Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yes - it IS just us...

In the Toledo and Northwest Ohio area, the economy isn't so good. It's not as bad as it's been in the past, but it certainly isn't where it could - or should - be.

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.

3 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

Perhaps we should be flattered, as Toledo appears to be the test case from which the rest of the nation can learn.

Maybe some mad social scientist decided to combine the socialist redistribution agenda that universities teach with another liberal government bent on wealth redistribution, and add just a touch of union influence in a closed shop state (OK, a healthy dose) to prop all of this up; and see what happened. Now we know. While the national economy is in a danger zone, we who are on the cutting edge of a societal evolution towards egalitarianism are riding an economic downward spiral that has a rather distinctive flushing sound.

Perhaps this scientist can now pack up his mazes, write his papers, and maybe go on a national speaking tour. We have proved that this premise simply doesn't work.

Carol said...

Maggie,

It is amazing that while other parts of the state are not seeing the level of decline that we are experiencing, even the surrounding counties don't appear to be in as big a hole as we are. Wood County seems to be flourishing.

Some of my conversations with commercial real estate brokers that deal with Wood County have shown me that our neighbor to the south certainly has a solid grip on what economic development is supposed to be. Complete with ease of applications, cooperative government offices, and a true "We want to help" attitude.

It's disheartening to realize that Toledo is so intent on padding its' own ego that the powers that be cannot bring themselves to be open to change, learn to compromise, learn to accommodate, and most of all - learn to stay out of the way!!

Business only wants to do business in areas that are supportive. Not areas that consistently interfere and toss roadblocks in the path.

Will Toledo ever learn? I have my doubts at this point. And that's sad because Toledo has so many natural assets that go by the wayside because of governmental interference.

Hooda Thunkit said...

"So if the poor economy is a localized issue, is it really "all Bush's fault"?"

As much as I'd love to blame it all on Bush I think that we can find more likely suspects both locally and at the state level, with just a dab reserved for that Illustrious Washington RHINO. . .

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