Obama Ignores Pennsylvania's Economic Miracle
By Mary Mostert
April 14, 2008
Barack Obama created a small fire-storm in presidential politics recently by stating that small town residents in Pennsylvania and other Midwest states have done "nothing" in the past 25 years to replace jobs that "have been gone now for 25 years." In just four short sentences Obama managed to insult leaders of both political parties, the people of the State of Pennsylvania, people who live in Midwest, especially those who live in small towns, and to fan the flames of racism while taking a slap at religious voters.
He charged: "Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.
"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Actually, there is plenty of empirical evidence to refute Obama's rather bizarre claim that the people of Pennsylvania, citizens of the State in which both our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were written, have been sitting around doing nothing for the past 25 years while becoming "frustrated" and "bitter" because the federal government in Washington hasn't "regenerated" their towns or created jobs in their state.
In the first place, in less than two minutes it is possible to check the unemployment figures in the state of Pennsylvania today and compare them with the employment figures in the state 25 years ago. Today's unemployment in Pennsylvania, as of February 2008, was 4.9%. In February 1982 (25 years ago) the unemployment rate in the state was 12.9%.
What has actually happened in Pennsylvania since the collapse of the steel industry in the state has been an economic miracle that the younger voters especially need to hear about. It was accomplished by the people of Pennsylvania. Furthermore, in the process, the people of Pennsylvania have also cleaned up the air and water pollution in the state that was caused by the heavy industry that no longer exists there.
The new jobs apparently can be traced largely back to the educational institutions in Pennsylvania. As reported by David Ignatious from Allentown, Pennsylvania: "Since January 2003, the state has added a total of 178,000 new jobs, according to the state government.
"Where are all these new jobs coming from? The answer is that as the old rust-belt manufacturing industries sank, Pennsylvania became a platform for innovators in technology, finance and the health industry. What saved the state, above all, was its concentration of great universities, which provided the human capital for growth.
"Pittsburgh is probably the best example of this transformation. The lamentations of 1976 were real, and the old version of the Steel City is gone forever. What emerged was a new economy built around the knowledge base of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
Carnegie Mellon was the nation's leader in robotics, giving rise to companies with names like Applied Perception Inc., and to the National Center for Defense Robotics. By 1999, an article in The Wall Street Journal said the city should be renamed 'Roboburgh,' and the Journal called rust-belt Pittsburgh one of the country's 10 hotbeds of technology."
This brings us back full circle to the underlying philosophy of Barack Obama. Obama's "change" as outlined on his website in his "Blueprint for Change," is a return to tax-and-spend socialism and 1930s Depression era government of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt's "New Deal" socialism failed spectacularly in creating real jobs and left the worst public debt in American history.
Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and began instituting his anti-capitalism, New Deal programs. It took 25 years and the election of a Republican, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, before the stock market was able to regain its 1929 level.
On the other hand, in spite of the loss of a major portion of its manufacturing jobs in recent years, the people of Pennsylvania have created 178,000 jobs in just the past FIVE YEARS, unemployment is at an all-time low and an environmental miracle has taken place that has dramatically cleaned up water and air in the state.
I would think that should be a reason for the people of Pennsylvania to celebrate. Instead Obama tells us that people in Pennsylvania are clinging "to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them" because of their frustration and bitterness.
So, which is it, Pennsylvania? Do we salute you and admire you for the remarkable miracle you have worked to accomplish in your state with its 4.9% unemployment and greatly improved environment? Or should we feel sorry for you because you are frustrated, bitter, angry and helpless to do anything for yourself, and you need Barack Obama to solve your problems?