By Jon Cassidy | Ohio Watchdog
A Republican who doesn’t believe in free markets is like a priest who doesn’t believe in God.
He may do a little good, but he’s basically a phony.
Since his remarks during a recognition ceremony last week for the Ohio State football team, it’s obvious that Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, doesn’t believe in free markets.
Worse, he’s hostile to the idea of America and the Constitution.
Hyperbole, you say?
Let’s start at the beginning, with Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1, of that founding document, which reads: “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”
It’s not a clause you hear much about, because it’s an entirely uncontroversial one. In this country, we have free commerce and free travel between the states.
Ohioans aren’t second-class citizens in Pennsylvania, and nobody worries that Hoosiers come here to steal our jobs.
But Kasich wants to change that.
Borrowing the rhetoric of two-bit autocrats like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Kasich is denouncing energy companies and “foreigners.”
“Many of you have heard me say that we don’t want foreigners working in our fields, and foreigners are people from Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi and Texas,” he said.
It’s tough to be a bigger nativist demagogue than Chavez, but Kasich manages. You’d never hear Chavez question whether people from Anzoátegui or Sucre were real Venezuelans.
Energy companies deal with this sort of stupidity all the time. In every corner of the globe, they face rabble rousers who want to expropriate their infrastructure and weak or corrupt judiciaries that offer little protection.
They shouldn’t have to deal with this at home, where the law is perfectly clear.
Here’s how Justice Owen J. Roberts described the “settled view” of Article IV, Section 2, in the 1939 decision Hague v. CIO. It means “that, in any State, every citizen of any other State is to have the same privileges and immunities which the citizens of that State enjoy. The section, in effect, prevents a State from discriminating against citizens of other States in favor of its own.”
Contrast the law with Kasich’s deeply un-American remarks:
We are currently looking at the possibility that these energy companies that have come into Ohio to extract our very valuable assets may not be hiring Ohioans. That is a very serious matter. I have asked these energy companies from the first time I met them in Houston, Texas, and when they came to the office to see me, I have asked for their forecasts for the kind of workers they need so we could prepare Ohioans to work in these jobs, building pipelines, operating the facilities, whether they’re fractionators or processors. We want Ohioans. And many of you have heard me say that we don’t want foreigners working in our fields and foreigners are people from Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi and Texas. We want Ohioans working here. We have evidence that we’re gathering, and I want it to be known clearly that Ohioans… and we understand that companies need to ramp up; we’re not in a position that we don’t understand common sense, but I’m concerned about these reports that somehow people are being transported into this state. You could have a situation where we’re not getting the jobs, they’re taking the resources and all their profits and they’re heading home. That is not acceptable to me. Now we don’t have the conclusive evidence that this is happening yet. But I want you all to know, and I want the companies to know, that this is an extremely serious matter, and we expect them to be responsive to the people of this state.
Every one of Kasich’s presumptions here is wrong, from his idea that oil and gas is public property, to the belief that government needs to train private employees, to his notion that he has any right or authority to monitor workers, block the flow of capital, or waste taxpayer dollars on his “evidence” (which is not “conclusive”) that “foreigners” are “being transported into this state.”
As a practical matter, Kasich’s views are ridiculous and contradictory. He says he’s been asking energy companies for a long time about the sort of workers they would need, yet admits he’s been unable to provide such workers.
Imagine my fake surprise – a government (whose job it isn’t) can’t supply workers to companies (that don’t need them). Maybe, and I’m just going to go out on a limb here, maybe the companies want to hire drill operators who have actually drilled a few wells, not somebody who got a certificate in some government-sponsored online course.
I worked for a brief time at an oil field in Ecuador, and the folks I met there had highly sought-after skills. A helicopter mechanic, for example, made six figures working every other month, with the company flying him anywhere in the world for his months off.
I don’t think Kasich has any skills so valuable, although I can think of a couple of people who’d pay to ship him off somewhere.
In a way, this is a natural extension of the politics of failure that has plagued Ohio. Trade obstructionism made U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s career, among many others, and now Kasich wants to see if he can take it further.
It’s easy enough to scapegoat China. But will Ohio really fall for scapegoating Texas and Georgia? I’d hope that even people who’ve been muttering about NAFTA for years would be alarmed by this.
Kasich is tearing at the fabric of this country, redefining his fellow citizens as “foreigners,” and undermining a principle that built a loose confederation of colonies into one great nation.
This is, as Kasich said, “an extremely serious matter.” He needs to open his copy of the U.S. Constitution and read it carefully, or he will lose the support of patriots who cherish that document he so lightly regards.
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