Ohio’s corporate media has regularly swallowed at face value what Gov. John Kasich has said on creating jobs. Of late, it seems, they have woken up slightly that the governor’s alternate-world facts don’t jive with real-world facts on how poorly he’s actually performed.
When the former Lehman Brothers banker reflexively blurts out the number 400,000, jobs he said are back after the Great Recession tooks its toll on the state, he fails to mention that tens of thousands of workers can’t find jobs, especially good-paying jobs, because they aren’t being created fast enough, so they drop out of the workforce. The ironic and perverse reaction to poor job creation is it lowers the unemployment rate—since fewer people are looking for work—giving the illusion Mr. Kasich is doing a good job when in fact he he isn’t.
Experts that measure this data, including the well-respected W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, rank Ohio not among the nation’s leaders in the category of job creation. In the national race measured on key criteria, falling in 32nd place shows Gov. Kasich has a lot of ground to make up before his gone governor days arrive.
Challenging Mr. Kasich on his view of the world has not been a problem for Plunderbund, which doesn’t engage in fake news or accepts fake facts. In fact, PB has reported on a monthly basis what expert analysis has divined from combing through the monthly numbers that Ohio’s 69th and now term-limited chief executive hasn’t delivered on the promise he made in 2010, that if he elected he would “move the needle” on jobs and turn the state around. Kasich has indeed moved needles, but depending on which needle is looked at, it could be below the national average and moving too slowly as is the case with economic development. In categories like education, the needle moved down, from 5th best to 22nd best. In opioid addiction, the needle under Kasich rose to the red zone of leading all other states.
Strickland Mentioned [But Not Named] For Expanding Economy
It was telling last week when Kasich’s budget director Tim Keen credited Gov. Strickland for growth for the two years preceding the start of the Kasich administration without naming him. Mr. Keen’s testimony to a House committee on the last bad budget Ohio’s lame duck governor has proposed differs 180 degrees from Kasich’s claim, that virtually every newspaper in Ohio went along with for six-plus years so far, that Ohio “was broke” when he took over. Shamelessly, John Kasich took bows for two years of recovery under Strickland that produced tens of thousands of jobs, but never once gave him credit for it. Statehouse reporters failed miserably in challenging the governor’s rendition of things for fear he’d cut off their access to his staged media events like he did to one reporter who knew him game and wasn’t afraid to call him out on it.
Two Studies, Two Divergent Forecasts
The Dayton Daily News reports on a forecast of expectations by Ball State University economist Michael Hicks, who predicts Ohio’s economy will grow at a faster rate than the nation in 2017, as employers statewide are expected to add nearly 75,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls by the end of 2017. Hicks predicts gross domestic product will grow by 2.3 percent this year, compared to 2.1 percent GDP growth for the nation as a whole.
That sounds great for Buckeyes until another study, forecasting tens of thousands of job losses, is considered. A report released by the Economic Policy Institute on the toll repealing the Affordable Care Act will take on individual states, says Ohio stands to lose most of the jobs the Ball State University study says will be created.
“Across the country, 29.8 million people would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed—more than doubling the number of people without health insurance. And 1.2 million jobs would be lost—not just in health care but across the board,” EPI’s study said.
How many people would lose their health insurance if the ACA is repealed, as President Donald Trump and Republicans vow to do, but was missing as a factor in the BSU study? According to EPI, the number of people without insurance would jump by 155 percent, resulting in 964,000 people losing their health insurance.
If that isn’t bad enough, how many jobs would be lost in Ohio if the ACA was repealed? Total employment in Ohio would drop by 0.9 percent, EPI predicts, or 50,343 jobs. “This would eliminate 9.1 out of every 1,000 jobs. Ohio would lose $4.0 billion in federal health care dollars,” as well, funds Gov. Kasich scrambled to get, that he depends on making his job numbers look better than had he not accepted Medicaid expansion.
As Gov. Kasich approaches the outerbelt of nowheresville in two years, when he’ll take the political radar screen exit, some media members now appear brave enough to challenge the Buckeye State’s Quixotic leader on the proven falsehoods of his alternate facts. DDN went so far as to say that Ohio’s economy grew more slowly than the U.S. during the decade ending in 2015, based on U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics. Even Hicks admitted his forecast represents “a sharp turnaround for Ohio’s economy.”
Still, Hicks estimates Ohio’s economy will “outpace the national rate” with a net gain of approximately 74,400 this year. Last year, the paper notes, the net job gain figure for the entire state was a dismal 41,800 jobs, based figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Making no mention of the looming, negative impact on Ohio’s GDP if congress repeals the ACA seems a gross oversight by Mr. Hicks. According to EPI, “Losing health insurance would also be devastating for family finances and hurt the economy. By helping pick up the tab for individual insurance and expanding coverage on Medicaid, the ACA has helped millions of Americans afford their care. If this support were withdrawn, people would have less money to spend on other basic necessities like food and rent. Fewer dollars spent at grocery stores and other businesses means 1.2 million jobs would be lost.”
Kasich’s Third Path
If Gov. Kasich wants to end his two terrible terms on a high note by championing the light over the dark path, he could come clean with Ohioans by berating his fellow GOP career politicos to not repeal the ACA with the same vigor he’s championed a federal balanced budget amendment that sounds good to tin-eared conservatives, but which has zero chance of being a real thing.
Mr. Kasich could start with Pat Tiberi, a former staffer for the governor when he was a congressman for 18 year, who now chairs an important House subcommittee, whose goal is to repeal the law even though he and his GOP colleague offer nothing more than wishful thinking about market dynamics and selling insurance policies across state lines.
“We are figuring out how to do that rationally, instead of having a long 2700 page bill that Nancy Pelosi famously said we have to pass it so we can figure out what is in it. We are going to do this in [small pieces], so people can understand it,” Congressman Tiberi said to a radio audience recently.
It won’t be a surprise when market dynamics push prices skyward as competition wants to do, and selling across state lines reintroduces the era of junk healthcare policies pushed by junk health insurance providers who can themselves go out of business or terminate policies at will, as reduced regulation will let them do with impunity.
The EPI study makes it clear that big trouble looms if Republicans urged on by the White House rush pell mell off the fiscal cliff of health, leaving almost one million Ohioans again high, dry and maybe headed to bankruptcy court, a not uncommon destination for many who during the days before the ACA were left to the tender mercies of cold hearted insurance companies looking more to their quarterly profits than to saving anyone actual money.