Another claim of Issue 2 opponents is that Ohio under Kasich “continues to lose jobs.” Wrong again. The state gained seasonally adjusted jobs in every month from January through August — 84,000 in total — before preliminarily (and, in my view, a bit suspiciously) losing over 21,000 in September.
The opponents’ most underhanded tactic occurred early this year as SB5 was under consideration. Union leaders at schools and other organized workplaces, taking great care not to leave any tracks, quietly told teachers and others that the law’s passage would reduce their pay by 40%-50%. Though there is no credible basis whatsoever for this claim, many public employees who might ordinarily be receptive to supporting Issue 2′s reforms believed the lie and have become impervious to any attempt at rational discussion.
Issue 2 is so obviously superior to business as usual that most of Ohio’s newspapers, which on the whole lean decidedly left, have endorsed it. Some of those endorsements have raised possibly reasonable points that the law may in certain instances go too far. Kasich himself considered that possibility, and in August invited public-sector union leaders to discuss what might be done to adjust it. Union leaders wouldn’t meet without SB5 first being repealed. The meeting never happened. Labor’s intransigence has become so alarming that two prominent Democrats, Toledo’s current mayor and a now-former Cincinnati City Council member, are among Issue 2′s most ardent proponents.
The twisted definition of “negotiation” just described explains why other public-sector union-dominated states are in so much trouble. In Illinois, out-of-control state employee wages and perks are virtually untouchable, while vendors and Medicaid providers wait months to get paid. Decades of public-sector union dominance have taken Rhode Island to the point where “ten cents of every state tax dollar now goes to retired public workers.” Connecticut’s state debt per capita of over $5,400 is the highest in the nation. All three states tried to solve their fiscal problems with tax increases, which have predictably solved nothing.
Obama’s stake in Issue 2′s failure is clear. Continuing the unsustainable status quo helps keep Democratic campaign coffers full. Additionally, states whose situations become incurable will run to Washington for bailouts, which will create opportunities for even stronger federal control.
Supposed friends in the Republican Party haven’t always been helpful. On Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt “Flip-Flop” Romney, visiting — of all places — a get-out-the-vote phone bank, wouldn’t commit to supporting Issue 2. On Wednesday, he flipped back to “110% support,” which of course won’t fully repair the damage. Naturally, Team Obama pounced.
Polls show Issue 2 trailing, which is not at all surprising or even necessarily troubling. Ohio’s issue-related polls have a history of serious inaccuracy favoring the leftist position. Six years ago, two George Soros-driven “reform” proposals were ahead in two statewide polls just before Election Day by an average of 28 points. They lost by an average of 31. On Thursday, a leaked memo from Issue 2′s opponents, as interpreted by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, suggested that “the fight could still go either way.”
As usual, it will all come down to who gets their supporters to the polls. I would encourage readers, even those from outside the Buckeye State, to contact their center-right friends, relatives, and acquaintances and ask them to be sure they vote. The financial viability and competitiveness of Ohio, and the ability of other states to address their own fiscal quagmires, both likely hang in the balance.