Our State Rep. Robert Sprague let slip a fundamental truth that informs the budget battle at all levels of government. He said right out loud “We’re all going to have to deal with less money and a lower standard of living”. He is right. I am also sure he had not been following the Republican talking points when he said it, but our budget battle is really not about spending priorities. What is really going on is just pointless squabbling over the shrinking pie of American prosperity. Until we address the fundamental failure of our economic, trade and immigration policies over the last 25 years, we are going to face endless rounds of increased social spending needs and shrinking funds to meet those needs.
Do I have issues with Gov. Kasich’s budget priorities? Do I think sb5 is an affront to all working people and a violation of our constitutional rights? Yes, I do. But until we face the failure of free trade and our failure to make any reasonable effort to enforce the immigration laws, there is not much we can do to fix the budget issues, whether at the State or federal level. Working families will continue to struggle to make ends meet, the economy will continue to bump along at our current sad pace and tax revenues will continue to fail to meet even the lowest level of public funding needs.
We can lower taxes; we can cut services and drive down the pay and benefits of public workers. We can steal companies and jobs for other states. But how does any of that make the United States or Ohio, in the long run, a better place to live and work?
I just finished reading Sen. Sherrod Brown’s book Why American Trade Policy Has Failed: Myths of Free Trade and while I was heartened to read that I am not the only Democrat that feels President Clinton’s support of NAFTA took America 180 degrees in the wrong direction when it comes to our trade policy, I am disappointed that Sen. Brown supports amnesty. Some years ago, I remember a prominent democrat (if you know who it was, please drop me an e-mail) say that “free trade and illegal immigration are two sides of the same coin”.
Our trade relationship with China (and others) is sucking this country dry. The total lack of immigration enforcement is simply allowing US companies to in-source workers to undercut wages and benefits for jobs that cannot ship overseas.
I am left to hope, without much hope, that the Democratic Party will get right with the American middle class working family and face up to the real issue face our country and save the American economy.