Despite a concerted effort by Republicans in Washington to oppose, derail or kill programs and policies put forward by President Barack Obama, the nation has moved forward to new heights following the worst economic downturn since the Great Recession of the 1930s. In fact, the economy grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in over a decade, according to the White House.
“The strong GDP growth is consistent with a broad range of other indicators showing improvement in the labor market, increasing domestic energy security, and continued low health cost growth,” President Obama said Tuesday in a statement. “The steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 already the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s.” This soon to be concluded year represents a breakthrough year for the United States across a wide range of metrics important to middle class families even though more can be achieved to ensure that all Americans can share in the accelerating recovery.
Gov. Kasich, first elected narrowly in 2010 and then for a second term this year with fewer than 1 in four registered voters in the lowest voter turnout since the 1940s, had his work cut out for him from “Day One,” one major Ohio newspaper editorial said. Repeating the specially crafted Kasichlore that withers under pressure of real job creation statistics, the kind compiled by Arizona University’s W. P. Carey School of Business’s state rankings index, this view is so politically entrenched with the Kasich Administration that it borders between journalistic sleight-of-hand or worse, malpractice.
“Welcomed by a lingering, deep economic downturn and an $8 billion budget shortfall, Kasich quickly rolled up his sleeves,” The Columbus Dispatch wrote last Sunday. “He [Kasich] plugged the budget hole and restored the state’s rainy-day fund, which then contained $1.78. Within two years, that figure was $482 million,” the editorial read. It added, “He [Kasich] has created a climate and a streamlined economic-development approach that has helped gain back thousands of the 400,000 jobs that were lost under his predecessor, Ted Strickland. At the same time, and also with an eye to encouraging a stronger economy, Kasich got rid of the estate tax and cut income taxes. These tax moves were a particular boon to small businesses, which create the majority of new private-sector jobs in America.”
Ohio’s budget shortfall was, of course, only a politically motivated estimate by then GOP state auditor Mary Taylor, who ran as Gov. Kasich’s ticket mate in 2010 and again this year. Budget experts have noted to the chagrin of Ohio’s major newspapers that the real budget shortfall was much smaller than Taylor’s estimate, mostly due to the wise and adroit management by former Gov. Strickland, who not only withstood the worse of the Great Recession but managed to put Ohio on a roaring road of recovery as Ohio consistently outperformed the national average on job creation. Gov. Kasich took credit for tens of thousands of jobs created by Gov. Strickland in his last budget cycle ending in mid-2011.
Essentially reprinting the same editorial used to back the governor for a second term, the mostly false narrative that Mr. Kasich has performed a job well done on job creation without explaining the ferocity the Great Recession dealt to the Buckeye State under Ted Strickland who inherited a state already on the ropes after decades of Republican control, appears mostly to be an exercise in willful political myopia.
The Ohio Republican Party gushed at the news that the state’s unemployment rate is down to five percent. Released by ORP Chairman Matt Borges, Gov. Kasich’s handpicked wrecking crew director, the former convicted influence peddler pointed to 19,400 new private sector jobs that were created, reducing the unemployment rate to its lowest since 2001. “That now puts us up 282,800 jobs since Gov. John Kasich and our Republican leaders took office in 2011,” Mr. Borges gloated. “We’re seeing some real momentum here. Isn’t it great?”
Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) commented on Ohio’s November unemployment rate. “As my time in office comes to a close, I could not be more pleased with the progress our state has made in terms of reducing Ohio’s unemployment rate. When I was elected speaker in 2011, our state’s unemployment rate was over 9 percent. The fact that we are at 5 percent now demonstrates the willingness of the governor and the members of the legislature to create a business friendly environment all across Ohio.”
For experts who study job statistics, Gov. Kasich, with a Republican legislature ready to cater to his every misconceived view of economics that includes the creation of a private and secret job development group, has consistently been unable to keep pace with the economy under President Obama.
Job statistics are easy to find, as is the well-respected index of state rankings by job performance compiled by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Had some editorial writers taken the time to check, Ohio falls far short on keeping up with the national average for job creation. In 2013, Ohio ranked 26 with a job creation average of 1.21 percent compared to the national average of 1.69 percent. Over the year, Ohio has actually fallen lower, to 32, with the national average for job creation over the same time at 2.00 while Ohio lagged at 1.11 percent. Year to date, Ohio ranks 38 in nonfarm jobs and 36 in private sector job creation.
Experts closer to home also offer ample evidence that Gov. Kasich can’t keep pace with President Obama’s advancing America. Cleveland based job statistic expert George Zeller, Ohio’s unofficial chief scoreboard keeper who no one in the current administration care to disagree with, has pointed to 25 consecutive months of Ohio trailing the nation. Indeed, Gov. Strickland, who kept the state from entering a far worse economic mess, was outperforming the national average on his way out the door. Gov. Kasich even admitted on national TV that the state’s economy was stalled, blaming not himself but so-called “headwinds from Washington,” a now familiar but false narrative that avoids blaming him for not performing as well as a majority of other states.
Bottom-line for Mr. Zeller is that “Ohio’s growth remains too slow, and the gap between Ohio’s job growth rate and the USAs job growth rate increased further during October 2014.”