Public hit with invisible pay cut
Fifty years ago, a head of household could work 40 hours a week and earn enough to support a spouse and children, own a home and cars, and live the “American dream.” However, increases in wages did not keep pace with even the normal healthy rates of inflation. This accumulated over those years into ever-larger losses in purchasing power.
At first the spouse, who had been a full-time homemaker and primary child educator, went to work part time. When purchasing power declined to where that wasn’t sufficient to maintain their standard of living, the spouse began to work full time. This led to the rise of the “latchkey” generation (and problems in our education system).
When two full-time earners could not maintain the family’s standard of living, they began to make up the loss by deficit spending on credit cards. Members of Congress, all too willing to give themselves “cost-of-living” raises, were AWOL in providing the same raises for minimum-wage employees. This erosion of purchasing power has had the net effect of acting as an invisible pay cut, more automatic than congressional pay raises.
Some people are bitterly complaining about the federal health care law, calling it the biggest tax we have ever had. But taxpayers already have been paying the bills for the uninsured who get care at emergency rooms.
The mandate part of this law has been a Republican dream for many years. Republicans have wanted to stop the burden on taxpayers, who pay for the uninsured who are “too cheap” to buy insurance for themselves. Such a mandate has been supported by such conservative think tanks as the Heritage Foundation.
Most who complain about the health care law like the fact that an insurance company will no longer be able to drop you when you get seriously ill or deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Most people will like the rebate they will get from insurance companies. Lots of people will be happy that their kids get to stay on their parents’ insurance until 26.
It is the “Obama” part of “Obamacare” that some people hate. Quite a few people have developed an unreasonable hatred and fear of this president. But if people will look and see what this offers, they might actually find it is a good thing.
I am a devout Catholic, and I am dismayed that many people in our nation are so ready and willing to trample on my conscience.
I believe that birth control, abortion, sterilization, etc., are crimes against life, against family and against marriage. Every fiber of my being tells me that these things are morally wrong. And yet my country is trying to force me to support someone else’s desire for these things.
If our nation can so easily disregard my conscience on this issue, what will become of us? And what will be next? Perhaps it will be something that you find immoral. How would you feel if the tables were turned and you were forced to go against your very conscience?
I shudder to think about living in a country that disregards conscience. Again, what will become of us?
I’m not certain I understand a letter writer’s concerns regarding the recent insurance mandate (“Mandate infringes on freedom,” June 29 Letters to the Editor). He seemed to be concerned that all private health care plans will have to cover sterilization, abortifacients and contraception. But this doesn’t mean anyone will be forced to use them. It simply means the insurance companies must offer those services in their plans.
Each of us has the right to choose our religion, to follow our religious beliefs in whatever form they may take. But we as a nation must also look to what can be beneficial to those in need, and the mandate only attempts to cover those options for the people who may be in need of them.
I personally can’t connect religious freedom and the “offering” of medical coverage to someone in need or to someone whose own beliefs do not deny them that option.
While I support the writer’s freedom of religion fully, I ask that he not try to force his beliefs on others. That is the true meaning of “freedom of religion.”
TIMOTHY J. EWERTZ
The average healthy 3-year-old thinks like expected for his age. So does the 7-, 10-, 13- or 16-year-old. At each of these ages, the mental and emotional material used to make decisions is drawn only from childhood.
So what might be needed to help protect teen drivers from hurting themselves or others? Teach them that the body, brain and mind are in transition from immature childhood to mature adulthood. And regardless of intelligence, all of their decisions can still be easily influenced by childhood immaturity.
The key message to teens: If you act foolishly or carelessly behind the wheel, it’s because you are still, in essence, a child. This also applies to careless adult drivers. And having careless children or foolish adults drive anywhere is dangerous.
JOHN E. VALUSEK