The holidays are a time for celebration, but so often they are an unfortunate reminder about how families in this country are struggling. Too many Ohioans are unemployed, and even those who do have jobs are facing grave economic challenges.
That’s why President Obama is championing a $1,500 payroll tax cut to help working families and the middle class keep more of their hard-earned income. He has asked opponents of the payroll tax cut to not be a “Grinch” during the holidays.
Democrats understand that it’s not enough to give tax cuts to the rich and de-regulate Wall Street and somehow expect our economy and our families to recover.
Many families across Ohio, however, have new hope this holiday season because President Obama, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Tim Ryan worked to save the American automobile industry. As a nation, we had an obligation to rescue this vital industry that employs one million Americans — many in the Mahoning Valley.
As Democrats, we are also reminded this holiday season about how important it is that we protect safety nets like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. The most vulnerable among us — seniors, the underprivileged, the unemployed, the poor and the disabled — rely on these programs just to get by. Too often, such programs are labeled “entitlements” as if they are merely presents from the taxpayers.
A grandfather in Austintown isn’t getting rich from collecting Social Security, but he can celebrate the holidays with his grandchildren because he receives it. The single mother in Canfield isn’t looking for a free ride either, but she can put food on the dinner table because she has unemployment insurance. And a veteran in Youngstown didn’t fight in Afghanistan only to be denied the health care that he or she needs.
Programs like these are more than numbers in a database somewhere in Washington. They help real people — people who could not get by without them. And we as Americans have a responsibility to protect these safety nets so we can we strengthen communities across Ohio and the nation.
While the government can play a role in helping the most vulnerable among us, it certainly can’t do everything, nor should it try to do everything. Our society relies on generous individuals, private charities, foundations and religious institutions to take care of those in need. And Americans who have been blessed financially have a responsibility to do their part by supporting charities and paying their fair share to help our nation during these difficult times.
All Ohioans — be they Democrats, independents or Republicans — who are fortunate enough to be able to do so should make a financial contribution either through their place of worship or through local charities this season. And while not everyone can afford to give money, everyone can spend an afternoon at a local food bank or dig out old clothes to donate to a shelter.
We at the Ohio Democratic Party wish you a safe a joyous holiday season.
Seth Bringman, communications director of the Ohio Democratic Party, writes on behalf of the Mahoning County Democratic Party.