Governor John Kasich attacked far-left ProgressOhio and the libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Law as “nihilists” who will “have to answer to a much higher power” for their opposition to JobsOhio.
JobsOhio is a signature economic program for Kasich, a Republican, but its secretive processes have been targeted by ProgressOhio and its spending approach has been referred to as “Obama-like.”
Video of the governor’s January 31 remarks is courtesy of Marc Kovac at Ohio Capital Blog.
Asked by a reporter about the sale of JobsOhio bonds at a relatively high interest rate, Governor Kasich replied, “How do you know it’s a higher interest rate? Cause somebody who’s a nihilist that wants to destroy economic development in Ohio says it?”
After briefly dissembling on the topic of bond interest rates, Kasich railed against ProgressOhio’s JobsOhio lawsuit. 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson has described the recognition of ProgressOhio’s standing in the case as necessary for enforcing the Ohio Constitution, and has filed a brief supporting ProgressOhio’s appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
“This is not about constitutionality – this is about wrecking Ohio’s economy and destroying people’s jobs,” Kasich said. “That’s what this lawsuit is about – there’s no legitimacy to this. Constitutional issue? Come on! That’s a political issue designed to wreck the progress that we’re having in Ohio.”
“These are people who are gonna have to answer to a much higher power than me about why they have appealed and appealed and appealed,” the governor said. “This court just threw four of their issues out, there’s only one left standing, and there have been two courts – independent courts – that have ruled that way.”
“This is an effort to block progress in this state, and this has been an effort to destroy jobs in this state, and shame on them,” Kasich added.
Although it’s true that ProgressOhio has political motivations – the group seldom opposes government intervention of any sort, whether for “stimulus” spending, federal work programs, “high speed” rail, the United Auto Workers bailout, or alternative energy boondoggles – Kasich may have greater reason to fear opposition to JobsOhio from the right.
“Third Frontier invests in the most promising technologies and small businesses that will create jobs in Ohio,” ProgressOhio wrote in a 2010 endorsement of another state “job creation” program. Beneath the process differences between Third Frontier and JobsOhio, the premise remains the same: government can allocate money more effectively than the free market.
A number of conservative policy experts, including Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, have spelled out the importance of pro-market as opposed to pro-business governance. That tax incentives and other targeted spending invite cronyism is one reason JobsOhio has been compared to President Obama’s policies.
As Kovac’s footage proves, Governor Kasich obviously cares greatly about his pro-business program… and does not much care for the 1851 Center’s disagreement.