What you need to know about Ohio Politics and Policy
Columbus: Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, released a “white paper” today asserting that at least 12,500 Ohio jobs were created by President Obama’s auto rescue plan and that hundreds more now seem likely. Read the white paper here.
In recent nationally broadcast television interviews on CNN and NBC’s Meet the Press, Gov. Kasich has downplayed the importance of auto jobs to the Ohio economy, claiming that the auto rescue plan was responsible for only “1,800 direct jobs” and that only 700 of the 73.300 jobs Ohio has added since January 2011 were automotive jobs.
According to Innovation Ohio, Kasich low-balled the auto job number by disingenuously looking ONLY at 2011 (actually, just the first 9 months of that year).
In reality, however, the collapse in Ohio auto jobs began with the onset of the Great Recession in late 2008 when roughly 110,000 Ohioans were directly employed in the auto industry and its supply chain. By June, 2009 only 70,000 of those jobs remained.
But once the Obama administration’s loan and loan guarantee program kicked in for General Motors and Chrysler (announced in March without the support of either Governor Romney or Governor Kasich) the slide stopped and began to reverse. Between June, 2009 and September, 2011 12,462 Ohioans went back to work in the auto industry. And this, of course, does not count the hundreds or perhaps thousands of Ohioans who would have lost their auto jobs had President Obama not initiated the rescue. Nor does it count “multiplier effect” jobs.
And the news seems to be getting even better. Last November, Chrysler’s CEO announced that an additional 1,100 jobs would be added at the Jeep plant in Toledo. Several days ago, on June 18, the UAW’s Jeep unit chairman told the Toledo Blade that the actual number is likely to be 1,400; 300 more than originally forecast.
Said IO President Janetta King:
“From Toledo to Lordstown, and all along the industry supply chain nearly everywhere else in Ohio, the auto industry is booming. You’d think that Gov. Kasich would celebrate the fact that over 12,500 Ohioans have gone back to work in this industry and that hundreds more jobs are in the offing. Instead, he minimizes and downplays the good news and tries to take the credit himself for why Ohio’s unemployment rate is far lower than the national average.
“It’s politics, pure and simple. He knows that he didn’t support President Obama’s auto rescue plan and that Mitt Romney flatly opposed it, going so far as to write an opinion column for the New York Times entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” And the Governor apparently thinks that casting himself as Ohio’s savior will enhance his own re-election bid in 2014.
“But as Winston Churchill once observed, ‘facts are stubborn things.’ For the over 12,000 Ohioans now working in the auto industry, including those working second and even third shifts in Toledo and Lordstown, President Obama was right and Mitt Romney was wrong.”
Added IO Communications Director Dale Butland:
“Like all Ohioans, we at IO are delighted that Ohio’s unemployment rate has dropped by 1.7% since John Kasich took office, and now stands at 7.3%, a full percentage point below the national average. But as a June 19 Akron Beacon Journal editorial points out, the jobless rate dropped nearly as much (1.6%) -and the economy grew even faster -in 2010 under the previous (and Democratic) Governor. So Ohio’s recovery actually began before Gov. Kasich took office, and the upward trajectory has merely continued under his administration.
“So let’s give credit where credit is due. Despite Gov. Kasich’s effort to downplay and marginalize it, President Obama’s auto rescue plan has played a huge role in Ohio’s economic recovery. Today, GM has replaced Toyota as, once again, the world’s Number One car manufacturer. And no amount of spin or revisionist history can change the fact that neither Gov. Romney nor Gov. Kasich supported President Obama’s successful auto rescue policy.”
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