My ride-along needed to stop the other day, so I pulled into the nearest place I could find, which was Low Bob’s in Kendallville. I regretted it when I walked in and smelled cigarette smoke. Okay, so it was Low Bob’s, but I guess I don’t expect the employees of Cap and Cork to be drinking on the job.
Anyway, I used the bathroom and bought a snack. I glanced down at the flyer taped to the counter. It was written sarcastically, asking customers to thank their congressmen for a list of things, like higher cigarette tax and free health care for 11 million children. I thought about saying something to the cashier along the lines of, “yeah, those kids should get jobs and pay for their OWN health care!” but I was afraid the irony would be lost on her.
I thought about how hypocritical we are as a nation. Just earlier that morning, I saw a guy on the news who was giving a presentation to children about now not to become a victim of sexual abuse. He said something along the lines of “children are our most precious resource.” If they are, why did the author of that flyer seem to think that health care for children was wrong?
Because it comes at the smoker’s expense.
A story I read on ABCnews.go.com (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/GlobalHealth/story?id=1266515) said the CIA World Factbook estimates the United States’ rate of infant mortality is comparable to Croatia, Lithuania and Taiwan. Just about every European country is ahead of us when it comes to keeping their newborns alive. I don’t have to mention the fact that they have universal health care plans, but I will.
But getting back to the smokers and their rage at higher taxes. I wonder how many of these smokers have kids, and how many of these smokers have health care insurance. I wonder how many of the smokers’ health insurance covers their kids. I’m willing to bet the cashier who rung me up at Low Bob’s has a totally sweet health insurance plan. I didn’t get a chance to ask her, but I’m SURE she does.
Sarcasm aside, I’d like to point out there are some things that are taxpayer funded, and they don’t all completely suck. Driven on a road or walked on a sidewalk lately? Ever have to use the services of the police or fire department? Did you go to public school? Use a library? Well, shame on you for using these horrible, socalist services and facilities. You should have educated yourself, put out your own fire, shot the intruder and built your own roads and sidewalks. Okay, I’m being sarcastic again, but I’m also pointing out the hypocrisy that runs rampant in this country. Some things are okay for taxpayers to pay for, but other things, like our health, aren’t. Do you know how many people repeatedly call the police, or goof off in school? THEY are wasting MY money! That’s one of the arguments I hear from people who don’t want to pay for other people’s medical problems. Well, someone else is going to complain about paying for YOUR medical problems. My tax money is being used to pay for people on disability who spend their days drunk. It also goes to pay for women who can’t use birth control competently. There are lots of things my tax dollars pay for that I don’t approve of. I heard a Libertarian who was PROUD of the fact he was getting disability. A true Libertarian would scrape by on his own efforts.
Everyone these days wants their cut. EVERYONE. Those who disapprove of Obama’s stimulus plan are the same folks who use WIC. A conservative co-worker of mine mentioned using WIC, which pretty much convinced me that people are generally okay with government programs. They may not admit it. But when they lose their job, they want their unemployment checks. They may frown on welfare and disability for others, but as soon as their ass is in trouble, they are looking for their share.
I wasn’t eligible for unemployment this past summer, nor was I able to get food stamps. One source of income was the shitty ice cream truck driving job (I brought home, after paying for truck rental, gas, and insurance, anywhere from $5 to $40 a day. And the $40 dollar day was rare. I averaged closer to $15-20 a day.) I also mowed lawns for a couple of friends, and did a couple odd jobs for one of them. I think I sold some DVDs and CDs. Imagine what I would have gone through if I’d had a family. It was just me, a dog and a cat. But I felt incredible bitterness and resentment that my college degree, writing skills, typing skills and phone skills weren’t enough to get me a job. If I’d gotten unemployment, would I have languished until the benefits had run out? No. I would have still searched frantically for a job. But maybe the daily panic attacks I had when I woke up wouldn’t have been so bad. I wouldn’t have worried about having my utilities shut off. I did get a little bit of assistance with that, but if I’d gotten unemployment, I wouldn’t have had to get the assistance.
But it was the scariest time of my life.
I’m not opposed to helping people out. But certain people are. Take away a person’s job, savings, shelter and possessions, and I’m sure you’ll find a different person from the formerly employed individual with a savings account and a place to live. But when the jobs aren’t there, the money is gone and you have no place to live and you’re trying your best to survive and there isn’t any help available, then what?
If a college educated woman with a specialized license had to scramble four months before she found a full time job that pays less than $13 an hour, what hope does an uneducated person have? Or someone who was recently incarcerated? Or someone who was sick but wants to reenter the workforce?