“…Warren Davidson stands out as the premier economic conservative.”– Club for Growth
While my Congressman, Warren Davidson, is using the Congressional Recess to preach the Gospel according to the Club for Growth, (repeal the ACA) the ‘good news’ is not so good on the home front.
Here is a sampling of the real problems his district is facing:
Ideology over Country. In Eaton we have a heroin problem. Medicaid is one tool used to fund treatment, but our Club for Growth-sponsored Congressman decried, at an Oxford Town Hall meeting this week, the ‘moochers’ on Medicaid. As he’s vilifying Medicaid recipients for political gain, in Eaton we lost another community member to a heroin overdose the other night.
It feels like it’s time to use the tools we have — including Medicaid — to solve the problem.
Get a Job. Admittedly employment can solve a lot of community problems including reducing the number of moochers — if there are enough livable-wage jobs to go around. As I previously posted, jobs have been declining in my county for about a decade. This week, the local newspaper listed five help wanted ads. One of those positions has been advertised for at least a month (so maybe we have a labor force issue). The other four jobs:
- two part-time, low-wage entry level positions
- one for STNAs/CNAs
- a maintenance worker position with the county ($14.99-$20.51/hr)
Get a Job Part II. In the Internet age, though, the Web is the source many rely on — and Indeed’s email assured me there were ’30+’ jobs in Preble County. Turns out they were wrong. The list included three employment opportunities inside the county (the rest were in neighboring counties). The three jobs were :
- a technical writer position
- a housekeeping aide and,
- a (different) maintenance position. This position was the only one listing a wage ($10-12/hr).
Get a Job Part III. To further understand the local job market, I called one of the temp agencies advertising in my community. The agency had one job opening inside the county (April 20th). It was a second-shift, $10/hour, entry-level job that I ‘could start today,’ according to the company representative. The other position (yes, they only offered two) was in Richmond, IN (20-30 minutes away depending on job location). It paid $11.25 an hour. Since we have a drug problem in the county, I asked about drug testing and was advised I would be given an oral swab test. But, in a community crippled by heroin that test was less problematic than the second test they administer: a 2-year background check for ‘possession’ charges.
In Preble County Common Pleas Court, more than 60 ‘possession of heroin’ cases exist in the 18-month period from July 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2016. So, that would suggest roughly 80-100 cases exist in the past two years. That does not include possession of other drugs like meth, marijuana or illegally-acquired prescriptions. These cases could potentially increase that number significantly because, as one court official recently stated, ’80 percent’ of Common Pleas’ caseload is drug related. And heroin is not the only problem, according to two sources — one with the court system and one in law enforcement — ‘meth is making a comeback’ in Preble County.
Foreclosures Still A Problem. The statistic that outperform employment opportunities was the number of foreclosures and/or sheriff property sales. There were 17 listed in the legal section of this week’s paper. According to Policy Matters Ohio, Preble County ranked in the top 10 for home foreclosures every year between 2007 and 2013. In 2013, the county peaked at 3rd in Ohio before dropping out of the top 10 in 2014 when it ranked 16th. If you read Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.—How the Working Poor Became Big Business, you’ll learn how ineffective — and nonexisting — public policy in Ohio and beyond created the foreclosure problem. Several chapters in the book deal with Montgomery County which abuts Preble County’s eastern border.
Bottom line: Davidson’s worn out message of restriction and dismantling resonates with the Club that hired him (Ohio’s a gerrymandered state), but the policies won’t help Preble County. As many politicians are fond of saying (about heroin), ‘we can’t arrest our way out of it,’ well we can’t ‘dismantle’ our way out of economic depravity. Reviving the ‘Rust Belt’ is going to cost money. Federal money is available, the question is will the funds be diverted into new MOABs or into community resources.
Not all is bad in the world, though, because Bill O’Reilly, the charlatan once called a goon by Midwesterner David Letterman, has been axed. O’Reilly’s exit from the national conversation will give our country a much-needed reprieve from the angry, yelling grandpa.