On Wednesday, Sept. 2 the Adams County Democrats Club hosted a luncheon for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) at the American Legion Hall, Post 594, in Peebles.
Brown received an enthusiastic welcome from the crowd that included both Democrats and Republicans. The Senator spoke on several topics from health care to income inequality to international trade.
He talked at length about the skepticism surrounding the Affordable Care Act. “It’s hard to get people to accept something like the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “It was also difficult to get people to accept Social Security in 1936 and Medicare in 1965. No one understood how they worked either, but in 78 years Social Security has never missed a single check.”
He drew applause when he spoke about income inequality and protecting the middle class from Wall Street’s greed.
“Wages have not kept up with productivity,” Brown said. “Taxpayer money is being used to subsidize big business by providing food stamps and other social services to employees who are not paid a fair living wage. “Wall Street, he added, brought the economy to the brink of destruction in 2008, and Republicans want to remove the restrictions that protect the middle class from their greed.”
Brown also attributes some of the disparity between wages and productivity to the loss of unions in America.
“After the Second World War up to the Reagan years you saw a parallel between productivity and wages,” the Senator said. “But then the unions that protected worker’s rights and wages began to decline. There were once many good paying union manufacturing jobs that supported families, but they aren’t there now.”
Brown also expressed concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement between the United States and 11 Asian nations.
Typically past agreements like NAFTA have resulted in well-paid manufacturing jobs being replaced with low-paying service jobs. “We can’t continue to make deals that give corporations handouts while workers get sold out,” he said.
Brown also visited the GE Aviation testing facility near Peebles. He met with workers and company leadership and was given a tour of the plant, considered the world’s foremost jet engine testing facility.
“GE Aviation isn’t just leading our state’s aerospace supply chain, it is critical to our nation’s economy,” Brown said. “But to ensure that businesses like GE Aviation and its many thousands of supplier businesses in Ohio can grow and create jobs, we must renew the Export-Import Bank.”
The Export-Import bank is the official export credit agency of the United States federal government. Operating as a government corporation, the bank finances and insures foreign purchases of United States goods for customers unable or unwilling to accept credit risk. According to its charter, the bank does not compete with private sector lenders, but rather provides financing for transactions that would otherwise not take place because commercial lenders are either unable or unwilling to accept the political or commercial risks.
Brown, ranking member of the U.S. Senate committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, has worked with GE Aviation to call for renewal of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which expired at the end of June. Since 2007, the Ex-Im bank has provided direct financial assistance to more than 350 Ohio businesses, including GE Aviation, to support $3 billion of exports. Brown has been a long time proponent of the EX-Im Bank and, following the charter’s expiration, helped the Senate pass an amendment to the transportation bill that would reauthorize the bank through September 2019.