Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where the candidates stand

Today's paper has an article about where the two presidential candidates stand on various employment/free trade issues.

For the most part, it's a more balanced article than what we've seen in the last few days from the paper, but I must question why claims by unions get so much attention.

"Unions claim this - unions say that..."

Everyone knows that when it comes to presidential campaigns, unions are almost the same as the Democrat Party - so why would a union claim about Sen. John McCain's position be a matter of discussion that the McCain campaign needs to respond to?

Did the paper not have any questions of their own to ask about the policies and philosophy of the candidate?

And what about claims from the business community that Obama's tax plans and spending would have a detrimental impact on jobs and the economy? What about the claims from exporters that NAFTA has actually helped them increase their businesses and hire workers? Only the claims of the unions are brought up as the basis for the discussion.

I commend the author for providing balance in the answers, but all of us should question the basic premise of the article: that Democrat-dominated union claims about Republican policies being solely to blame for the economic condition of Ohio and Toledo are somehow valid, while ignoring the Democrat-dominated local government that, despite state and national economies, always has us ranked among the worst.

Toledo's economy, regardless of political party of the president or the governor, constantly ranks among the worst in the state. We traditionally have the highest unemployment of all the urban counties in Ohio - and we have held this distinction for about 20 years. That is not the fault of the president - nor even the governor - no matter whether they are R's or D's.

That's the fault of the local decisions that are anti-business, 'not business friendly,' embrace taxation and spending, and encourage dependency on government. It's also the fault of the complaining unions (most but not all) who push for more and more from their employers (including government) regardless of the market's ability to support such things - and then who blame elected officials for not 'protecting' them from competition. And it's also the fault of the voters who think that doing the exact same thing and electing the exact same philosophies that got us into this mess will somehow result in a different outcome.

In every society, free markets (truly 'free' markets) are the catalyst for success. Even today, as many Democrat elected officials are calling for higher taxes, other nations are moving away from such stifling economic approaches and lowering their corporate tax rates. But the solution being offered by Obama is to force higher taxation upon businesses and individuals - and then redistribute those funds to individuals who are 'more deserving.'

I find it funny and rather hypocritical that the same politicians who so readily embrace and want to duplicate the socialist medical programs of other countries vigorously reject the tax policies that are proving so successful in other countries.

Side note: In their 'special report' on Sunday, our paper tried to make the case that Ohio has suffered under the last eight years of Republican leadership in the White House. They don't come right out and say it, but the message, to any paying attention, is clear - as it is in most of their agenda-driven 'news' stories.

What might have been missed was this note, explaining their sources for the date used to justify the article:

"...and Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit policy research organization that tracks economic policy in Ohio."

Now, just for reference, I went back through the archives to see how the Buckeye Institute was described in Blade stories. In the 15 most recent articles done by the paper (not letters to the editors), the Buckeye Institute is described as either 'conservative,' or 'free-market.'

So why didn't they identify Policy Matters Ohio as a union think tank (8 of their 13 board members is/was in a union or represented unions in their jobs)? Why don't they identify it as a liberal/progressive think tank that is focused on 'fairness' of outcome rather than equality of opportunity?

If they need to identify the philosophy of the 'conservative' or 'free-market' think tank, shouldn't they also identify the philosophy of 'liberal' or 'socialist' think tanks?

Yes, these questions are rhetorical. But you need to know they slant the stories by the descriptors they use - so you can better judge the reliability and objectivity of the information they present.

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