Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ted Strickland: Mission Accomplished!

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has had his Mission Accomplished Moment.

Most recently, he bragged about receiving the Governor's Cup for the state's supposed "New and Expanded Business Facility Investment" as awarded by the 'only known by the Ohio Department of Development' Site Selection magazine.
"One of the reasons I believe in Ohio is that companies know Ohio is a great place to do business," Strickland said. "We have reduced taxes and regulations, we have increased the skills and education of our workforce, and we have been recognized once again by setting the pace for the nation in new and expanded capital investments."

Additionally, after an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, he convinced them to run with the headline, Ohio Economy Enters Recovery.

Except for one giant, humongous, enormous problem.

It isn't.In one of the most amazing paragraphs I've read in an Ohio media publication, another article about this so-called "recovery" included this quote from Strickland speaking about a meeting with his economic advisors:
"They all seem to agree that we have reached the bottom of the recession and are in a position now to start seeing the signs of recovery," Strickland said Tuesday afternoon. "We had some discussion about how rapidly that recovery would occur and how soon jobs would be created, and I think there is widespread agreement that unemployment is going to continue to be a problem for quite some time."
Wait. What?

"[Ohio is] in a position now to start seeing the signs of recovery."
"...there is widespread agreement that unemployment is going to continue to be a problem for quite some time."

In what messed up world can these two statements coexist? How many of the more than 1 in 10 unemployed Ohioans will agree that Ohio is some kind of economic recovery? What about their family members? Their friends?

How can Ohio be "entering recovery" when even Strickland's own economic advisors foresee unemployment staying stagnant at 10+%? That's not a recovery. That's a failure. That's an unemployment rate that Ohio has not seen for 27 years.

Something else blew my mind. The Site Selection article quoted a Tax Foundation analysis of Ohio's business climate to highlight how Ohio has proven to be the top expanding business state in the country.

Except they leave out the important parts of the Tax Foundation's analysis.

Specifically, in an article entitled Ohio's Tax Burden, Poor Business Tax Climate Hurting Economy, they state...
Although Ohio has phased out its corporate franchise tax in favor of a commercial activity tax (CAT), the latter is a particularly harmful type of gross receipts tax that results in what economists call "tax pyramiding" because it applies to all transactions, including business-to-business purchases of supplies and other materials.
This may be why they judge Ohio to have the 4th worst business tax climate in the nation.

And yet, Strickland claims all is well. In fact, he's trying to convince Ohioans that we've entered a magnificent recovery.

I guess you can say Strickland has now officially adapted The Chip Diller Strategy.

Now, you can't blame Strickland for attempting to b.s. Ohio voters. After all, his campaign slogan in 2006 was Turnaround Ohio. Seeing as 10+% unemployment isn't exactly what voters would define as a Turnaround, the only real strategy is to pretend there is some type of recovery, despite the evidence in their bank accounts.

But to see Ohio's media buy into the obvious campaign strategy is particularly frustrating. Governor Strickland needs to be held accountable for his failure to live up to his promise to Turnaround Ohio. Simply printing his claims without substantive counterpoint is a failure from the Fourth Estate.

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