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Monday, February 9, 2015

Our national lack of compassion

I’m pretty confused right now.

As I read through Facebook comments (maybe that’s my problem) about several topics, I’ve noticed what I see as a lack of compassion these days.

Specifically as they relate to:

Health Insurance
Minimum Wage
Voter Registration
Entitlement Programs
Illegal Immigrants
(but oh, so many other topics)

(I’m going to include some links that I think are interesting to read, not necessarily to support my positions, but more to provide additional information)

I guess that folks who are against the Affordable Care Act are against…governmental intrusion into health care?  But the free market hasn’t done anything but price healthcare out of the realm of affordability for many.

In my case, I bought Blue Cross/Blue Shield Bronze plans for me, my wife, and each of my two kids (we are all healthy, by the way).  My monthly premiums total $795.03 per month, and we each have a $5,200 deductible, with an out of pocket maximum of $12,800.  This means that my potential liability, before insurance kicks in, is $21,940 per year – AND THIS IS BETTER THAN IT WAS WHEN I HAD A GROUP POLICY

If everyone in America was covered, and paying premiums into the system, it stands to common sense that premiums would drop, that bankruptcies due to defaults on medical expenses would drop (and then those unpaid bills would not be added to the cost of health care). Of course, there are other problems relating to health care costs, but right now, I’m just talking about affordable health insurance. ( )

Why do we treat people who can’t make top dollar with such contempt?  Shouldn’t everyone be paid a living wage?  Have those who say that paying people a living wage would cause prices to rise, looked at the statistics to back those claims up?  (I have, they aren’t true).  I often read “They should stay in school, get educated, and climb the ladder”  Sounds good, until you remember that not everyone is capable of doing that.  Are we saying that those people are not deserving of a living wage? (

Given the absolutely miniscule number of voter fraud cases, why are many of us so eager to make it difficult to vote?  Why is it that those with the least are so much more likely the ones to be affected by the laws that have been passed in the last few years? (

The cost of drug testing welfare recipients vs the results makes no economic sense – as a matter of fact, very, very few people are testing positive:  In Florida, the overall rate of illegal drug use is 8%, while the failure rate among Florida welfare applicants is 2%.  In Utah, 12 people IN TOTAL tested positive in a year’s worth of testing.  So, what is the point here?  It’s not about saving money, given that the cost of administering these programs is greater than the savings by keeping horrible drug addicts from receiving benefits.  Is it about making sure that we shame those who have to apply? Do we feel some sort of collective superiority? (

Did you know that illegal immigrants are helping to prop up our social security system?  Under current law, illegal immigrants are not entitled to social security benefits, but you know what?  When a worker, using a fake social security number collects his paycheck, Social Security and Medicare are withheld, and matched by the employer.  That money goes into the US Treasury.  Over and above that, though, I'm amazed on a daily basis at the nasty, mean spirited things said about these people - I'll tell you this, if I were Guatemalan, and saw an opportunity to make a better life for myself, I'd for damn sure be trying to get here, to a country where hard work can be rewarded.  Don't we like that characteristic in people? Why do we feel the need to call these people names? (

To me, though, the common theme seems to be a lack of compassion aimed at those who have nothing by those who have something – such as people like the Koch Brothers (whom I consider to be evil, greedy, men), but more surprisingly, by people a few instances of bad luck away from being those people without health insurance, or jobless, or subsisting on government assistance.

And this is why I’m confused.  Why is there so much irrational hatred in our country right now?  Has it always been like this?  I don’t think so.  Is it because ordinary people feel like their lives are out of control?  That they have no power, and therefore, must hate those who might be seen as someone who is out to get their stuff?