We Need More than Trickle-Down Economics to Invest in the American Dream

In December, Congressional Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After mere weeks, without public hearings, they rushed this poorly thought-out bill into law. In spite of their promises that this tax reform would benefit the middle- and working-class, the Tax Policy Center found that the top-earning 10% of taxpayers (incomes over $216,800) receive 52% of the benefits, while the bottom 60% (under $86,100) receive only 17%. The median income here in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio is $41,355, so the average person will see little benefit.


Despite Republicans’ claims that corporations need tax cuts to add jobs and increase wages, corporate profits are already at near record levels. Many corporations have already pointed out that they won’t be using the money they save on tax cuts to hire workers or raise wages. This tax cut is a gift to corporate shareholders and executives, not working people like us. Carol Tome, the CFO of Home Depot, for example, recently explained that tax reform would be used to “return capital to our shareholders,” not to benefit wage earners.


This Tax Act adds 1.5 trillion dollars to our national debt, and reputable analysts agree that there is no way that this tax act can cause enough economic growth to offset the cost of the cuts. What that means for us here in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio is that soon Republicans in Congress will make cuts to our services in order to pay for their tax deficit. Already Paul Ryan and others plan to make cuts to your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits. After passing the Tax Act, Paul Ryan said “we’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” In this part of Ohio, 38% of our households receive Social Security income and/or Medicare.  Nearly a quarter of us receive Medicaid. If they make these cuts, we will suffer.


Medicaid is an essential part of our battle against the opioid epidemic. We need more resources to fight the opioid epidemic, not less. Ohio’s rate of overdose deaths is 22 per 100,000 people… more than twice the national average. Without Medicaid, we are going to have fewer options for solving our crisis.


What we need here is real tax reform to benefit the middle- and working-class. We need our social services and our healthcare preserved and improved. We need real economic growth that comes from expanding our essential infrastructure--including rural internet broadband--raising wages for working people, and creating an environment that is friendly to small business.


Republicans in Congress have been ignoring our needs here in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio for far too long. We need a voice in Congress that fights for us.  That is why I am running for U.S. House of Representatives in Ohio’s 6th district. My name is Shawna Roberts, and I am an ordinary citizen, with hopes and dreams, just like you. Together, we can truly bring the American Dream back to Ohio.