Sunday, September 21, 2008

Way To Go, Ohio

In the words of Chrissy Hynde of The Pretenders: Hey, ho, way to go, Ohio.

The Ohio jobless rate continues to spiral upward, to 7.4% in August. That's the highest rate in sixteen years. 445,000 of our neighbors are out of work. 106,000 of them joined the ranks just in the past twelve months.

Where are the job losses most acute? Manufacturing, again. Cars, refrigerators, and other durable goods just aren't needed as much as they were when, you know, we all had jobs and disposable income.

George Zeller, an alleged economic research analyst based in Cleveland, seems to be wishing upon a star when he plainfully laments, "It would certainly help if we get a recovery in the auto industry."

Perhaps it's time for George and the rest of us to stop wishing for a return to the glory days, and start fielding some useful ideas on building our future.
The auto industry is going to continue to pare down in order to survive. Any industry that revolves around fossil fuel products will eventually circle the drain unless they adapt and overcome.

It's time for Ohio leadership in business, education, and government to step up with their plan on how we're going to retrain, retool, and rededicate the resources of this state to prepare for the next economy.

It's past time for Ohio citizens to get off their collective asses and embrace the concept of lifetime learning, understanding that the days when you could learn one thing and ride that bus to retirement are long gone.

And it's about damn time we offered tax incentives for companies and technology groups that bring their future-looking business models to Ohio, where they should be graded yearly by the number of jobs they create (and retain) and how much they grow their business in the process. They should lose their special tax status when they don't hit those targets.

It's time for Ohio, and everyone here, to execute. No more promises. No more rhetoric. Let's get it done.

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