By Congressman Pat Tiberi
Mitt Romney has been in Ohio, visiting small communities on his campaign for the presidency. He chose an interesting theme for his bus tour through the state. "Every Town Counts," he tells us. It is a message that struck a theme. Too often during the presidency of Barack Obama, it's seemed as though those of us in small towns across Ohio and throughout this country have been forgotten.
The recession has affected all Americans, but people in the heartland have borne the brunt of unemployment that's too high and hope that's in short supply. It's our homes that have been foreclosed. It's our businesses that have been shuttered. When hard times strike small towns, it ripples through the entire community. The unemployment stats aren't numbers to us. They are people we know. Our neighbors, our friends, our family.
Government can't solve all our problems, and most Americans aren't looking for a handout. But in small towns across Ohio and this country, we know what government can do to give business owners the certainty they need to create jobs, and we know what government can do to drive them away. We have our share of big corporations, of course, but most Americans don't work for them. They work for small businesses or they start them. They are private contractors and professionals. Doctors and plumbers, carpenters and lawyers. We see the economy from the ground floor, and we know that it's no mystery why the last three and a half years have been so difficult.
Obama likes to point out that he inherited a difficult situation when he became president, and that's true. But Obama's policies haven't helped, either. Under this president, we've seen new regulations rammed through at a record pace. We all know about Obamacare, but many Americans don't know about the wave of new taxes it contains, including penalties on innovative new technology companies that create lifesaving medical devices. Obama also forced through Dodd-Frank, a bill he claimed would deal with some of the problems we have seen with big, Wall Street banks. But the impact of that bill has been felt on Main Street instead, with businesses around the country finding it more and more difficult to attain the kinds of loans from small, community banks they need to stay open. While the nation's unemployment rate ticked up in May, Ohio's unemployment rate continues to decrease because of the leadership of Gov. John Kasich, reducing taxes and regulatory burdens. They are policies that Gov. Mitt Romney will champion as president.
But Obama doesn't see the impact of his policies. Obama thinks, as he recently told us, that "the private sector is doing fine." And the president wonders why so many Americans view him as out of touch with their problems.
It's an election year, and I don't expect Obama will take my advice, but if he wants to know what's going on in America, he should ditch the Hollywood fundraisers and follow Romney's lead. Get on a bus. Go to places other than carefully choreographed and constructed campaign events and see how everyday Americans are suffering.
I guarantee you, if he did, he wouldn't think that the private sector is doing fine, and he would understand why so many Americans see only broken promises when they consider Obama's presidency.