Contest to take on Boccieri
Republicans Matt Miller of Ashland, Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, Paul R. Schiffer of Canton and H. Doyle Smith, also of Canton, are vying in the May primary for the opportunity to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, D-Alliance, in November. Boccieri is unopposed in the primary for the 16th Congressional District seat. Libertarian Jeffrey J. Blevins of Wadsworth also will be on the ballot in November. Repeated attempts to receive answers from Schiffer to the following questions were not successful.
What is your position on health care reform?
Miller: I would not have voted for the recent health care bill that has become law and I would vote to repeal the law if given the opportunity to do so. Yes, we need health care reform and, yes, we need to get our health care costs under control, but we do not need a massive new public entitlement program to do so. At a time when Republicans and Democrats agree we cannot afford our existing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs, why on earth would we create a new, even larger public entitlement program and think we have the money to pay for it?
Renacci: America has the highestquality medical care in the world, but we must take measures to reduce costs and make access to health insurance more affordable for everyone. Unfortunately, the health care reform legislation recently passed by Democrats in Congress fails to address the issues that lead to high costs. The key to making health care more affordable lies with increasing competition and eliminating unnecessary overhead costs on the system, not with a new government takeover of the health care system. Any viable health care reform legislation must afford consumers the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, which will drastically expand competition in the marketplace and drive costs down. America’s health system is plagued by a constant stream of frivolous lawsuits that result in an unnecessary inflation of health care costs. Tort reform would help curb the number of junk lawsuits filed against doctors, which in turn would lower the cost of malpractice premiums.
Smith: President Obama claims to be a graduate of Columbia, but it seems he never took Economics 101. Perhaps Columbia isn’t as good a school as one has been led to believe. Economics 101 teaches that price is determined by demand and supply. If the demand goes up and supply stays constant, the price goes up. If the supply increases and the demand stays the same, price goes down. Our current administration is proposing that coverage for medical services be extended to more and more people. This increases demand, but nowhere in the current reform does it attempt in any way to increase supply. If the administration wanted to provide more services instead of increasing the price of those services that now exist, it needed to look at the problems that cause medical services to be limited. What are those problems? Medicine is a risky business to be in. If (a doctor’s) first patient has an allergic reaction to the drug he prescribed, he is subject to a malpractice suit that will destroy his ability to practice the discipline he has dedicated so much time to. Medicine is expensive. Often graduates of medical school owe as much as a half-million dollars for their education. That must be recouped. Regulations provide that the doctor’s treatment must be approved by an insurance clerk who has never taken the first class in medicine. Medical colleges have limited availability. Places in medical schools have not kept pace with the increase of population.
What is your strategy to bring jobs to Northeast Ohio?
Miller: First we need to lower our combined state and federal corporate tax rate in the U.S. Our corporate tax rate is around 39.3 percent, second only to Japan’s (39.5 percent) among industrialized nations. Second, we need to reduce our energy costs. We must not allow cap and trade to become law. I will vote against it because it will drive up the cost of our energy in a way that will further devastate businesses. Instead, we need to allow offshore drilling and we need to allow American-owned companies to drill on federally owned lands out west. We also need nuclear energy to help us become more energy independent and self-reliant. Third, we need to focus on work force development. The current Workforce Investment Act is supposed to help retrain and improve the skills of those men and women who have been recently laid off, but they come with so many rules and regulations they are not reaching people who actually need help.
Renacci: The first major component of my strategy to foster job growth would be to infuse stability and predictability into the marketplace. Right now, employers all across America are unable to determine their overhead costs and operating budgets due to the constantly evolving threats of higher taxes, higher health care costs and higher utility expenses. In Congress, I will fight for lower taxes that will give small businesses the means and the confidence to reinvest and (hire) new employees. I will also fight against policies that will have a direct negative impact on our local economy in Northeast Ohio, such as cap-and-trade legislation that will destroy our economic energy sector, which employs more than 40,000 people in Northeast Ohio.
Smith: Equivalency of taxes and tariffs for foreign and domestic production, so that domestic production can compete.
What are the biggest challenges facing Northeast Ohio?
Miller: Job creation. Trying to create a pro-business climate at a time when our Washington leaders are spending our nation so deeply into debt and creating such an unstable economic climate that business owners are fearful of expanding their operations. Energy costs.
Renacci: As is the case in much of America, high unemployment is the single greatest issue facing Northeast Ohio today. The unemployment rate in the 16th District has nearly doubled in the past 14 months, now exceeding 14 percent in some areas, which is well above the national average. While residents of Northeast Ohio have been suffering through these abysmal economic conditions, Democrats in Washington have been steadfast in their pursuit of massive government takeovers that we don’t want, and deficit spending that we can’t afford—all while jobless numbers continue to soar. I am firmly committed to implementing the low tax, limited spending, progrowth policies that we need to restore vitality to our economy and bring back jobs to Northeast Ohio.
Smith: Devaluations of the production capacity of our state.