What Alabama lacks in quality of life its governor makes up for in faux confidence. One might worry it’s troublesome for a governor to think his state is doing well when it’s one of the worst in the US in, well, pretty much everything that isn’t having good college football teams.
National leaders would do well to look at the Heart of Dixie as a model for how to run a government, Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday.
Bentley, who answered questions from audience members and later the media after his keynote address at the Delta Regional Authority’s workforce development summit in Washington County, said the next president should come from the ranks of the nation’s governors. He did not offer up himself but said the federal government has a lot to learn from Montgomery.
“The federal government does not create jobs. They can impede jobs. But they don’t create jobs,” he said. “The federal government needs to look at Alabama. I’ll tell them how to run the government.”
Really? Because I looked up how well Alabama has done at creating jobs over the last year and, well, Obama’s doing better. In 9 out of 12 months last year employment in Alabama went down. The only time employment went up was during the first quarter, which is always the best quarter for service industry jobs (because everybody has Christmas money they’re dying to spend). So it’s likely those months had more to do with economic trends that affect everybody, not Alabama doing something right:
Alabama Employment History
June 2014 1,909,900 -3,400 1,994,537 -5,364 May 2014 1,913,300 -400 1,999,901 -1,668 April 2014 1,913,700 1,500 2,001,569 -1,830 March 2014 1,912,200 -300 2,003,399 6,683 February 2014 1,912,500 1,400 1,996,716 5,778 January 2014 1,911,100 -5,500 1,990,938 6,674 December 2013 1,916,600 3,500 1,984,264 -1,522 November 2013 1,913,100 4,200 1,985,786 -2,049 October 2013 1,908,900 6,500 1,987,835 -3,730 September 2013 1,902,400 -4,000 1,991,565 -3,408 August 2013 1,906,400 900 1,994,973 -4,473 July 2013 1,905,500 1,900 1,999,446 -4,803 June 2013 1,903,600 2,300 2,004,249 -3,989
The federal government, on the other hand, is adding around 200,000 jobs every month. Not losing them, and that’s even with Alabama serving as an economical anchor.
As for looking to Birmingham as an example of what to emulate, The Fiscal Times recently put out a list of the seven worst states to live in. I could’ve pulled this list from anywhere, of course, because they all have most of the same states (looking at you Mississippi, Kentucky, and Alabama). Anyway, here’s what The Fiscal Times had to say of their third choice, Alabama:
Alabama’s unemployment rate remains high at 7.4 percent and job creation continues at a slow pace. Some of the state’s biggest metro areas and school districts, most notably the county surrounding Birmingham, have recently filed for bankruptcy. Twenty-eight percent of the population is also obese and 18 percent lack health insurance.
So…yeah…clearly Alabama needs more prayer…or more government doing intelligent things to solve its problems. Y’know, one of those.
Look, we know you’re trying. But you don’t see the Oakland Raiders scoffing at the New England Patriots and telling the Pats they should be more like the Raiders. That’s because the Raiders are perpetually in or around last place and it would look silly for them to be telling any of the other teams that are winning more games to be more like them. That’s what Alabama is like. We know you’re trying and that you’re going to get there eventually. But for now you’re in or around last place in pretty much every category where you don’t want to be in last place. Fix that stuff, then tell the other states that are creating more jobs how great you are.