Gov. John Kasich loves to mete out discipline by telling others to work harder and do more with less. Unfortunately, he never takes his own advice, because he prefers to do less with more. This has been the case when it comes to creating jobs working families can actually live on without being “dependent” on government, a very taboo thing to do for the Reagan relic who’s out touting a federal balanced budget amendment in two more reliably Republican states, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Always ready to take food off the table or money out of the wallets of struggling Ohioans, as he did when he shrank food aid for needy adults and proposed tax increases on 60 percent of Ohioans as he shifts the tax burden from the rich to poor. The latter budgetary sleight-of-hand was noted by the Akron Beacon Journal, whose editorial on the subject called “Kasich, the tax shifter” hit the nail on the head.
“The money could be put to better use, assisting schools that must contend with the effects of poverty, or college students facing high tuition and other costs, or the initiatives the governor has outlined to enhance opportunity for the poor and vulnerable. The evidence shows that these types of investments deliver a stronger return than the tax-shifting and tax-cutting the governor advocates,” the ABJ wrote Thursday. “Such a course would begin to correct a dismaying and accelerating imbalance.”
The whole ending-dependency-on-government spiel the governor and his Administration like to jawbone about doesn’t include corporate dependency on government via eliminating billions in tax expenditures, special interest loopholes and other pure giveaways to the wealthiest, like his misguided obsession to reduce income tax rates to zero. And he might have a smidgen of a case if Ohio was overflowing with good-paying jobs, enough that everybody who wanted one could have one. But that has not been the case for the former Fox News talkshow host who continues his unannounced campaign to be elected president of the United States in 2016.
Research on the subject he won’t but should read, comes again Thursday from Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland based economic think tank that analysis policies and programs affecting Ohioans. Wendy Patton and Sam Whipple Lawmakers’ focus on reducing public assistance and boosting requirements for those who need it would hurt low-wage workers struggling to support themselves and their families.
The budget bill for 2014 created five separate initiatives aimed at requiring or helping those needing public assistance to get jobs and reduce the use of the safety net. Co-authored by Wendy Patton and Sam Whipple, PMO looked at Ohio’s new legislative session and Senate President Faber’s Senate Bill 8. Ohio’s track record in this area is mixed, PMO said, noting that even though cuts to federal food aid the number receiving cash assistance is half what it was, poverty has not declined. And how can we forget that Republican legislators, who have given Gov. Kasich a lot of what he wants, also fought against accepting billions of federal dollars to help low-wage workers get health coverage through Medicaid.
“The reality is many working people depend on public services because they can’t make ends meet on low wages,” the authors said. Programs like childcare assistance are “actually work supports because they help workers stay employed when wages don’t cover expenses…In most counties in Ohio, family income of more than twice the federal poverty level is needed for self-sufficiency, for working families that have infants and young children.”
In related news today, independent economic analyst George Zeller of Cleveland, Ohio’s unofficial but unchallenged chief jobs number scoreboard cruncher, said Ohio has still not recovered more than 107,800 jobs that it lost as a result of the deep and lengthy 2007-2009 national Great Recession. “It is unfortunate that today’s data on new claims are seasonally distorted, and thus do not provide a clear measure of current economic trends among Ohio’s workers,” Zeller said in his weekly email to reporters and others. “Further improvements in subsequent weeks are still urgently needed so that more than 107,800 Ohio workers who lost their jobs during the 2007 Great Recession will be able to find a new job.”
So it’s time to ask Gov. Kasich the same question Republicans in Congress have been asking the president since he was first elected in 2008: Where are the jobs, Gov. Kasich? If you want to be a disciplinarian, telling others to work harder and show personal responsibility, where are the jobs you promised to create? Ohio is still miles away from an abundance of good pay jobs, the kind that pay all the bills so government doesn’t have to spend a dime bridging the gap between what people need and what they can afford. You have JobsOhio, your secret, unaccountable group of hand-picked cronies who have billions to ladle out on the friends and family plan. But as we know from the nationally recognized follower of state job performance, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, Ohio under your leadership is in the bottom 15 of poorest performing states.