On Tuesday morning in New York City, Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivered a warmed over talk called “Two Paths” to the Women’s National Republican Club.
Kasich told these GOP women what’s become his standard go-to campaign mantra: “I cut spending and balanced budgets, eliminated debt, and created jobs. With my plan, I’m going to do the same thing for Ohio. “Two Paths” was the title of a Kasich commercial in 2010, when he defeated Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland by just two percentage points.
$2-A Day Is Not A New Way
Mr. Kasich will never speak about a new report released today during a statewide conference on homelessness and housing, but that no reason why media should likewise ignore it.
The Center for Community Solutions issued a report that calculates a very large number of Ohioans are living at a level of extreme poverty more often associated with the developing world. Report authors explored the implications of Ohio’s shift to a low-wage economy at the annual conference hosted by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO).
Gov. Kasich has long proclaimed he’s a miracle worker, bringing Ohio back from being broke, reducing income taxes by $5 billion and socking away $2 billion in the state’s emergency fund, all while balancing the budget without raising taxes. John Kasich remains in the race for president, along with Sen. Ted Cruz and New York billionaire Donald Trump.
According to the report, data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey was used to estimate that about 800,000 Ohioans are living in “deep poverty,” or 50 percent or less of the federal poverty level, which is about $10,000 for a family of three, a media release said.
“Community Solution’s analysis shows that 20 years after the passage of welfare reform federal and state policies are failing to help thousands of Ohio families, many of them with children,” Tara Britton, a co-author of the report, said. When Gov. Kasich was a congressman back during the Clinton years, he has laid claim to helping design the welfare reform act the report and others say has turned out so bad for minority communities.
Luke Shaefer, another report co-author, spoke about how the nation’s social services are increasingly lagging behind the economy’s shift from middle-class manufacturing jobs to low-wage service jobs. “The government safety net was built in an era when full-time employment meant a stable, reliable living wage,” he said, adding, “that’s no longer the case for millions of Americans who are scraping together a meager living from two or more part-time, minimum- or near-minimum wage jobs. Shaefer says the number of Americans living on $2-a-day poverty has more than doubled since Congress overhauled welfare in 1996.
Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio Executive Director Bill Faith shinned a light on the increasing disparity between average median income and housing rents, which have soared 55 percent nationally during the same time period.
“While Ohio’s foreclosure crisis has eased somewhat in recent years, the number of eviction filings has barely budged since the height of the recession,” Faith notes. “With 7 percent of Ohio’s 1.5 million renter households facing court-ordered eviction each year, there’s thousands of families living constantly on the verge of homelessness,” he added.
Among the fixes conference leaders want to see, redesigning federal cash assistance to create a functioning safety net that successfully catches people when they fall is high on the list. Making Ohio’s Earned Income Tax Credit refundable is another one. Expand the Ohio Housing Trust Fund to increase support for homeless, disabled and extremely low-income families is a third one.
Gov. Kasich is holding out his record in Ohio as his bona fides for doing the same on the national level. If Ohio was the miracle he says it is, this housing conference probably wouldn’t be necessary. But clearly it is, as the sad statistics on how poorly Ohio under his watch are faring.