Turnpike Turnoff

As you would expect from the party out of office, the Ohio Democratic Party opposes just about everything proposed by Republican Governor John Kasich.  The Democrats have had some victories — but I still think they need to learn how to pick their battles.

The latest howls of outrage are directed at the decision to study possibly privatizing the Ohio Turnpike.  Is the opposition due to the fact that Ohio taxpayers will be paying more consultants to produce more studies?  No, of course not!  According to an email from Liz Walter, the Political Director of the Ohio Democratic Party, the problem is that privatization might cost public employee jobs.  Her email statest:  “Over a thousand employees – many of them union workers – could lose their jobs if he’s successful. That’s why our Congressional Democrats are doing everything they can to stand up for these workers and stop Governor Kasich’s latest assault on our middle class.”

So, any “loss” of a public employee job — even a conversion of a public employee job to a private sector job — is an “assault on the middle class”?  Doesn’t anyone in the Democratic Party realize how ludicrous that sounds?  If that attitude had prevailed throughout American history, we would still have flatboat operators and Erie Canal mule drivers on the public payroll.  If Ohio is to be competitive in the dynamic modern world, we can’t be saddled with the cost of paying workers to fill unnecessary legacy jobs.

I don’t think the Turnpike is some grand asset that we need to keep under government control as a matter of Ohio pride.  If privatizing a toll road through northern Ohio makes sense from an economic standpoint, we should do it.  Conditions change, and if those changed conditions result in the elimination of government jobs, so be it.

 

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