In the midst of the ongoing grandstanding in Washington, D.C. between the different factions that make up the Republican party and the Democrats and the Administration (which we can only hope, given how quiet it has been in the current media exchange, is engaged in so behind-the-scenes negotiations), there have been many statement about living within your means. Many of the talking heads that comment on the issue love to bring up how individual Americans must live within a balanced budget and thus, in their opinion, so must the U.S. Government. The Tea Party is also very fond of the point of view. Both groups also believe and very strongly remind us every chance they have that “Obama-Care” is the obvious cause of much of our current troubles. Somehow these people believe that a good life in America does not require much money and that a healthy life is something that we all achieve just by living. Further, there are often insinuations that anyone who finds themselves in financial difficulty must have done so through their own bad behavior.
Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation does not even seem to believe that being poor in America is a very bad life:
“… Their kitchen had a microwave, refrigerator, and oven and stove. Other conveniences included a clothes washer and dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone and a coffee maker.
The home of the average poor family was in good repair and not overcrowded. In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average European. (That’s average European, not poor European.)
The average poor family was able to obtain medical care when needed. When asked, most poor families stated they had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs.
Needless to say, most Americans do not think persons living in such conditions are ‘poor.’ So why does the Census Bureau insist that one in seven Americans live in poverty, even though most do not appear to be poor? …”
Just so everyone understands, to be classified as poor in America a family of four has to earn $22,350 (£13,607, €15,562, C$21,351) or less in a year. Housing, food, transportation, clothing, healthcare, EVERYTHING on about $110 per week per person. Mr. Rector and The Heritage Foundation may not think that “persons living in such conditions are ‘poor’”, there may be many other Americans who do not think that persons living in such conditions are “poor”, but I and, I hope a majority of American believe very strongly, that persons living in such conditions are “‘poor”.
But what happens if serious illness hits? What happens if serious illness hits and the family of fours has earnings of $50,000 per year? It seems like so much money. But even if the family has been responsible and has not run up large consumer debt, illness can put the family at significant risk. A study jointly carried out by Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School found that over 60% of the personal bankruptcies were medically related because the individuals either had more than $5,000 (or 10 percent of their pretax income) in medical bills, mortgaged their home to pay for medical bills, or lost significant income due to an illness. What is of real concern is that the study also reported that three-quarters of the people with a medically related bankruptcy had health insurance. The people were bankrupted anyway because there were gaps in their coverage like co-payments and deductibles and uncovered services. Other people had private insurance but got so sick that they lost their job and lost their insurance.
The Tea Party groups say we cannot afford the tax we pay now. They say the reason we have economic problems is we have stifled business with the rampant entitlements that are dragging the country into an early grave. Actually, America is one of the least taxed developed countries in the world. Just look at the graphs.
All I can figure is that what they really want is to make the U.S. into a third world country. Then they would not have to export all those jobs. And if they can just get rid of all the healthcare programs, those of us who get ill will die off early and then they won’t have to worry about what to do with us if we ever have the nerve to want to retire.
If those of us who have reasonable incomes don’t stop being so damn fucking greedy, this country is going to implode. You idiots in Congress,
RAISE OUR FUCKING TAXES!
You do not have to break our backs but you have to pay to keep this country as a worthwhile place to live. It needs to be a place that cares for its people. not a place that treats those with problems as cast-offs to be flushed down the sewer. Sure you should not just throw money away. But you have a responsibility to do the right thing and the right thing is to provide for the general welfare and the general welfare is to make sure all people in this country live a good healthy and safe life.
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