Former Pennsylvania governor and current MSNBC contributor Ed Rendell was down at the DNC in Charlotte this week. As usual, Rendell used his time in front of the cameras to attack Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Yet Ed Rendell should shy away from discussing economic and budgetary issues, because when it comes to such matters, it’s clear from Rendell’s record as governor that he is throwing stones from a glass house.
Rendell and company blame Obama’s horrible economic record on the fact that he was “left with a mess.” As it would happen, Ed Rendell left his state in a fiscal mess and his successor, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett had to step in and fix it. Corbett quietly went about eliminating the $4 billion deficit that Rendell stuck him with and did so without raising taxes and, unlike Obama, without whining about having to do the job that he applied for.
Spending and responsible budgeting are also topics that Rendell would be wise to leave alone. Rendell was governor of Pennsylvania from January 2003 to December 2010. Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation found the following when analyzing state spending under Rendell:
“the state's total operating budget grew from $45 billion to $66 billion, while the General Fund Budget grew from $20 billion to $28 billion. While inflation was under 20 percent, spending in Harrisburg increased by 47 percent. This growth is unsustainable.”
In addition to imposing billions of dollars in higher taxes on a host of goods and services, Rendell also raised taxes on small business, hiking the personal income tax rate – the rate at which small businesses face taxation. However, Rendell is a fitting campaign spokesman in this respect, as President Obama is pushing for a federal tax hike on the majority of small business profits to kick in on January 1st, 2013.
Not surprisingly, Rendell’s tenure was not good for job seekers in Pennsylvania. In fact, if the topic of job creation ever comes up during one of Rendell’s appearances on MSNBC, he should really just take off his mic and leave the room. Under Rendell’s tenure, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose by more than 39 percent, leaving his successor with an 8.5 percent unemployment rate. In fact, on his way out the door Rendell sought to raise taxes on what was one of the few bright spots of the Pennsylvania economy at the time – natural gas production. Gov. Tom Corbett has since been able to help bring unemployment back below eight percent while reducing spending and keeping taxes low.
Mitt Romney, who Rendell will continue to attack on the airwaves over the next two months, saw unemployment drop in Massachusetts during his time as governor. These are just a few things to keep in mind next time you hear Ed Rendell preach about good governance or attack Mitt Romney.