Quite often, people in this area think our local economy is reflective of the nation as a whole. I have pointed out numerous times on local blogs/forums and on my radio show, Eye On Toledo, that we are a strange anomaly when it comes to economy. Today's Blade article on area incomes proves my point.
According to Census figures for 2000-2006, the per capita incomes in Toledo have increased $4,441, or 16%, to $32,209. That's not a bad increase, as it averages 2.6% per year. However, the figures for the nation are much better, increasing $7,869, or 27%, to $36,714.
So the nation, as a whole, is doing so much better than our area. And why is that? The loss of automotive manufacturing jobs and high unemployment are partly to blame, according to the article.
Overall, the local area's per-capita growth has been stunted, more so than that nationwide, experts said. Also contributing is the relatively high unemployment rate for Toledo, averaging above 7 percent for the six-year period.
"Ohio has lost a lot of jobs, and Toledo is part of that," said George Morkzan, a chief economist at Huntington Bank, Columbus. "That's the biggest issue."
So if the poor economy is a localized issue, is it really "all Bush's fault"? Or is it a reflection of our local political environment and governmental policies???
My belief is that a local economy is more a result of local decisions, as these Census numbers clearly indicate. If Toledo is ever to solve the problems of high unemployment, loss of jobs, loss of population and general decline, we have to do more than just change the faces of our elected officials. We have to change the overall philosophy, moving from a 'government is the solution so more taxes are needed to fund government operations' perspective - to one of lower taxation, a focus on essential (mandated) services, and a true business-friendly environment (which doesn't mean taking over the operations of private businesses in order to generate more income for government).
Sadly, I don't see this change occurring. We're too busy repeating the failures of the past to actually learn from them.