The Buckeye Squeeze

Ohio’s middle class is hurting, and GOP policies will just make it worse.

Ohio’s Middle Class Is Hurting, And GOP Policies Will Just Make It Worse

In a little more than 24 hours, 10 Republican men will take the stage in Cleveland for the first GOP primary debate. More than likely, most candidates will claim they are champions of Ohio’s middle class.

It is true that Ohio’s working families need a champion, as a new CAP Action report indicates. The Cleveland Plain Dealer discusses the report’s key points ahead of debate night, highlighting that that the median household income in Ohio has dropped by more than 6% in the last 30 years. As the Plain Dealer states, “only three states fared worse” than Ohio in terms of median household income.

However, another new CAP Action report shows that Republican rhetoric on how they value working Ohioans is far different than reality. Actually, many GOP candidates supporting policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the Ohio middle class.

In short, GOP candidates’ policies would hurt Ohio’s working families. Here are a few key examples:

  • Conservative tax policies overwhelming benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families. For example, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry have all called for eliminating or drastically reducing the capital gains tax, a policy that would benefit 92% of Ohio taxpayers who made $1 million or more in 2012, but would have almost no impact on Ohio’s middle class.
  • Conservative policies make it harder to create good-paying jobs. Right-to-work laws, like the one signed by Gov. Scott Walker, are associated with average wages that are 3.1% lower than wages in states without right-to-work laws. Ohio governor and GOP candidate John Kasich pushed anti-worker legislation, which was rejected by Ohio voters, that would have likely lowered incomes and hurt job growth.
  • GOP candidates oppose policies that help families balance work and home. Women are the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners in more than 68 percent of Ohio families, yet Republican candidates oppose key policies such as paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, equal pay, and access to childcare. Gov. Walker and Gov. Jindal signed pre-emption laws, preventing cities in their states from requiring paid sick leave.
  • GOP governors ignore runaway tuition costs. Under Gov. Jindal and Gov. Perry, students faced exploding costs. College tuition and fees grew 44 percentage points in Louisiana and 69.3 percentage points more in Texas, respectively, more than in Ohio.

BOTTOM LINE: GOP candidates may claim they will help the middle class, but their policies benefit the wealthy while hurting job growth and making it harder for families to balance work and home and afford college for their children. With a falling median income, Ohio’s middle class cannot afford the choices offered by this class of Republican candidates.

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