Nationally, employee rights are maligned by people like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as simply being out of touch with the incentives of opportunity. Mitt seems to be most enthralled by the opportunistic possibilities that gave him advantages that are not open to everyone. Barry Goldwater was once cartooned saying, “Why don’t all you (poor people) go out and inherit a department store?” Another conservative.
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan would cut Medicare back into a limited voucher system to allow tax reductions, reductions for high-income taxpayers! They seem to think this will somehow help the poor in the end. Indeed, the poor will feel like they are getting it in the end.
The big things that divide us from one another come from the huge economic inequity that characterizes our country. The “have-nots” are a large majority, but a minority of “haves” control the great bulk of national wealth. Our world is more unequal now than it has been since the Great Depression. This is not the world of a healthy society. That is why we need a local candidate who thinks for himself rather than rubber-stamping Republican rhetoric.
The symptoms of this malaise are fractious feelings, poor health and poor mental health, a sense of injustice not even recognized, much less addressed. All this undermines finding equal opportunity, because equal opportunity itself is undermined. All too often the unemployed are the ones the finger of blame is pointed at.
We need social supports that uphold the dignity of those who get trapped in conditions not of their own making. Unemployment insurance and Worker’s Compensation were put into place by Franklin Roosevelt. But also needed now are government programs that support full employment, and a living wage for all workers.
People want to work, and to be self-sufficient. They want the opportunity to earn self-respect, and the ability to support their children. We all need to be useful and connected by the sense of participating in a productive community.