DUDE! IT LOOKS like Pennsylvania is going to need to have an intervention . . . because we have a governor with a severe case of denial. Last week, we learned that Pennsylvania lost more people from its labor force than any time in the past 30 years, and that it ranked 49th in job growth (ahead of only Wyoming) in March.
On Monday, Corbett made his regular appearance on a radio show and gave his usual riff on net private-sector job gains since early 2011 (a world where those 20,000 public-school teachers and employees laid off in the face of Corbett budget cuts magically don't exist.) Then, unprovoked, he added this:
"The other area is, there are many employers that say, 'We're looking for people but we can't find anybody that has passed a drug test,' a lot of them."
OK, maybe he saw news accounts of that spirited 4/20 celebration on the Independence Mall, but here are the facts: In 2011, the year Corbett took office, just 1.8 percent of workers in federally regulated industries failed drug tests. In spite of that, as noted by the blog Think Progress, Pennsylvania has been running a pilot project in which folks seeking public assistance in 19 counties - and who have past felony narcotics conviction - must pass a drug test to get their check. Only two people have failed.
Instead of drug testing poor people who need money for food and shelter, maybe we should move that pilot project to the state capital. I know, I know - Tom Corbett is an upstanding citizen (sure, he was born in 1949, but he's a child of the '60s in the same sense that Up With People is a musical group of the '60s), and there's a greater chance that Andrew Bynum would throw his crutches in the Schuylkill and lead the 76ers to the 2014 NBA title than that our clean-living governor would fail a drug test.
But I googled symptoms of excessive marijuana use and I have to confess I got concerned.
Slowed reflexes: Remember that time that then-Attorney General Corbett learned that a Penn State football coaching legend might be a pedophile and only assigned one or two agents to the case while it sat in limbo for nearly two years? I would call that the ultimate case of slow reflexes.
Blurred vision: In March 2011, Corbett peered into the future and saw Pennsylvania becoming "the Texas of natural gas." Already, though, there are signs that the natural-gas boom is turning a bust in some counties, so maybe he should get his long-range vision checked out.
Paranoia: In 2012, Corbett - perhaps hearing voices on his AM radio frequency - became so convinced that there was a conspiracy of so many people voting fraudulently that he signed a restrictive voter-ID law that would've thwarted thousands of legal voters instead. In the real world, a grand total of four people had been nabbed for voter fraud in the four years before he signed his bill.
But Corbett's biggest problem is that, when it comes to jobs, he's clearly delusional. Instead of investing in the things that would create jobs today and also down the road - improving education and upgrading our lousy roads - the governor is still stoned on the notion that more business tax cuts will lead to more hiring, despite three decades of proof that such corporate giveaways only lead to higher CEO pay and a few happy shareholders.
Now, confronted with the reality of his 27 months of economic abuse, he has the nerve to lash out and imply that his constituents are on drugs. When it comes to his record on jobs, Gov. Corbett is the one who has got to be smoking something . . . if he's not huffing fracking fluids instead.