A rather interesting comment. How much or how little credit do state Governors get for their unemployment rates? Cuomo suggests not so much:
"There's been a fair amount of attention lately on the needle-threading by Mitt Romney to deal with messaging in swing states where the economy is either faring better than the national trend (a lower unemployment rate overall) or at least seeing a decrease in the rate (see Scott, Rick)."
"But New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, widely seen as a frontrunner for the 2016 nomination, came at it from a different angle yesterday. He said there are indicators that people are feeling better about the future of New York (where the latest unemployment numbers are a bit higher than the national average, at 8.6 percent) but he doesn't think there's much a single state can do to "significantly" counteract the impacts of a national economy that is "not doing well."
"The comment came as he was interviewed by veteran New York reporter Fredric Dicker, who's writing a book about Cuomo, and interviewed him for his Talk 1300 AM radio show. Dicker asked if there are indications that there is renewed interest in investing in New York, especially given the woes states like California are having."
"You know Fred, I hear it everywhere and it's all anecdotal," Cuomo said, going on to talk about measuring consumer confidence. "[It's] a funny equation, what makes people actually feel confident, they get cues in their lives...but improving consumer confidence then becomes the bellwether..."
He added, "I truly think people feel much better about the way this state is operating, the future of this state - you see it in the polls with the right track, wrong track [number], and that becomes infectious and that becomes a driver," he added. "Now, the national economy is not doing well and I don't believe a single state's efforts can significantly alter what the national economy is doing in that state. But are we doing much better than we've done in the past? Yes."
"It's a bit of a different approach. And saying the national economy is "not doing well" is bit different than the frame the Obama administration uses, even as officials talk about headwinds and difficulties in Europe."
The last paragraph is typical-everything has to be put in the language of blaming the President. That wasn't really Cuomo's attempt but Politico has to go there. Cuomo of course is defending his own record as 8.6% unemployment is not much to brag about in itself. Nevertheless his point may seem to have some validity-clearly the citizens of NY don't blame him as his approval rating remains in the high 60s.
This has been something of an ongoing debate: how much credit-or discredit-does the Governor get for the employment rate as opposed to the President? What really can the Governor and a state government really do during a downturn? You think for example of MMT-Modern Monetary Theory-that has so much to say about monetary policy. They hammer home the point that the federal government can't "run out of money" as they can always print more-as can Britain, Canada, and Japan, but not Germany or Greece, which is why the euro is a mess; only the ECB can but feels that it lacks the political legitimacy to do this.
However implicit in MMT is the idea that states in a sense really are like "families" where you have to live within your means. As the federal government after some stimulus for the states in 2009 has shut off the fiscal spigot very tightly what is left? With tax revenues down the only other avenue is debt issuance but this is frowned upon in many quarters to say the least.
There has been some discussion among the GOP as Governors in places like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin feel that Romney's message that the economy is in bad shape is at variance with their's that the state economy is doing well thanks to their Republican policies.
Many to be sure also like the narrative that the states that have followed conservative policies have done better. They of course love to point to California that allegedly has the high unemployment and budget deficit thanks to public employee unions and pensions, etc while states like Ohio and Wisconsin do well thanks to tough-though highly controversial-budget cutting plans while cutting pensions and state employee salaries. Remember as well that a big selling point of Rick Perry's candidacy was that Texas had a considerably lower unemployment rate than the national average.
So what do the facts say? Well I was looking at a chart and what comes out not surprisingly is it's all quite mixed. Those who might want a narrative can build one mostly by being pretty selective with the data. For example Nevada and California are easy to pick on with the two states 51 and 49 in employment. So a conservative will blame it all on public employee unions, Jerry Brown, and Harry Reid and call it a day.
On the other hand Chris Christy's state is 46 and the red state of South Carolina is 45. Red states like Georgia and Mississippi are 44 and 43 respectively. Blue state Massachusetts is 11 with only a 6% rate while fellow blue state-my state of NY-is tied with Rick Scott's Florida at 43 with a 8.6%. Then there's Vermont-a pretty liberal state who after all has the only Socialist senator in the country-that has a 3.9% unemployment rate.
Interestingly while the US rate cumulatively is 8.2% the median by simply adding up and dividing the states is clearly lower as only 16 states-and the District of Columbia-have rates at or above 8.2%.
In this way it's hard to say how much causation there is though you can certainly try to build some correlation stories if you want.
What is certain is that the government should have done much more for the states than they have since 2009 the state governments have been going through euro style austerity.