Here is what Jared Bernstein, chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, ignores in “The Myth of Idle Recovery Dollars”: Ohio’s private sector suffers from systemic structural problems that no amount of money spent on overcompensated government workers (see our report “The Grand Bargain is Dead”) or temporary union construction jobs will fix. Only the dead-enders in the White House, Paul Krugman, and a liberal/progressive 20 percent of Americans believe the Keynesian stimulus package has been a success. They should all take a minute to read Lou Cannon’s President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime to learn what a successful recovery package looks like.
Ohio is in bad shape. Of the ten years from 2000 to 2009, our state lost jobs in eight of them. In March 2000, Ohio reached a peak of 4,852,400 non-farm, non-government jobs. The valley of job losses hit 640,500 in February 2010, when Ohio had 4,211,900 jobs. From January 1990 to today, Ohio netted just 127,500 private-sector jobs. If Ohio’s job engine achieves the output it averaged during the eight “boom” years of the 1990s, it would take 77 months — October 2016 — to gain back the jobs lost. More realistically, if Ohio gains jobs at the average pace of all positive growth years from 1990 to 2010, it would take 102 months — November 2018 — to fully recover from this economic mess.
So the White House can continue selling its story on “jobs saved or created” to the dwindling number of Ohioans who will listen. I’d rather see them stop bashing the private sector, step back from the push for more programs and taxes that is creating uncertainty, and let the private sector get back to what it does best: producing goods and services at the lowest cost and adding real, measurable jobs and prosperity along the way.
– Matt A. Mayer is president of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions in Columbus, Ohio.