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According to an Associated Press story, more Ohioans than ever are on food stamps, nearly one in ten.
Amid a sluggish economy, a record 1.1 million Ohioans are getting food stamps, the state’s welfare agency said. That’s about 10 percent of the state’s population.
Caseloads have almost doubled since 2001, when an estimated 628,000 people were in the program, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Low wages, unemployment and more expensive groceries, gasoline and other necessities have contributed to financial hardships facing many families. Ohio’s jobless rate is 5.3 percent, up from 4.4 percent in 2001.
I would say the lack of good jobs is far and away the number one reason for this situation, with all the other cited reasons running second. This begs the question, why does Ohio lack good jobs ? The entire country was hit with the loss of manufacturing jobs, but other states have recovered much better than Ohio. Why ? One big reason is that Ohio has one of the worst business environments in the entire country. According to The Tax Foundation's rankings, Ohio has the 5th highest state/local tax burdens in the country, and is ranked 46th out of 50 for it's business tax climate. Ohio had one of the lowest tax burdens in the 1970's, and now has one of the highest. Former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who is campaigning for John McCain, put it this way:
"John McCain knows as I know...that capital seeks the path of least resistance and greatest opportunity. Ohio's regulatory environment, it's tax climate, and the general cost of doing business is non-competitive, and as a consequence we're losing capital and losing jobs."
Blackwell was also highly critical of his own Republican party under former Republican governor Bob 'good riddance' Taft. Blackwell complained that "Ohio Republicans...campaigned like Ronald Reagan and then governed like Jimmy Carter". Amen to that. The same thing happened at the national level under Dubya. Blackwell, one of the few real conservatives in Ohio, lost his bid for the Ohio governorship to Democrat Ted Strickland by 24 points in 2006.
So, now that the Democrats control the statehouse, what does Strickland plan to do to help Ohio ? Has Strickland seen the light about Ohio's onerous tax burden that inhibits the creation of new jobs ?
No such luck, Ohio. His first budget did nothing to address the situation.
The news gets worse. The USA has nearly the highest corporate tax rates in the world, so the business environment is already unfriendly. When you add Ohio's unfriendly business environment on top of that, we have sort of the perfect storm of business unfriendliness right here in the Buckeye state. We are the worst of the worst. No wonder jobs aren't being created. No wonder the rust belt keeps rusting. On top of that, add high energy costs due to our climate. I mean, what's so hard to figure out here ?
When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama blew through town talking about renegotiating NAFTA (and forgot all about it as soon as they left), that was the red herring. The problem isn't NAFTA. Globalization isn't going away. Free trade isn't going away. You might as well wish for the return of the horse and carriage (okay, bad example. That one might make a comeback the way things are going.) Instead of fighting globalization, we have to adapt to it. First, we have to stop treating business and free enterprise like it's the enemy (that's you, left wingers). Second, here's my crazy idea, and somebody tell me why it wouldn't work to immediately transform the business climate from unfriendly to super-friendly, and those job losses into job gains:
We stop taxing business. Completely.
For you liberals out there, c'mon, think outside the box. The purpose of our country isn't to accrue money to the government, it's to create conditions for the prosperity of our citizens. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness gets much more difficult without a decent income.
And it beats food stamps.
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