OP-ED: Misplaced loyalties in York County

Mike Loban
Springfield Township
Republican incumbent candidates Scott Perry, left, and Lloyd Smucker greet each other during an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence who rallied at the Lancaster Airport in Lititz Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

As a longtime observer and a recent active participant in the southern York County political arena, I am baffled by the preferences of the majority of voters. Despite apparent self-defeating choices, most Republicans choose candidates who favor economic policies that are contrary to their families’ best interests.

If you are one of the many regular, hard-working, staunch Republican voters in York County and surrounding areas, your party can only continue to disappoint and frustrate you.

While corporations, the wealthy (including the super-rich), business owners and professionals benefit greatly from the recent tax reforms, typical working-class families receive the scraps. 

These tax reforms were not intended to improve the quality of your lives nor significantly improve your incomes. Instead you could easily be the victims of the federal government’s increasing massive deficits — that is the borrowed money to pay for these oversized gifts to the well-to-do — through future tax increases that will penalize those who can least afford them. 

Even senior citizens could easily be threatened with cuts to their Social Security benefits and increases to their Medicare premiums while their benefits are reduced.

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For example, just prior to the recent election, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was actively working behind the scenes to rein in these senior citizen entitlement programs in part to offset the outrageously high increase to the national debt due to the tax cuts that will not “pay for themselves” as promised. 

Fortunately, McConnell did not prevail this time because the House of Representatives changed to a Democratic majority as a result of the November elections. For now Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits appear safe.

Tens of millions of Americans still have no health insurance or have inadequate coverage. How does this improve the security of hard-working Americans? 

As a former career public school teacher, I always worked two additional part-time jobs to support my family. Though for many years my salary was relatively low, I was most fortunate to have excellent health insurance. 

Many years ago, my youngest son was born with multiple serious medical problems that necessitated intensive care for an extended period of time and several subsequent surgeries. During one period, he was being followed by 11 separate specialists. Medical bills eventually totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because my health insurance included major medical coverage, our family was spared from bankruptcy.

Post-secondary educational opportunities are quite limited for families earning less than $50,000 a year. The cost of college, technical school or trade school can be so prohibitive to families. So many are deprived of opportunities to earn degrees or acquire skills or certifications necessary to qualify to compete in the labor market. 

Very recently former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $1.5 billion to The Johns Hopkins University exclusively for scholarships for capable applicants of working class families. He knows post-secondary education is essential to gain upward mobility — something frequently denied to working class families. 

What has the Republican Party ever done to address this unfair disadvantage? I cannot think of a thing. They say it is too expensive or unwarranted, yet they cut taxes “bigly” for those who do not need those massive cuts.

It seems clear to me that working-class Republicans have hitched their wagons to a party that is very quick to dismiss their real needs. Instead the party feeds diversions to distract its supporters from realizing that their loyalty is taken for granted and also to stoke conflict and controversy to maintain that distraction. 

The Republican Party will never satisfactorily address the economic and educational issues that would impact meaningful and positive changes for your families: health insurance, a living wage, and post-secondary education/training.

When you support either Republican Rep. Scott Perry or Rep. Lloyd Smucker, you do so at your own families’ peril. All they do is perpetuate the status quo which has proven over the years to be quite inadequate for working families. They are not in it for you, but rather they are there to protect the economic interests of the privileged. 

There are so many struggling families who need their lawmakers to create solutions for families’ health insurance, access to higher education and overall economic well being.  Why are you not demanding attention to and solutions for your needs?