published Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Devaney: Tennessee — What America should look like

Chris Devaney

President Obama arrives in Chattanooga today. With Air Force One and an army of staff and Secret Service, his presence will be impressive. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of his record on jobs, economic development, or anything of importance to working Americans right now.

The “new normal” has taken hold in America under Mr. Obama’s watch. That “new normal” is persistently high unemployment, unchecked wasteful spending that has led to unprecedented debt, and the belief that government bureaucracy — not the innovation of Americans — holds the key to our future.

Median household income has fallen five percent since the recession “ended” and Mr. Obama came into office. Gross domestic product growth under Obama was a scant 1.8% in the first quarter of 2013. Add to these statistics the albatross of the Obamacare regulatory labyrinth that has scared businesses into either hiring part-time workers only or none at all. Mr. Obama’s moves and their results force us to pose the question: Does he know what he is doing?

Anyone with a basic understanding of the economic success of our nation’s history knows we achieve greatness when opportunity abounds for all citizens. That said, instead of lamenting the President’s failure of leadership, I want to use this opportunity to give him the benefit of the doubt. I believe Mr. Obama is coming to Tennessee to see exactly what success looks like, first-hand. It is hard to ignore the fact Tennessee has achieved some remarkable success recently — even in the face of the negative headwinds emanating from Washington because of Obamanomics.

Let me attempt to summarize a few of the accolades our state has received thanks to Republican policy-making. Since Governor Bill Haslam took office and Republicans gained legislative majorities, Tennessee is fourth in job creation. The Bureau of Economic Analysis finds Tennessee is No. 1 in the South for GDP in 2012 and No. 1 for personal income growth. The U.S. Commerce Department ranks Tennessee No. 1 in the Southeast in manufacturing job growth for 2012.

In stark contrast to the federal government’s ballooning national debt, Tennessee has the lowest debt per capita of the 50 states. It should be noted this achievement has been attained while taxes were being cut across the board for all Tennesseans. In fact, the Tax Foundation recently cited Tennessee as having the third lowest tax burden in the country.

Companies like Volkswagen and Amazon have come here because of our right-to-work status — ensuring that greedy unions do not gain the upper hand on employees and employers — and also because of our infrastructure and global access, another No. 1 ranking. In fact, Chief Executive magazine routinely ranks Tennessee in the top five for business.

These statistics and others led Barron’s magazine recently to place Tennessee as the third best-run state. Imagine how much Washington could benefit if these conservative Tennessee principles were applied in the federal government’s executive branch?

While you certainly will not hear this from the President, we’re succeeding not because of his liberal policies but in spite of them. While America languishes under his guidance, Republican leaders here are going about the quiet business of growing the economy, passing policies that foster career creation across the state, and providing the opportunity for every individual to succeed on his or her own merits.

Mr. President, I hope you’re taking notes. Tennessee showcases a recipe for broad-based success up and down the economic ladder. This is what America should look like.

Chris Devaney serves as the Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. He resides in Chattanooga.

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soakya said...

Success? What success? You have got to be joking. Let me say first of all I'm no supporter of the president he has been a complete failure but I'm a little confused why republicans in TN are patting their self on the back for results that are worse than the nation.

Let me attempt to summarize a few stats over the past 6 years.

You do realize the unemployment rate is greater than 10% in 48 out of the 95 counties and TN overall rate of 8.5 is .9% than the national rate of 7.6. Also the annual unemployment for 2007 for Hamilton county was 4.1% and 4.9 for TN. What recovery are you republicans talking about?

In 2006-07 we see a sharp incline in population which continues to climb until 2012. In the same time period we see a rise in the number of unemployed and a decline in the actual number of employees. Since 2007 the number of unemployed has increased by 5,550 and the number employed has fallen by 5,440. Per Capita income grew at a faster pace from 2001-2007. Per capita income grew by 26% or $7,971 dollars during 2001-07 compared to 4% or $1,829 dollars from 2007-2011. From 2007-12 the employed to civilian labor force ratio rate fell by 3.32 %. Today, more than 2 years after Volkswagen opened their doors Hamilton County has fewer workers and more unemployed and slower growth in per capita income. The debt over the same 6 years has ballooned to over 200 million.

Tennessee looks almost identical to Hamilton County. In 2007 TN had 9,400 more people working than in 2012. A massive 101,100 Tennessean’s joined the unemployment line since 2007 and we have added $1,061,526,000 in net bonded debt. Since 2007 the employed to civilian labor force ratio has declined by 3.1%. Per capita income also grew at a faster pace from 2001-07, $6904 dollars or 26% compared to $4487 dollars or 13% from 2007-12. The only thing that has taken place is a shuffling of jobs from one industry to another and from one county to the other and from one state to another state.

The republican definition of free enterprise and the true conservative's definition apparently is not the same.

July 30, 2013 at 7:47 a.m.
MyGen said...

Funny. I think I read this column written by someone else yesterday and the same comment by the same angry guy/woman who doesn't want anyone to do well.

July 30, 2013 at 8:42 a.m.
soakya said...

Mygen, if you don't mind could you elaborate on how my comment suggest I don't want anyone to do well.

You do understand what I'm saying is even after TN poured all this money into these mega deals these stats show it's not working. I guess you can take the position of the president, it could have been worse, of course that position has been condemned by conservatives the past 5 years.

July 30, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.
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