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Capital News: There's no time like the present to panic
April 30, 2009
by Capital Bureau Chief Marc Kovac
I guess I'm to blame for the ongoing financial struggles of our state and nation.
Or, to be more precise, those of us in the Fourth Estate who have dared to devote ink ... er ... electronic pulses in cyberspace to the worsening economic climate.
That's according to a poll released by Harris Interactive earlier this month, in which more than half of Americans believe media is to blame "for causing people to purchase things they couldn't afford."
Specifically, it found that 66 percent believed advertising agencies caused people to spend too much money on junk, thus causing their economic ruin.
Fifty-nine percent said the same of print media, 55 percent blamed television or radio and 54 percent blamed friends and family members.
According to a release on the poll, "Americans are angry and upset about the state of the economy and need someone or some group to blame. The media is always a perfect scapegoat when it comes to taking the blame."
The results came a few months after another poll found that a majority of Americans believed the media were making the economic situation worse by scaring people with the details.
That said, I hesitate to mention the implications of General Motors' recent announcement that it will be shutting down some of its U.S. manufacturing facilities for weeks this summer. The Lordstown operation near Youngstown is among those affected.
A week earlier, Gov. Ted Strickland was talking about being somewhat encouraged by news from the Big Three automakers, with a continued commitment by GM to build its new Cruze vehicle in Lordstown.
Just one week later, Statehouse dwellers were voicing concern about the implications of GM's idling decision on the rest of the state's auto industry.
AFL-CIO Ohio President Joe Rugola, who stopped at Capitol Square to drum up support for Buy American provisions related to federal stimulus dollars, said tens of thousands of jobs in the state could be affected -- the auto workers who won't be working and the suppliers and support industries that will take a hit as a result.
"Their economic situation is devastated, their families are destroyed and as a result, we see a continuing downward spiral," he said. "If we get to the place where we're not mining anything, forging anything, milling anything, machining anything or assembling anything at all that you can put your hands on, then our economy cannot continue to function."
Or maybe it won't be so bad.
Now go buy some stuff you don't need.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Communications Statehouse Bureau Chief. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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