Gov. John Kasich has enjoyed over six years of seemingly sycophantic coverage by most of Ohio’s print legacy newspapers. Two in particular, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Columbus Dispatch, have covered Ohio’s 69th governor as if they were his adjunct public relations department.
But behold, The Toledo Blade [TTB], which in the past has shown it’s not as squeamish as its other colleagues among Ohio’s Big Eight newspapers to ruffle feathers in Columbus, dared to ruffle them again .
In its editorial penned today on the winter solstice, “The miracle vanishes,” TTB finally catches up to the drumbeat of similar findings by Plunderbund that peel away the rind Team Kasich has sought to cover up a state once broke, but then found due to political ideology and program policies pushed by a former Lehman Brothers Wall Street banker and Fox News political talk show host. With help from a socially and fiscally conservative legislature that hates government, even though taxpayers feed them with good-paying part-time job and pensions and healthcare benefits other Ohioans can only dream of, Gov. Kasich has been able to shove his austerity for most but largess for the few down the throats of Ohioans without fear of push back from anyone or any agency.
“Now that the 2016 election is behind him, Gov. John Kasich has taken off his rose-colored glasses. Re-engaging with his job, to construct a state budget, the governor has discovered that Ohio’s overall economic condition is not so glorious. The ‘Ohio miracle’ (his term) has vanished,” Blade editors wrote. The paper drilled down on Kasich’s claim that Ohio is ready for another recession due to falling state revenues, the blame for which can be laid at his doorstep and the doorstep of previous Republicans governors and their obliging General Assemblies after years of doling out big income tax cuts that disproportionately went to Ohio’s wealthiest.
Kasich’s sequestering of billions in the rainy day fund provided a convenient excuse for not returning the funds he stole from local governments, where public union workers, including police and firefighters among others, play big rolls in local budgeting. Taking from the larders of locals to lard up state coffers, Gov. Kasich was able to claim he had balanced the budget without raising taxes, a magic trick Republicans like Mr. Kasich love to extol. And it worked, because most Ohio media didn’t look past his Grover Norquest-inspired rhetoric. Kasich continued to use the excuse of not giving back what he took, saying Ohio must be prepared for another recession, like the one foisted on the nation by members of his party, who like him think social safety nets make people dependent on government instead of being self-reliant.
Self-reliance is fine if good paying jobs are plentiful enough. But Gov. Kasich, for all his talk about cutting taxes and regulations and the miracle his pet project JobsOhio would deliver, has failed month after month—47 out of the last 48 in fact—to create jobs fast enough for those who need one. His poor and slow production has instead forced tens of thousands of able-bodied workers to stop looking for jobs. The result has been a shrinking of Ohio’s labor force, as monthly figures show in clear fashion.
But to mount a run for president meant the 64-year old executive needed a compelling narrative to push. Sadly, that narrative turned out to be all words. To its credit, The Toledo Blade has found its voice on why Ohio is in the bottom half of states for economic development with little prospect of being a top state while Mr. Kasich remains governor.
One day The Blade, and maybe other formerly obsequious newspapers, might also want to connect the dots between a lack of jobs under John Kasich and Ohio’s exploding crisis of opioid addiction. Now leading the nation in opioid deaths with eight per day, it might be worth a look to understand the need to sell pills for $8 each and the unavailability of good paying jobs in those parts of Ohio where the need for them is greatest. Yes, addiction to illegal prescription drugs is a scourge. But would the scourge be as bad if jobs were plentiful enough, and paid enough, that being a pusher-man on the side to make ends meet, weren’t as real as it is?
Gov. Kasich has a lot of explaining to do, but since he avoids press conferences, newspapers like TTB will have to continue to batter the governor’s door down from outside because getting into his circle is a non-starter.
So welcome aboard, Toledo Blade, to the Plunderbund drive to force John Kasich into the open. May The Force be with us all.