Saturday, December 05, 2009

Class Struggle in Ohio

Although my home state of Ohio still has tons of the friendliest folks you'll want to meet, the state--particularly its large, northern cities, has been politically dysfunctional since long before I left in the late 1960s. Crippled by union featherbedding and thuggery--particularly on the part of Ohio's arrogant public employees' unions--and rendered almost entirely sclerotic by some of the most polarized racial politics in the nation, state and local governments alike have created one of the worst business climates in the country.

The Great Recession has made things even worse. Whole neighborhoods in Cleveland have been foreclosed due to scads of subprime loans that should have never been made. And of course, even folks who qualified for conventional mortgages are strapped for that monthly payment now because real jobs simply aren't to be had.

But that never keeps the unions from demanding more and more from their taxpayer employers who clearly have less and less. Apparently, no one on either side can do the math anymore and confront the obvious, which is why, I guess, Ohioans, particularly in said big northern cities, keep electing the same bozos (usually Democrats) again and again. The link between cause and effect--i.e., the pols catering to the unions' perpetual class struggle agenda--seems to have been completely severed in voters minds. I just don't get this at all, and I don't think I would even if I lived there.

The latest example of this game is the state's current budget battle. In an era where the state's generally anti-business climate has combined with the Great Recession to eviscerate tax income, the usual suspects just can't seem to understand that there ain't any money anymore to keep unions and racial interest groups paid off as in days of old, particularly in the construction trades.
Lawmakers are close to a budget deal, but construction reform could be the deal breaker.

"It's not going to go. It will not have the support of the legislative black caucus. We've been very clear on that from the very beginning," said Democratic Representative Tracy Maxwell Heard...

"When you're talking about construction reform, we have to address the issues of inclusion, which is the biggest issue we've failed to respond to as a state the last 16 years," Maxwell Heard told ONN's Jim Heath.

Ohio State University President Gordon Gee disagrees. He will testify Monday that this construction reform proposal could save OSU millions of dollars.
What we're talking here is reforming the bidding process, gearing it more to sound budget practices (like maybe picking the lowest bidder for large contracts) and less to the kind of costly, outcome-based social engineering so beloved of Democrats and their pet special interest groups that keep them in office.

Until Ohio grows up and learns to live in the 21st century, it's going to remain an employment backwater. Businesses simply don't need Ohio's enormously high tax burden and operational constraints. Which makes life even tougher and more hopeless for the unemployed taxpayers who are still expected to pay the bills.

It's depressing when you realize that, in some ways, Ohio and its neighbor to the north, Michigan, are now essentially public laboratories. Both states are laying out for us, in advance, where the rest of the country is headed if we sit back and allow the current Democrat Triumverate of Evil--Obama, Pelosi, and Reid--to have their way without mounting a challenge against this kind of miserable fate.

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