Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Strickland rhetoric shows Ohio's GOP still waging 2010 campaign

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    Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland speaks at the Lucas County Public Library in Toledo in 2016.

    The Blade/Lori King
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Again with the 400,000 lost jobs.

Things must be getting desperate in GOP campaign-land.

Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine’s television ad campaign has gone back to a well that Republicans have dipped into successfully for eight years now.

We’ll find out on Nov. 6 whether that well, or aquifer if you prefer, has dried out.

The DeWine commercial shows a staged scene of depressed and discouraged-looking people standing in an unemployment line.

“Richard Cordray, if we put you back in office, then you’ll put us back in the unemployment line,” the depressed and discouraged-sounding female narrator says.

Another ad, titled “Shambles,” takes us back to Ohio 2010 and features pictures of deserted factories with headlines such as “Strickland-Cordray $800 million tax increase.”

Read more by Tom Troy

Mr. Cordray, who was Ohio attorney general at the time, had nothing to do with the national recession that landed on Ohio like a bomb.

Really, neither did then-Gov. Ted Strickland.

Nor did the two of them push through $800 million in tax increases.

Yet the ad says, “That was the Strickland-Cordray era — crushing taxes, massive job losses.”

Those supposedly crushing taxes were already existing tax rates that were undergoing a five-year phased-in cut. Mr. Strickland kept in place the taxes for the fifth-year cut, in 2010.

“Now Richard Cordray is back — the same failed policies — billions in reckless spending,” the “Shambles” ad says.

It’s amazing the amount of power the Ohio attorney general had during this two years in office (he succeeded an attorney general who resigned under a cloud of scandal).

Mr. Cordray has stated over and over that he has no plans to raise taxes if he is elected. His TV ad says “no new taxes.”

The only thing he left out was “read my lips.”

The only evidence for the GOP claims of a Strickland-Cordray “plan” is a still shot of Mr. Strickland campaigning with Mr. Cordray, presumably back in 2010, when they were both on the ballot seeking re-election.

The ad ends, “Don’t let Richard Cordray do it again.”

Ohio was devastated by the Great Recession that officially started in 2008. Ohio, with its manufacturing economy, lost more jobs than most.

During Governor Strickland’s tenure, employment plummeted by more than 400,000 jobs. During his final year, 2010, those jobs started to rebound.

Average monthly employment in Ohio in 2006 was 5,436,000 jobs. As of the end of 2010, Mr. Strickland’s last year, employment was down to 5,035,000, a reduction of 7 percent.

However, employment rose almost every month the rest of that same year, as the economy began to revive from the Great Recession. (Interestingly, the 2010 employment growth in Ohio occurred in the same year as the crushing taxes remained in effect. Also interesting: Ohio lost total jobs in three of the four years in which income taxes were cut.)

Republican Gov. John Kasich claimed the political credit as the job revival continued to an average of 5,107,000 jobs for his first year in office, 2011, until 5,529,000 jobs for 2017, a gain of 10 percent from 2010. (In that same period, according to seasonally adjusted employment statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor, total employment in the U.S. grew by 12 percent).

To believe the Republican version of this story, Ohio’s job losses would have had to continue through the end of 2010 and not rebounded until after Mr. Kasich took office in 2011.

That’s not what happened, but you won’t see that in any GOP ads. The truth isn’t as useful to the GOP re-election machine.

If Mr. Cordray wanted to steer clear of being linked to the 2010 Strickland 400,000 lost jobs meme, however, he could have been more careful in addressing the issue of taxes.

Some might have gained the impression that Mr. Cordray would raise taxes if he could.

He has promised things that cost money, such as public transit, pre-kindergarten education, and restoring local government funds. Republicans, looking to make his program look as bad as possible, have priced it at $4 billion. Mr. Cordray has said he would use existing revenues and didn’t rule out tapping the $2.7 billion rainy day fund.

In any case, Mr. Cordray won’t have power to enact new taxes.

Republicans control so many votes in both chambers of the General Assembly that he may not even have the power to veto new tax cuts, if that’s what Republicans try to do.

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