President Obama visited Columbus yesterday to promote jobs created by the “stimulus” bill — in this case, the 10,000th road project paid for with “stimulus” funds. He has visited the Buckeye State frequently in recent months. There are two apparent reasons for his visits, I think. First, Ohio is a “swing” state, and I am sure he wants to try to maintain his popularity and visibility here. Second, Ohio obviously is one of the states that has been hit hard by the recession, and I expect the President wants to make the case that his economic policies are having a positive impact.
It is a hard sell — although somewhat easier in Columbus than in northern Ohio. President Obama and Governor Strickland noted that the state’s unemployment rate declined last month, and there are signs of job creation, but the fact is that Ohio’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly over 10 percent, the housing market is depressed, banks don’t seem to be lending, and there are no readily apparent signs of any kind of broad “recovery.” For every “stimulus” project, there seems to be a corresponding bit of bad economic news in the form of layoffs or a jump in home foreclosures. The northern part of the state has been especially hard hit.
I am sure the President’s visits are a good move politically, but in reality there is not a lot of good economic news to celebrate — in the Buckeye State or elsewhere in the country.