Thursday, November 18, 2004

 

New Ohio jobs/unemployment report to show major setback

Exactly four weeks ago, the Bush campaign got a small gift. Ohio had been the poster child for the economic failings of W's administration. But the jobs/unemployment numbers released in late October showed a faint twitch in the numbers, an small hiccup that if one were to squint just right might somehow be seen as good news.

Bush and his surrogates - unchallenged by most of the Ohio press corps - proclaimed that the net growth of 5,500 jobs in September and a drop in the unemployment rate from 6.3% to 6.0% proved that Ohio had turned the economic corner. Funny thing was, however, roughly half the state knew that was utter nonsense.

Unfortunately, we now know which have was right.

Our sources say the jobs and employment report that will be released tomorrow - covering data from October - will show bad economic news.

How bad? Pretty bad. Bad enough to make you stay awake at night wondering what would have happened with the election if this had been the report given in four weeks ago. For example, the new report will show:
We need to put this in context (using the format developed by the good folks at Policy Matters Ohio who will probably have their own analysis out Friday afternoon). These new results mean that the state has gained a total of about 18,000 jobs since December, an increase of about a third of one percent. At that rate, it will be about ten years before Ohio regains the jobs lost since the recession officially began in March 2001.



The Republicans can be expected to blame this all on Gov. Bob Taft. Or they will blame it on the unions. Or they will blame it on the taxes. Or they will blame it on the size of government. Or they will blame it on the lawyers.

Taft is a boob, but he hardly deserves all the blame. All but the comatose know Speaker Larry Householder and Sen. Pres. Doug White with their 2:1 Republican majority in both houses ran a tight ship. A very tight ship. For nearly 16 years the Republicans have had the run of the Statehouse, and Ohio's middle class has suffered greatly. And what's there to show for it? Wretched public school funding, a blatantly unfair income tax system that gives virtually a free ride to businesses, a gutted manufacturing sector, and a public services that allow the severely mentally ill and mentally retarded to fall through the cracks. Oh - and let's not forget a term-limit system, Republican initiated, that lets those responsible for the mess flee before anyone catches on.

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