At the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference this week in Washington D.C., the Republican Party’s evangelical wing was treated to heavenly auditions from many of the ever expanding platoon of GOP contenders who have already declared their candidacy or will soon.
Among those on hand to preach their brand of political gospel to the choir of evangelical Christians in attendance were top tier candidates like Jeb! Bush and second tier candidates like Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich can’t seem to say more than two sentences without including God in his remarks, but he has a very uphill climb to the White House before him, if he can survive the political asteroid belt known as the GOP primary season.
God Not Calling Kasich On Job Creation
“I got a calling, folks,” Gov. Kasich said last Friday to a room full of God-fearing Republican conservatives who found the well-worn words from Ohio’s chief executive new, despite his repetition of them over and over and over again since his squeaky thin win in 2010. The Associated Press reported Gov. Kasich saying, “What my faith does for me, I hope, is give me strength, it allows me to have patience, it helps me to love my enemies, it helps me to care more about other people.”
John Kasich has absolutely no track record of loving his enemies, but he does have a long record of what he does to you if you rub him the wrong way, which is as easy as asking him the wrong question. Facts shows he rubbed out Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl last year, using a long-time political operative and confidant working in collusion with members of his campaign team and leadership of the Ohio Republican Party to do it. The easily irritated governor also banned this reporter from covering him despite years of having done so. My press credentials were then denied this past February to cover his now infamous traveling sermonetes and PR circus show known as the State of the State speech. Another enemy he didn’t love was his Democratic challenger last year, Ed FitzGerald, who Kasich dismissed by using one of his favorite third grade tricks, refusing to even mention his name.
Kasich Calling Not As Job Creator
While Gov. Kasich ginned up his now patented story of religious belief like divine candy raining from heaven, he was curiously short on why the Lord hasn’t called on him to create jobs at a fast rate, enough to keep pace with Buckeye workers still needing a good job. Gov. Kasich is spending more time out of Ohio than in it, and based on what he’s done during his first term to harm the state, and what his refashioned budget will do to add more grief to many when he finally signs most of it into law by the end of June, there’s good reason for Team Kasich to have their golden calf candidate in other states. His chances to become the GOP nominee next year, as reliable national polling shows, is as guaranteed as a flickering candle in a wind tunnel.
Like clockwork, Cleveland’s premier economic research analyst looked at new estimates of Ohio employment for May 2015 and found that Ohio under Gov. John Kasich has extended the state’s subpar job growth to 31 straight months. George Zeller, who accuracy and dependability remains unchallenged and unsullied when it comes to number crunching Bureau of Labor Statistics data, found Ohio is still recovering from both the 2000s recession and the 2007 “Great Recession”.
It’s ironic for Gov. Kasich, who tells small crowds in Iowa and New Hampshire and other GOP primary states how much he’s done to lift people out of the shadows. Ohio under his direction is growing too slow and is well below the USA national average, not to mention people are poorer, women are under more stress and rich people are even richer. Kasich claims his “Ohio Miracle” can be duplicated at the national level. At the national level, meanwhile, the nation has not only recovered all the jobs lost in the Great Recession, but padded that figure with even more. Sadly, Ohio under Gov. Kasich is still behind in reclaiming those lost jobs.
The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh
Ohio gained 12,000 jobs during May 2015 but the unemployment rate remained unchanged from the April 2015 estimate of 5.2 percent. An up-tick of one-tenth percent was part of the national data, as was Ohio’s string of 19 consecutive months of being just below it. Zeller notes that the Ohio labor force estimate was more favorable, with labor force figure increasing from last month by 3,000 in the new May 2015 estimate, producing a 2014-2015 gain of 37,000 in Ohio.
“The favorable but still weak increase of 12,000 jobs in Ohio in March was a continuation of other relatively weak recent months when Ohio lost employment or gained jobs too slowly,” said Zeller. The super cruncher again warns, “The new figures mean that the speed at which Ohio is gaining jobs during an economic recovery continues to be alarmingly too slow.”
Policy Matters Ohio also reported on the numbers, saying while the report was strong, “it’s not enough to put us on par with the national average or to push the state to full recovery, today’s numbers are a welcome sign after a shaky winter,” according to PMO researcher Hannah Halbert. She added, “Taking a longer view, it is clear that Ohio must pick up the pace to break its record of under performance. Moreover, the State of Ohio is not broke. Rather than another round of unfair tax cuts, the state could help all Ohioans and our economy with greater investments in education and infrastructure.”
Truth In Numbers
As he’s done many times before, Mr. Zeller reveals the truth in data tables. “May 2015 job growth data establish that Ohio has extended a new streak of sub-par job growth to 31 consecutive months, or every month for two full years and seven additional months,” the economic research analyst told me via email. “The new data for May 2015 find that Ohio’s year over year job growth between May 2014 and May 2015 slowed this month and remains at relatively slow 1.18%. Simultaneously, the job growth in the USA improved very slightly to a still relatively slow rate during April 2015 at 2.24%. Thus, Ohio’s rate of job growth during April 2015 was once again slower than the USA national average. This extended Ohio’s current streak of below average job growth to thirty-one consecutive months.”
Zeller notes that Ohio gained 75,100 jobs during 2012, 76,700 jobs during 2013 and 72,000 jobs during 2014. That might sound impressive to Kasich’s crowds who barely know who he is, but back in his home state, he’s shown himself to be less than miraculous in healing Ohio. During 2015 so far, Ohio has gained 37,100 jobs. “Ohio’s employment growth is once again below the USA national average, with a newly extended streak of thirty-one months in a row with a sub-par and too slow rate of employment growth,” Zeller notes.
Bad news for Gov. Kasich’s “Ohio Miracle” is that the new data document the continuation of an excessively slow rate of Ohio job growth. “At the current sub-par rate of job growth in Ohio during April 2015, it will take Ohio 19 years to recover the jobs that Ohio previously lost during a combination of the 2000s recession and the 2007 Great Recession. That is extremely troubling,” Zeller says.
PMO offers a lower job total as the balance to create, whereas Mr. Zeller finds that figure higher. “Following the new still too slow May 2015 Ohio employment growth, Ohio’s loss of jobs since the start of the 2007-2009 “Great Recession” in June 2007 is currently a very large loss of 33,000 lost jobs that have not yet been recovered. Zeller sees more turbulence. “Ohio’s long run 2000-2011 labor market recession continues to be another critical major problem that is still alarmingly and increasingly large,” he observes. The loss of jobs between 2000-2015 in the new May 2015 data is still a very large decline of -229,200 jobs, a loss of 4.1% of the jobs that Ohio had more than a decade ago he notes. “Thus, there still is an enormous hole for the state to dig out of … There continues to be an urgent need for Ohio to speed up the rate at which it is recovering both from the 2007-2009 national ‘Great Recession’ and also the far more lengthy and very deep 2000-2011 Ohio labor market recession.”
Gov. Kasich wants to avoid his record by talking about the effect the Lord has had on him. Ohio’s cranky leader believes government bears original sin, and therefore needs constant reform. His reforms so far include siphoning off many billions from local governments and schools and pubic service workers. And he doesn’t intend to give much of it back even though state coffers are full again.
A further counterproductive policy of Gov. Kasich’s is slashing pubic sector workers, which has prevented Ohio from speeding up its slow and below average growth rate to a vigorous employment recovery that the state badly needs, Zeller postulates.
St. Peter To Gov. Kasich: Heaven Is For Poor People Only
“Ohio is my No. 1 job, and I won’t sacrifice Ohio for anything in the world, particularly for politics,” he said. That sounds good to virgin ears who haven’t heard him talk before. But it’s exactly the opposite of reality. Gov. Kasich has sacrificed Ohio to run for president, and his first three budgets show to what extent he’s will to go to offer seniors, students, the elder and the poor a bad deal.
Now cast indelibly as an easily irritated, cranky, dismissive, off-putting jerk, Mr. Kasich showed that very attitude again when he took a bite out of Randy Kendrick, a major contributor and the wife of Ken Kendrick, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who dared disagree with the self-righteous, self-basting Music Man from Ohio on his decision to expand Medicaid coverage, a hot tropic for conservatives who play a large role in primary elections. ‘‘I don’t know about you, lady,’ [Kasich] said as he pointed at Kendrick, his voice rising,” Politico reported, “But when I get to the Pearly Gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.’ Politico reported that about 20 audience members walked out of the room.
Of course, if Mr. Kasich does arrive at the Pearly Gates, an arrival not guaranteed based on his life’s work in politics for nearly 40 years, he might not get in. His personal wealth accumulated from his lucrative years at Fox News, then Lehman Brothers, not to mention his high salaries as a congressman for 18 years, will likely cause St. Peter to ask him why he thinks a rich man like himself should get into heaven, when the Bible clearly says that chance is equal to that of a camel passing through the eye of a needle? Game over for the flim flam man from Ohio.
“We know we have to stand for the poor and the bereaved and the widowed,” Kasich told the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “I’m thrilled that we are helping people in our state who have lived in the shadows far too long,” he said. Mr. Kasich is too dishonest to admit that what he inherited from Gov. Ted Strickland was a rising economic tide, about $1 billion in revenue and a roaring recovery that produced tens of thousands of jobs while regularly outperforming the national average. Under Ohio’s go-go CEO governor, it has mostly stalled or limped along.