COLUMBUS, Ohio — At 3 p.m. on a weekday, it’s more challenging to amass families, conservatives and Republicans for a rally than it is to gather protestors for Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary. Yet, approximately 500 people gathered on the west lawn of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to hear Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Several parents made this a family outing today, bringing their children to hear Rubio. Julie Carter of Columbus is a mom of two toddlers, and is concerned for their future. “I don’t think the country is going in the right direction under Obama,” said Carter, before Rubio’s speech. “Romney has excellent business experience, and Ryan has the fiscal side down. I think they’re the ones that can get us back on track.”
Rubio seemed to address Carter’s specific concerns as he explained how the national debt, taxes and the economy are linked. “The problem is that when you have a $16 trillion debt, people who invest money in the economy realize that that’s going to have to be paid back somehow,” Rubio explained. “It probably means higher taxes in the future — much higher taxes in the future.” Explaining the relationship between taxes and jobs, Rubio continued: “The problem with higher taxes is the higher the taxes, the less profit there will be in the future. The problem with that is if you believe your profits will be less in the future because your taxes will be a lot higher, you’re less inclined to invest in that economy.”
As I was mingling amongst the crowd, I overheard a woman, Sharon Pettit, saying that the media was not covering this event today. While the cameras on the platform were few in number, I wanted her to know that this event certainly was receiving media attention. After introducing myself, I learned that Pettit resides in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus half of the year, and Rubio’s home state of Florida the remaining months. In fact, she attended today’s event because she believes “Rubio is going to be the next president after this one.” She stated that she is supporting Romney because “we’re not socialist,” and, “he is more business oriented … not just a politician. He’s been in other things and has a wider view of economics.”
Usually we hear politicians talk about how the debt will be paid by our children, or our grandchildren. In an effort to make sure the audience understood how precarious the debt situation is for this nation, Rubio said, “We’re talking about the debt we may even live to have to deal with.” This line was especially unnerving to J.D. Kaplan, a graphic designer who resides in Dublin, Ohio. “This debt is going to be around a lot longer than we think it is if we don’t do something about it now,” Kaplan reiterated.
In a city with a major university, Rubio pointed out in his speech that students will be graduating from Ohio State University who cannot find any jobs. In an exclusive interview with Rubio after his speech, I asked him about the importance of the youth vote in Ohio and why young voters should support Romney. “I think ultimately, as I mentioned here today, you look at students who are graduating who cannot find a job in what they studied for, owe a bunch of money on student loans and have had to move back in with their parents because the economy’s not growing. I think the most important thing we need is a president who understands how the economy grows and what government can do to help it grow. This president does not — Mitt Romney does.” This is an important message for younger voters who may have supported Obama in 2008 to be a part of history who now find themselves without a job, a residence of their own or a way to pay back the loans from college.
After the speech, Carter pointed out that she had not heard someone explain as clearly as Rubio did that the economy will not grow as long as the debt continues to grow. “As long as the debt is hovering over us, nothing else will happen and nothing else will grow,” said Carter. “A lot of families try to live debt free, and the government needs to start taking that approach, as well.”
Ohio is now number one in the Midwest for job creation, due mostly to Republican Gov. John Kasich and a legislature that have balanced the budget without raising taxes. In fact, taxes have been cut in the state. The turn around in Ohio began only after Republicans took over all of the statewide offices and the legislature. In Ohio, our elected officials understand how debt, taxes and the economy are linked, just as Rubio explained Monday. As a result, they are succeeding in their efforts.
Rubio made it clear that, with a President Mitt Romney, Ohio will have a partner in the White House who will help growth continue not only in the state of Ohio but also throughout the nation.