a dollar value to it?  Doing so is not a straightforward task, but we have developed a model that gives some sensible estimates.

Convenient, no?  Also convenient considering that only one other report exists to directly contradict or confirm their methodology, as Biggs notes in the report:

“…only one Ohio-specific public-private comparison has been published in recent times. Rutgers University Professor Jeffrey Keefe, in a study published by the Economic Policy Institute, wrote that: “Ohio state employees are paid 3.4% less than comparable private-sector employees, but the results are statistically not different from zero. I conclude they are neither overpaid, nor underpaid.”

That also basically aligns with the findings of Biggs’ report:

Together, state and local workers in Ohio receive a statistically insignificant wage penalty of 2.5 percent (not shown in the table). That is, Ohio public workers appear to receive 2.5 percent less in wages than comparably-skilled private workers in their state, though we cannot be fully confident that a penalty exists.

So, while it might appear that the two existing studies correlate, the Rutgers study finds a markedly different conclusion:

Full-time state and local government employees in Ohio are undercompensated by 5.9%,when compared to otherwise similar private-sector workers.  By using a comprehensive database that is updated monthly by the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the study provides an accurate comparison of public- and private-sector compensation in Ohio.

The end result is two competing studies that generally agree on one point and grossly disagree on the other, so the factual claim is inconclusive.  BUT, just for fun, let’s consider what happens if we allow Governor Kasich to claim this report to be factual.  In that case, then we probably have to allow the ENTIRE report to be entered into our public record as factual, right?

That means that Dr. Biggs would also be refuting other “factual” claims made by Building a Better Ohio:

Under SB 5, few direct reductions in public employee compensation would occur. The bill prohibits public employers from picking up part of the employee contribution to pension financing, currently set at 10 percent. It would also require public employees to pay 15 percent of their healthcare costs; state workers already cover this share of health costs, but some local government employees pay less than 15 percent. Both provisions would impact some workers in the short term.

Building a Better Ohio has inundated Ohioans with claims that Issue 2 is critical to reducing a budget deficit and necessary to  “ask our government employees to pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health insurance… [and] 10 percent of their wages toward a generous, guaranteed pension.”

The main impact of SB 5, however, would be to reduce the number of employment issues that are collectively bargained. Firefighters, teachers, police officers, and other government workers will still have the right to form unions and bargain collectively over wages.  However, SB 5 would disallow collective bargaining over most non-wage benefits and workplace conditions.

Catch that?  The main impact of SB5.  That’s weird since even the pro-Issue 2 Columbus Dispatch calls out Kasich on this: “‘Don’t you think that in this state, at a time when we are on the verge of creating an environment for growth, that a public employee ought to pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health care?’ Gov. John Kasich asks. The case he repeatedly makes is that Senate Bill 5 is primarily about asking all public employees to pay a fair share of their health-insurance costs and pension (the full 10 percent employee contribution).” [Notice the repeated references about health care and pensions.]

And Jason Mauk, the Building a Better Ohio spokesman parrots the Governor on this attempted misdirection: “Issue 2 simply asks our government employees to earn their paycheck, in part, based on performance and to pay at least 15 percent toward their health care coverage and 10 percent toward their guaranteed pension. These are reasonable reforms that will restore fairness between public and private sector workers, while respecting the ability of taxpayers to pay the bills.”

Therefore, the very report that John Kasich’s Building a Better Ohio cites as their factual evidence concludes that SB5 would eliminate most bargaining rights over workplace conditions, a key finding that ultimately backs up the factual commercials produced by anti-Issue 2 organization We Are Ohio, as seen here:

and again here:

and here:

and finally here:


Factual?  Yea, Governor Kasich definitely doesn’t know what that word means.


Vote NO on Issue 2!