Liberal, Irreverent

Sunday, November 3, 2013

When the floor falls

The safety net (food stamps, social security and the social health care network comprised of Medicaid, Medicare and now Obamacare) makes a difference in the daily lives millions of people. It is the difference between living in misery or living with some dignity. The difference between eating that night or going to bed hungry. The difference between getting treatment when sick or injured or dying. No one in their sane mind could argue against the need of having food, medical attention and some income for daily living, unless of course, if you are a republican.

The safety net means peace of mind and freedom. You know that if your luck turns south and you end up in the ranks of poverty, you will have help for food and medical treatment, until you can get back on your feet. You pay to Medicare and Social Security during all your working years and you know that you will have a pension and healthcare when you retire. No one can argue against this, unless of course, if you are a republican.

Imagine America back in the old days, when the current safety net was not available. Back when your own personal savings were your only hope of income and healthcare during retirement. You surely would be more afraid of leaving that dead end job, and even more afraid of being laid off. You may think twice before taking that business venture. Saving for a pension and healthcare would become two new bills to pay every month, consuming a good chunk of your budget. Those who could not manage to save, or did not save enough, or did not invest wisely would end up in misery shortly after retirement. Abuses toward workers would grow, especially toward older workers. Workers bargaining position (regardless of union status) would weaken, driving salaries and benefits down.

Without the safety net the labor makeup of America would be very similar to a third world country.  The gap between the rich and poor would grow even wider and the middle class would disappear completely. Working America would resemble one big pool of modern day slave labor. Destroying the safety net benefits the top 1% and that is why republicans are pushing for it. After all, republicans are just the political agents of the wealthy and their corporations.

While Washington discusses how to balance budgets at the expense of the poor and middle class, very little has been said about corporate welfare, tax loopholes and the bloated defense budget. Funny (and contradictory) is that republicans believe that jobs and economic prosperity come from the top down, but balanced budgets come from the bottom up.

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