Government Spending

If Ohio is Really "The Heart of It All," Boy Do We Got Problems…


Given that this is the release week of Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey at, it's worth thinking a bit more about the larger situation in Ohio, whose license plates once boasted that the Buckeye State was "the heart of it all."

Here's word from the Buckeye Institute, an excellent free-market think tank in Columbus, on "the state of the state." The snippet view:

In nineteen years, Ohio's job market only created a net 176,100 new jobs, or just over 9,000 jobs per year. That weak job growth means limited opportunities for you, your family, and your friends. Limited opportunity makes it hard for you to get ahead and attain the American Dream.

As the job market weakened, the taxes and fees you pay to government at all levels rose making your state and local tax burden the 7th highest in the United States. The tax climate for businesses in Ohio is the 47th worst in America.

One of the drivers of our high tax burden is the ever-increasing gold-plated compensation of government workers in Ohio. In the same period of time that Ohio only added 176,100 private-sector jobs, it added 75,100 government jobs.

Today, federal workers in Ohio make significantly more than their private-sector neighbors in 87 out of 88 counties; state workers make much more than their private-sector neighbors in 85 out of 88 counties; and local workers make more than their private-sector neighbors in 57 out of 88 counties.

Read more here.

And what about Cleveland, the star of our series and "the most miserable city" in America according to Forbes?

The greater Cleveland area economy is suffering, although it is faring better than average compared to rural Ohio. Cuyahoga County leads the state in population loss with nearly an 8 percent decrease in citizens since 2000. While some of this loss can be attributed to people moving to the suburbs, the decline in jobs is the driving force in the population loss. Between 2000 and 2008, total employment in Cuyahoga County dropped by over 83,000, with the private sector losing over 11 percent of its jobs.

Even though Cuyahoga County's surrounding counties all experienced slight population growth, three of the six counties lost private-sector jobs (Lake County, Portage County, and Lorain County). Surprisingly, however, the number of government jobs increased for all of Cuyahoga County's surrounding counties.

The cost of government in the Cleveland area is hindering the region from economic growth. As previously mentioned, the government is creating more jobs, which are funded by the taxpayers. In Portage County, government sector jobs increased 11.2 percent while private-sector jobs decreased by 2.7 percent between 2000 and 2008. In all seven Cleveland-area counties, average government employees at the federal, state, and local levels all earn more wages than that of the average private-sector worker. For example, the average private-sector worker in Lorain County making $35,647.04 must support the average federal government employee making $97,884.80 per year.

Read more here.

I read recently that in the '00s, the only state with worse job creation than Ohio was Michigan, which sounds about right. If these two former midwestern tigers are the leading edge of American economic developments, well, it was nice knowing you all. Don't bother turning out the lights, they'll run down by themselves.

NEXT: Serve the Servants, Especially When They Have Server Issues

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  1. Progressives assure me that big government, high taxes, high regulation big public service union membership and high overall union membership is the path to justice and prosperity. Just ignore the fact that every place that tries that formula goes bankrupt and ends up looking like pre-invasion Baghdad. They assure me they will get it right just as soon as they get enough power nationwide.

  2. Wow, this is like the coolest thing ever dude. I like it. I mean like WOW>


  3. Ohio is not “the heart of it all” anymore. It’s the “birthplace of aviation,” or as I like to call it, the “place where people were born before moving someplace else and accomplishing something meaningful.”

    1. They went to Kitty Hawk because it had more wind and were at sea level. Congratulations on it being near an ocean. The Brothers developed most everything in their Dayton shop.

  4. Oh, Ohio. It breaks my heart to see you so.

  5. Thanks for rubbing it in Nick!

  6. I went back to Ohio, but my city was gone.

    1. In a past, more sensitive, life, I allowed myself to be dragged to Crissy Hynde’s vegan restaurant. NEVER AGAIN

      1. Poor Crissy. Mung bean sprouts destroyed her brain.

      2. At least back in the 90s, Rush Limbaugh used the baseline intro to that song as his lead in coming out of commercial. I used to laugh at the thought of how much his using it must have pissed off Hynde. I wonder if he still uses it.

        1. I don’t listen to him now but a couple of years ago he was playing Cheryl Crow.

        2. He still uses it – at least he did three months ago when I was in the United States (AND NOT STUCK WITH FUCKING AFN!!!)

        3. It didn’t piss her off. In an interview she gave, she was somewhat sanguine about his use of it. She took the view that getting her music out there was always a positive thing.

      3. Is it that bad? I find it kind of humorous that local House of Italian Gluttony, Luigi’s is right next door.

        1. It was tasty enough, but it suffered from the fact that it only serves appetizers. I don’t see what’s so hard about this: MEAT IS THE MAIN COURSE

          1. Yeah, I’m with you there. Is it totally vegan? Because, ya know, cheese. It rules.

            Ever have a “Luigi’s bowl of mozzarella with a little lettuce in the bottom”? Beautiful stuff.

            1. Completely vegan. Monstrous.

              I’ve never been down to Luigi’s. I’ll have to make the trip later, some time when I’m less fat.

              1. As Italian food goes, it sure ain’t gourmet. But it WILL satisfactorily thicken up the blood and the waistline. It’s cheap (and all-cash), open late, and full of Akron kitsch. Good place to take groups.

                Solid Italian-American artery-clogging food.

      4. She’s also a PETA-tard. Still, she made some damn good music in her time.

  7. The “47th worst in America” is the 4th best! Woo Hoo Ohio! Oh, wait, they mean the 47th best in America?

  8. This just means the government needs to work harder to fix Ohio. Ohio won’t fix itself, you know.

  9. I allowed myself to be dragged to Crissy Hynde’s vegan restaurant.

    Were they free range vegans? How did they taste?

    1. They tasted just like an eating disorder.

    2. Stringy and kind of gamy, would be my guess.

    3. No, no. They tasted like moral superiority.

      1. Smug has a taste? Does it need more tarragon?

        1. Smug is pure umami.

    4. We have a guy who comes up regularly for work who is a vegetarian (not for any political reasons). I pointed him to Crissy’s place. He was not overly enthusiastic, to put it mildly.

      On another note, her dad just died. They apparently had to go through all sorts of gymnastics to make sure a whole bunch of people didn’t crash the funeral or something. I’m not sure why they thought a bunch of middle-aged Akronites would go to her dad’s funeral just to see her, but whatever.

      1. Seriously. She has fallen to at least “grade-C” celebrity, if not further.

        1. She’s certainly no Devo.

      2. I was a vegetarian for 83 days back in 96 to appease my future bride and now ex-wife. A hurricane that took out the power for three days and an extra ham, salami and cheese sandwich in my brotherinlaw’s kitchen that was just sitting there going to waste if I didn’t eat it did the trick. It may have been the best thing that I had ever ate. It certainly felt like it at the time. Tears came to my eyes, and I said, ‘as God as my witness, I will nevah go vegetarian again.’

        1. Hey, you made it longer than Jimmy Buffett.

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  11. Back in 2005, Cleveland was rated as one of the “Most Livable Cities” in the US and 26th in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    Trust me, not all that much has changed in 5 years, so either Forbes or The Economist is bullshitting us. Or they both are and the truth is somewhere in the middle (as it always is).

    1. Those most livable ratings tend to judge cities by how affordable the housing is and how many liberal sacred cows like public transportation graze there. They generally have nothing to do with the overall economic health or viability of the place.

      1. Jesus, John…

      2. Right, Forbes and The Economist, bastions of liberalism.

        1. The reporters who write for them are. Go look at the lists if you don’t believe me.

          1. All right, John, then explain why the extremely liberal reporters for Forbes called a place with Dennis Fucking Kucinich, a behemoth bureaucracy and a whole boatload of lefty accouterments “The Most Miserable City in America”.

            Can you read something without your knee jerking, just once?

        2. Actually, The Economist drifted solidly into the Keyenesian camp a long time ago.

  12. Ohio is not only the birthplace of aviation, but also the birthplace of several of our most famous astronauts.

    Besides Orville and Wilbur, you have John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and several others bringing a total of 24 NASA astronauts all from Ohio. You could probably come up with several reasons why a state with 3% of the country’s population has such an overwhelming amount of astronauts, but I’m going to go with the fact that being an astronaut gave you the best chance to get the furthest away from Ohio as humanly possible.

    1. So you’re saying Ohio is so lame, people actually want to get off the planet to be as far from Ohio as possible?

    2. Reading Comprehension Failure. That’s exactly what you said. Putting down the keyboard and stepping away slowly now.

    3. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, but also 7 Presidents (8 if you count residents at time of election).

      1. Astronauts are a good thing; presidents are a bad thing.

        1. But, presidents lost in space, good thing.

  13. Poor Ohio. From a Kentuckian’s perspective, at least you are a 1000x better than Indiana.

    1. Don’t be catty. After all, Covington’s economy is based on providing strippers to Cincinnati. I can only assume the rest of the state exists for similar purposes.

      1. Covington also has their airport. Coming from the other side of the state, I’m always surprised at how much better Ohio is than Indiana. Does Indiana have Jungle Jim’s? Does Indiana have Mt. Airy disc golf course? Does Indiana have The Beast?

        1. oooo the Beast. Fond childhood memories of dying a horrible death due to flying off a rickety wooden rollercoaster whith bigs and dust in my teeth since the worst turn is right after the tunnel that I am sure they plant whole colonies of spiders in. The good old days. In other news Ohio does actually have the best roller coasters in the world IMO. Kings Island, Cedar Point, 3C highway. And sun alerts too…cause you never know when that pesky burning ball of gas in the sky will make an appearance.

          Overcast…all year.

          1. change bigs to bugs for better results.

          2. False. Though it’s an anomaly today (nice and sunny!), during the summer it’s often really sunny. The fact that NE Ohio is STILL the cloudiest place in the country despite having a lot of sun in the summer tells you quite a bit about the other three seasons.

        2. Oh, Jungle Jim’s. The only grocery store that kids beg to go to.

      2. Toothless strippers, at that.

        Warty, don’t forget the airport. How Cincinnati managed to sell Kentucky on having another state’s airport, I’ll never know. I sense they bribed them with meth and PBR.

    2. Yeah, but nobody cares about Indiana; it never had a heyday.

      1. No heyday? You’ve clearly never listened to any Johnny Cougar records, mister.

  14. Cleveland also spawned a pork loving Iron Chef.

  15. “If these two former midwestern tigers are the leading edge of American economic developments, well, it was nice knowing you all.”

    But, obviously, they aren’t the leading edge. They’re the declining edge, which is why they’re, you know, declining. The Great Lakes megaplex, based on monopoly positions in steel, autos, and auto parts (tires, etc.) has collapsed. If you want leading edge, go West, go South/Southeast, go Northeast. But don’t go Midwest (except maybe Chicago).

    1. Except when the Southwest and West run out of water, then, GREAT LAKES COMPACT, bitches!

      1. Beat me to it!

    2. They are leading the decline, Alan.

      Try to keep up.

  16. I’m a CPA here in Columbus – a quick anecdote:

    I have an Oncologist who just moved here from Florida and is thinking of going back. Why? Because of Ohio’s tax burden – State income tax (6.5%) City income tax (2.5%) School district income tax (1.0%) Real estate tax (approx 2-2.5% value of home) – all in all he pays about $60K more in taxes here then he paid down south. $60K makes a huge difference in his quality of life.

    1. But Columbus has way less old people than Florida. That’s gotta count for like, 10K right there.

      Also, last I checked, Columbus proper does not have a school tax…your friend must live in one o’ them white-flight enclaves that ring Columbus – AKA outside of 270.

      1. I was appalled by the state and city taxes when I lived in Columbus. One of the many reasons I moved back to Tampa, home of vampire presidential candidates.

      2. TAO, the reason Columbus doesn’t have old people (a least wealthy ones) is that they’re smart enough to take their overblown pensions to a low tax state.

        Actually, he lives in Bexley. An “old money” white enclave – but well inside 270.

    2. Yikes. I remember that Cincinnati had a city income tax, but it was admirably simple and limited. One year I had to contact them to ask whether some sort of income was covered, and was told that if I wasn’t already billed, it wasn’t covered. Basically, if they didn’t already know about the income, it wasn’t taxed!

      1. Even up here in the NE land of draconian government, most cities do it that way. Cleveland itself, on the other hand…

    3. A city income tax? Jesus christ.

      1. Jordan, I have a real estate developer who has nexus in about 18 different cities. Each of the cities have their own methodology of allocating income to their taxing district. The tax compliance needed basically doubles what I charge the developer for preparing his taxes.

  17. $60K makes a huge difference in his quality of life.

    *wipes tear from eye*

  18. New State Motto:

    “Ohio – Nothing to See Since 1803”

  19. And why doesn’t that license plate have the county number on it? Is that a recent thing?

    When I lived in west central OH a few yrs ago, my county (Putnam, pronounced “PutMan” by the natives) was 69….yeah, that’s still funny.

    1. That’s an older plate. They actually used to have a county name sticker you put in the lower center portion for that family of plates.

      1. I kept one of my motorcycle license plates when we moved…”69″…that never gets old

        1. I had a Florida plate (randomly generated) that had “I69” as the first three letters. I was very reluctant to stop using that plate.

          1. Get a vanity that reads I69BBY

        2. Putnam County, by the way, is evidently the drinkinest county in all of Ahia.

  20. Were all forgetting a very important point: Ohio’s marijuana laws. You can have up to 3/4 of a pound of marijuana, and it’s a $100 fine for possession. (Just make sure you don’t subdivide it for any reason.)

    That has to count for something.

    1. It’s probably why you still have an NBA team.

  21. I want the old sunburst plates back. We went from hideous red-white-and-blue plates to the vomit-inducing child-art of the governor’s wife.

    If John Kasich said he’d get rid of those plates, I would vote Republican for the first time in my life.

    1. TAO:

      Not to mention the new drivers licenses… I have to get one of those red abominations soon.


  22. Yeah I figure anywhere I move in the US is going to look like Ohio in 10 years so I don’t bother.

    About the one thing going for Ohio is the verging on Third World cost of living. Houses for peanuts buy them by the block. Not even in a hood where you’ll get shot. If you can manage to be employed it’s quite easy to live large.

  23. Fascinating how people are anxious to blame all problems actually caused by big business and conservatives (loss of manufacturing base to cheaper environments) on liberals. Utterly fascinating.

    1. Ray? We’re blaming the complete inability to even remotely “come back” form the problems caused by a cozy relationship between corporations and government (which, as you might well deny, is a problem independent of which team you root for).

      And are you seriously saying that raising the costs of doing business to the point of a company exiting for cheaper lands is something that “liberal” policy (via regulations and taxes) is NOT responsible for?

    2. Ray? We’re blaming the complete inability to even remotely “come back” from the problems caused by a cozy relationship between corporations and government (which, as you might well deny, is a problem independent of which team you root for).

      And are you seriously saying that raising the costs of doing business to the point of a company exiting for cheaper lands is something that “liberal” policy (via regulations and taxes) is NOT responsible for?

    3. Damn squirrels!

      1. Tat’s OK, you have to repeat everything to have any hope of getting through to simpletons like that.

    4. Those damn conservatives, always raising taxes and increasing regulations! And big business, always pushing for higher union pay and benefits! If only the liberals had been in charge, Midwest manufacturers would have been able to compete with China!

  24. Ohio may not be the Heart of it all,Job wise,I agree,really the whole country isnt the heart of it all either,Ohio has more Heart of it alls,Use your braimns and look,Stopping knocking us on our state,Its not a bad place to live,People help each other here alot of them do and care deeply

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