Archived Story

Who is hurt by federal cuts?

Published 12:00am Sunday, October 7, 2012

Statistics don’t always tell the whole story, but they can certainly tell an interesting one.

That is the case with a recent study commissioned by the Athens County Job and Family Services that focused on how federal tax dollars were spent in 2011 in the counties that makeup Ohio’s 6th and 15th Congressional Districts. This includes Lawrence County.

“Most counties in our region receive far more back in federal tax dollars than we pay,” Athens County JFS Director Jack Frech said in a prepared statement. “Tax cuts have minimal benefits and program cuts cause a disproportionate impact on local economies and families.”

The complete report is available at jfs.athenscountygovernment.com but the data seems to support his contention.

Twenty percent of Lawrence County’s 62,510 people are living in poverty. The number jumps to 29 percent when you look at the number of children living in poverty.

Thirty percent of the population received food assistance that totalled $22 million. So almost one third of the population needed help just putting food on the table.

The unemployment rate of 8 percent was the lowest in the 6th District but Ohio’s way of measuring this statistic has always been flawed. The number is likely much higher and this does nothing to determine how many people are “underemployed,” meaning they have low-paying jobs that don’t allow them to make ends meet without some other forms of assistance.

Twenty four percent of the population received Social Security. That should send a message to politicians and local government officials that raising taxes or fees for services must be done very carefully because about one in four citizens have little ability to impact their income.

Much debate has been made over “Obamacare” and whether or not this pushes our country toward socialism. There are certainly flaws with the legislation because it is so far reaching, but the primary argument that the government should stay out of the health care business is out of touch with reality.

As it stands, 33,568 people — 54 percent of Lawrence Countians — receive some form of government health care. This doesn’t even include veterans, public retirees, or people who work for non-profit organizations that receive government funding.

When you take into account the undetermined percentage of people who currently have private health care through their employers, the number of those who would be added to government health care really isn’t that large.

What does all this add up to? That is up to each citizen to decide but it certainly shows that, right or wrong, making massive cuts to long-standing social programs would have a significant impact right here in Lawrence County.

Throughout history many leaders — from Mahatma Gandhi to Pope John Paul II to conservative author William Federer — have made similar statements about society’s role in taking care of those in need.

Former vice president Hubert H. Humphrey may have to summed it up best in his last speech.

“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

 

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

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  • rambo

    This article from the outside looks nice and polite but when you look underneath the surface what you really find is a liberal stance for Obama Care and like him willing to do whatever it takes to sell papers. Asking a Director of Job and Family Services to give a good answer is like asking someone that makes between 80 to 100 thousand or more a year depending on the number of years of service. Bet this editor has never worked in the trenches to get the real story on how our money is wasted on drugs and sold for 50 to 60 cents on the dollar to purchase not food for there children but drugs for themselves. There are a number of food pantries from churches that are more then willing to assist children in need as well as school breakfast and lunches to assist these children. It is sad to say but a lot of our tax money does not go into the stomachs of children in need but to support the ever consuming drug habits of addicted population. If you doubt this go to any suboxine clinic and it is lined to take the place of the pill mills that used to satisfy the needs of those addicts.

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  • mickakers

    Michael Caldwell; My compliments on an informative, intelligent and well balanced article. In our Democratic Society, we the people are the government and have a moral responsibility for the well being of all our citizens. I found your mention of Mahatma Gandhi, Pope John Paul II and William Federer, in regards to “statements about society’s role in taking care of those in need”, insightful. Former Vice President Humphrey’s comment sums it up, as you pointed out, “…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

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  • Noesis

    Yeah, socialized medicine is just so great:

    Forty-three hospital patients starved to death last year and 111 died of thirst while being treated on wards, new figures disclose today.

    The death toll was disclosed by the Government amid mounting concern over the dignity of patients on NHS wards.

    The Office for National Statistics figures also showed that:

    * as well as 43 people who starved to death, 287 people were recorded by doctors as being malnourished when they died in hospitals;

    * there were 558 cases where doctors recorded that a patient had died in a state of severe dehydration in hospitals;

    * 78 hospital and 39 care home patients were killed by bedsores, while a further 650 people who died had their presence noted on their death certificates;

    * 21,696 were recorded as suffering from septicemia when they died, a condition which experts say is most often associated with infected wounds.

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  • Noesis

    So, what happens when nobody will lend us the money to pay for the programs Mr Caldwell? HHH never had to deal with a $16 trillion debt. He also couldn’t fathom almost $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security.

    Where’s all this money going to come from Mr Caldwell?

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