Republicans officially take over House leadership today after campaigns promising job creation and a check on the expanding reach of the federal government. In states like Ohio and Wisconsin, new Governors took office after campaigning on these populist coattails and have provided an early peek into just how successful the Republican platform will be at creating jobs. The early indicators suggest the platform is a colossal failure.
On the campaign trail now-Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) promised to help the private sector create jobs by helping “meet the needs of businesses to overcome governmental snafus.” His first order of business to fulfill that campaign pledge was to kill Ohio’s high-speed rail project. The project was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and according to Kasich “one of the dumbest ideas” he’s ever heard.
Now that the project is dead, so are many private-sector economic development plans that were hoping and planning on the project moving forward. And along with the death of those development plans is the loss of badly-needed jobs for Ohio.
The decision is so unpopular, particularly in the private sector, that the president and chief executive officer of the Columbus-based US Railcar Co. has called it “mind-boggling.” Had the project moved forward, then, at a minimum, one bit of ancillary development would have led to the creation of 200 full-time permanent new jobs. Another Cleveland developer, Forest City Enterprises, was planning projects that would create $180 million of taxable property. The city of Dayton anticipated around $250 million worth of downtown development around the rail station.
Many have rightly compared the high speed passenger lines to the creation of the interstate highway program from the 1960s. What states like Ohio and Wisconsin have essentially done is to opt-out of this expansion, and in doing so, turned down approximately $400 to $800 million in free money from the federal government to create the lines.
So, here’s what we can expect from Republican leadership–job killing in the private sector and efforts at keeping our nations infrastructure in near collapse. At what point will voters buyers-remorse set in? Lets hope soon, for all our sakes.
photo courtesy of LWY via Flickr