BY SHARON MARTIN
You mean, if people worked like dogs? My dogs are asleep on the couch.
One of the aides at school, a job whose pay doesn’t match the work and the stress, also works an evening shift as a grocery checker. She needs both jobs to provide for a disabled child.
One of the high school teachers works the evening shift at Atwood’s.
Some of the blame falls on Reaganomics. Break the unions, kill the middle class, make sure you have an abundant source of cheap labor with no options but to work for what you’ll pay them.
Low wages is the first step in the corporate takeover of the country. Restricting access to health insurance is the second.
The Republican platform isn’t kind to small business owners. Many would-be entrepreneurs can’t start their own businesses because they can’t afford health insurance.
Nor is it kind to families. Too many people work full time and still fall short. Healthcare and childcare costs have risen. It’s impossible for most families to live on a single income.
If you really believe in the sanctity of family, here are two things citizens need in return for the taxes they pay:
– Public education that prepares them not only for work but also for life
– Healthcare, including mental healthcare, for all
Public schools should teach financial literacy, healthy living, and an understanding of how government works. It starts with the ability to think critically.
Some politicians prefer citizens who don’t think.
Public schools should teach skills that return a living wage. We need plumbers and carpenters, nurses and teachers, welders and truck drivers, coders and web developers.
People properly trained for real work, not tax breaks for the wealthy, puts money into circulation and builds the economy. Education costs money, but it is an investment in a solid future.
Universal access to healthcare costs money, too, but not as much as treating catastrophic illness for the uninsured.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
In America, we pay for the pound to keep from paying for the ounce, and the reason is greed … and campaign finances.
Insurance companies, corporate hospitals, and drug companies control the market. You’ll go bankrupt if you don’t have health insurance and you get cancer. If you get cancer, and you have to leave the job that supplies your insurance, you’ll be uninsurable.
In the most powerful country on earth, a major cause of bankruptcy is medical expenses and major causes of homelessness are mental illness and addiction.
We should be ashamed. It’s clear that we can’t leave solutions to the people elected to represent us. It is up to us, the people, to fix the mess we’re in.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer