Sunday's signed Blade editorial by David Kushma is a rant. I'm all for a good rant, as readers of this blog will attest; and I'm glad he's doing it on the editorial page instead of disguising it as an actual story in the news section of the paper.
But the hypocrisy is beyond me.
Kushma doesn't like what Gov. John Kasich is doing, calling it a 'revolution.' President Barack Obama has embarked upon a similar 'revolution,' but on a national basis with everything from dictating where businesses can relocate (National Labor Relations Board versus Boeing), to mandating that citizens purchase a product whether they want it or not (Obamacare), to spending billions in a failed stimulus that was supposed to - but didn't - reduce our unemployment rate to below 8%, to his radical agenda transforming us into a copy of socialistic Europe.
These are radical departures from our American way of life - the life that our founders intended when they formed this nation based upon individual liberty, personal responsibility and a limited federal government.
Certainly, if Obama's policies and goals are acceptable, then Kasich executing a similar type of change is okay as well?
Apparently not, however, since the paper's political leaning is vastly to the left. No wonder they conclude that a leftist revolution is fine and good, while a conservative one is somehow 'evil' and must be condemned.
Of course, we have the last four years of former Gov. Ted Strickland's policies - many similar to Obama's in terms of philosophy - that left Ohio and its citizens worse off. Common sense tells you that continuing those failed policies will just lead to more failure. In fact, much of the deficit the state faced this year was because Strickland used one-time stimulus dollars to balance the previous budget, leaving us scrambling now that those one-time funds are gone. Then Auditor Mary Taylor warned this was exactly the outcome we could expect - and she was right.
Kushma mimics the Democrat's talking points on the budget but never tells you that Kasich and the state legislature passed a balanced budget, addressing an $8 billion shortfall without raising taxes. As Chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) said, “This is how an effective, responsible government should operate.”
Would Kushma rather that the state increased taxes on citizens - most of whom can lease afford it during these (or any other) economic conditions? That's the choice that faced our elected officials in Columbus: cut government spending or raise taxes to cover the deficit. I, for one, am glad my taxes didn't get raised, but if Kushma doesn't think he's paying enough in taxes, he can always make a contribution to the state.
In the editorial, Kushma claims the budget slashes aid to, among other recipients, schools. That's not accurate, as one press release following passage of the budget explained:
Moreover, the budget adds more than $100 million in additional dollars over the executive version to the school foundation formula and guarantees that no district receives a cut in state aid.
The Legislature also expanded the value of and the eligible participants in the Cleveland Voucher Program to make education more affordable and to untie the hands of low-income families. The budget also increases the number of EdChoice Scholarship Program vouchers to 14,000 to 60,000 in fiscal year 2013 and increases the charter school sponsorship cap to 100.
“When the State of Ohio brought in increased revenue, we decided to invest those dollars in Ohio’s schools and give them an additional boost in their state aid,” said Vice-chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee John Carey (R-Wellston). “Through this budget, we continue to capitalize on the opportunities before us and invest in the things that matter. At this time, we believe that our schools need the additional dollars so we can ensure that Ohio’s students receive a quality education, even during this difficult economy.”
He claims that cutting state aid to local governmental entities will result in tax increases on a local level. That is one possibility. But the other possibility is that those local governmental entities either cut spending or ask for, and are denied, tax increases also resulting in spending cuts so that government lives within its current means without constantly expecting more. As the editorial states:
Mr. Kasich insists that his strong medicine will force local governments to become more efficient, share services, and merge.
What a novel idea! In fact, in direct contradiction to Kushma's expected result, he quotes local Democrat County Commissioner Pete Gerken:
“They’re transferring the debt from Columbus back to Toledo.” He laughs and quickly adds, in old-time pol argot: “I ain’t raisin’ no taxes.”
See? Kasich is right.
Kushma then claims that SB 5, the collective bargaining reform which was passed and may end up as a referendum on the ballot in November, "...would effectively strip 350,000 public employees of many of their rights to bargain at all."
This isn't exactly accurate, either. SB 5 will limit what public sector unions can bargain for, that is true. But it doesn't strip any union of their 'right to bargain at all.' Words matter.
And why did the governor and legislature pass this bill? To save the state - and local governmental entities - money. But note the hypocrisy of the editor of a newspaper, who has threatened to lay off its employees if they don't get their desired $8.8 million in cuts from their own union, complaining because the state has given governmental entities the ability to get similar costs savings from public unions.
Perhaps Kushma is more upset with some of the other conservative positions the governor has taken because he has a list of them in the editorial. He seems to think none of these policies have anything to do with jobs or the economic climate of the state.
He doesn't like the fact that local businesses may be able to take more water from Lake Erie. Hmmm... In a desperate economy, giving businesses access to a resource they need to be successful seems like a good idea. And with limited water availability in other parts of the nation, perhaps this decision could be used as leverage to bring companies into the state?!? Local leaders have long touted the access to fresh water as an upcoming economic development tool. Why would this be a bad thing?
This same logic can be applied to drilling on public lands. So if we can reduce our energy costs by drilling (using the most current environmentally-friendly processes), won't that help our business and economic climate?
Kushma doesn't like expanded conceal carry laws. He thinks this is a bad idea, especially as Toledo deals with an increase of gun violence. News flash to Mr. Kushma: the recent gun violence is being committed by people who have illegally obtained their guns - not by law-abiding citizens interested in exercising their Second Amendment rights. I'll bet dollars to donuts (I love that phrase) that none of the recent gun violence in Toledo is being committed by people who have a conceal carry permit!
He doesn't like the plan, NOT included in the recent election law reform bill, to require a photo ID when voting. Again, mimicking the Democrat talking points, he says that will "disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, many of them poor and old." Yeah - right. Allowing people who cannot afford it to obtain a free state identification card if they don't already have a photo ID is going to 'disenfranchise hundreds of thousands.'
Furthermore, is Kushma, like the Democrats, so filled with disdain for 'poor and elderly' voters that he believes they are incapable of complying with a photo ID requirement? How does he think they function in the world?
He also doesn't like any restrictions on the right of a woman to kill her unborn child. The Heartbill Bill, as it's being called, would prohibit doctors from performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Much of the abortion debate over the years has centered around when life begins. This bill would define 'life' as when there is a heartbeat. Kushma thinks this is an "extremist" position - but he sees nothing 'extreme' in ending an innocent life.
Kushma does like some of the things Kasich is doing, but rails against 'gerrymandering' when it comes to redrawing legislative and congressional districts. Sadly, I don't believe he'd have such a concern if it was the Democrats doing the exact same thing if they were in control of the process.
He concludes with this:
I can’t believe that the Ohio the governor and Republican lawmakers envision is a state where most of us want to live. But I could be wrong.
In fact, Mr. Kushma, you are wrong. Have you noticed that Ohio has lost population over the last several years, primarily a result of the failed policies of the past? Kasich campaigned upon the promise to make the state more attractive to businesses, rein in the spending and keep taxes low. He's doing what the majority of voters in the state elected him to do.
I have only three words for you and they aren't even my own. They were uttered by President Barack Obama three days after taking office:
Elections have consequences.