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We must protect safety nets

Published: Sun, December 18, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

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.

Auto industry

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.

Local charities

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.


1ytown1(398 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

CC how can you claim such ignorance as stated in the fist comment here, then in another comment to Bertram's Sunday editorial, defend the public trough feeding?

Claim to be a Repub then spout yourself in defense of the lopsided public workers raping the taxpayers. One Word, Hypocrite.

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2redeye1(5666 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The D aparty has to get votes somehow. So they want everyone dependent on the Gov't. I'm not talking about SS. medicaid, those people worked for them. It's the people who never worked a day in their lives getting all the benes. they should be cut off. There should also better regulation of welfare benefits. The people who recieve stuff from the different organizations should be made to volunteer for their stuff, that way they will feel they earned it.

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3db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The only people who should be on a government check are the elderly and the infirmed. Welfare does people a disservice by enslaving them to a loser second-class-citizen lifestyle and cheats the taxpayer by forcing socialism upon them. A hungry belly is the best motivator and giving a meager handout simply keeps welfare recipients fed just enough to keep them down and keep them dependent.

Liberal Democrat politicians have enslaved this now permanent underclass merely to keep their cushy political jobs. They should be ashamed of themselves; they do not care about these folks; they care only for themselves.

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4Woody(492 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Anyone see the hypocrisy from the Democrats, they want to save social security, but then they cut the one means of funding it.

We need to focus on trade schools. We are at a lack of plumbers, electricians, and skilled labor.

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