Information released Friday by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation shows the full economic impact on Ohio Social Security has for the two million Buckeyes who use it. Collectively, about 200,000 Ohioans receive nearly $33 billion dollars in Social Security benefits each year. These earned benefits provide economic security for Ohio families, but they also provide stimulus and serve as an economic stabilizer for communities throughout the state.

“In good economic times and bad, Social Security is a guaranteed revenue source,” NCPSSM spokesman Brad Wright said in a media release. Wright added, “In fact in 2014 alone, Social Security benefits generated almost $60 billion in economic output in Ohio.”

Ohio officials in Columbus and Washington, including Gov. Kasich and incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman, claim America can’t afford programs like Social Security. But Wright said “the truth is states like Ohio can’t afford to lose the economic benefits earned benefit programs provide to every community in the state.”

The Fix: Work Longer, Get Less

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as a relatively new congressman representing a reliably conservative district in central Ohio, voted for the 1983 fix to Social Security negotiated between President Ronald Reagan and congressional Democrats.

On the presidential campaign trail for a second time, Gov. Kasich tried to avoid talking about America’s most popular and needed social safety net program, that for 75 years has made the difference between being old and poor and having a reliable financial reserve. When Ohio’s governor did address it, some in his town hall audiences were told, “get over it,” referring to Kasich’s vague fix that includes hiking the age to qualify and reducing payout benefits.

Rob Portman, Ohio’s incumbent Republican senator in Washington, is on record advocating the privatization of Social Security. Sen. Portman was budget director then trade representative for President George W. Bush, among whose hallmark legislative accomplishments was an unpaid for income tax reduction of $2.3 billion. President Bush inherited a growing surplus from President Bill Clinton, but after his two terms in office, America lost a net half-million jobs and was approaching $10 billion in deficits as Bush-era spending went “off budget.”

Work longer and get less seems to be the long term budget for John Kasich and Rob Portman. Raising the income tax cap above the current level of $118,500, which economic experts say will renew the guarantee for future seniors for decades. This easy fix, unfortunately, is a non-starter for Kasich, whose wealth is estimated to be in the millions, even as high as $22 million, and Portman, whose reported net worth is also in the many millions. The very rich paying more in income tax is verboten to GOP ideology that only values reducing income tax rates.  Gov. Kasich often citing his need to review the numbers again as a way to dance away from that topic in quick fashion.

Social Security Works In Ohio

Last night in Cleveland, Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for presidential candidate. Max Richtman, NCPSSM President and CEO, released this statement on Mr. Trump and Social Security.

“Amid all the promises and platitudes about improving our economy and addressing the fiscal challenges facing American families offered at the Republican Party’s national convention, it’s very telling that the critical role Social Security plays in average Americans’ lives was virtually ignored,” Richtman said. “In fact, whenever the GOP referenced Social Security at all, the focus was on cutting benefits and, as suggested in the party platform, privatizing the program. You can’t talk seriously about a strong economy without acknowledging the role our nation’s most effective anti-poverty program plays in communities from coast to coast. That’s why release of a new online tool, Social Security Spotlight, is so important in providing vital information about Social Security’s economic impact nationwide.”

The Ohio Regional Support Index illustrates the level of support that Social Security provides to all residents, listed by County. This measure is important in determining which areas of the state benefit most economically from the earned benefit dollars provided by Social Security and thus, the areas which would also be hit hardest by benefit cuts.

Highlights about Ohio and Social Security:

  • Total # Social Security beneficiaries: 2 million residents receive $33 billion in benefits. Ottawa County receives the highest per capita Social Security income, Holmes receives the lowest.
  • Economic Impact Dollars: $60 billion
  • Regional Support Index: In 62 Ohio Counties, 20% or more of the population receives Social Security. In 17 Ohio Counties, Social Security is 10% or more of their citizens’ income. Since 2008, Social Security’s economic impact has increased in every Ohio County.
  • Beneficiary Demographics: 87.6% White, 1.3% Hispanic, .9% Asian, 1.2% African American, 7.4% children

Mr. Wright said what most know but some refuse to admit, that Social Security touches the lives of virtually every American family yet the program’s economic contributions to communities, counties, and states continue to be misunderstood and often ignored.

A new online report unveiled today by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation provides a detailed look at the significant economic impact generated by Social Security benefits. Social Security Spotlight delivers data on beneficiaries by state, race/ethnicity, age and gender.

Also available are the Economic Stimulus Impact for each state, and the Regional Support Index, which illustrates the level of support that Social Security provides to all residents of a given state or county. This comprehensive data details what America’s retirees, people with disabilities, survivors and their families know first-hand, that Social Security plays a vital economic role for families, communities and businesses throughout America.

Social Security Spotlight can be especially helpful during the 2016 election cycle for voters, journalists, policy makers and campaign staff as the future of Social Security is debated, Wright reminded reporters. He notes that there are lots of policy proposals that could diminish the earned benefits in Social Security triggering financial losses not only for American workers, retirees, the disabled, their families but also their communities, counties and states.

Every Congressional and Presidential candidate will be encouraged to take a hard look at the economic impact numbers, Wright wrote. “Voters should also ask candidates and incumbents, ‘Can our community afford the economic hit which would come by cutting benefits?’” he asked.

Ohio’s population is stagnate, with one consequence being an aging population. Gov. Kasich promised to create jobs, but he’s now 43 straight months of not even meeting the national average. And a large percentage of the jobs he has created are minimum wage but not much higher, yet he’s apposed to tying minimum wage increases to the CPI or any other reliable wage metric.

For decades now, the Census shows western and southern states growing while Ohio barely registers above zero percent. Growing states produce jobs, which helps explain, in part, why Ohio is treading water. If fixes proposed by Kasich and Portman were in effect, the impact on Ohio from Social Security would be further reduced, for all sectors, public and private.

The research and the Social Security Spotlight website were funded by a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation. The project has been guided by the Task Force on the Future of America’s Health and Retirement Security.

Research was conducted by Peter S. Arno, PhD, Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy Research at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare Foundation board member, and Andrew R. Maroko, PhD, Assistant Professor, City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

The mission of the National Committee Foundation is to protect, promote, and ensure the financial security, health, and wellbeing of current and future generations of older Americans through research, analysis, and public education.