Both Ways Now

We can do it either way. Either we have a teeny government and people are paid enough that they can afford the important things a modern society should offer, or the government helps provide those same things. The alternative is a system of princes and paupers.

How much does it cost to live a decent life? I’m not talking about being rich, I’m talking about basics, including health care, education, retirement, and so on. This assumes the Republican ideal: you pay everything, the government pays nothing.

Take, for instance, the $18/hr. GM is paying workers at their new plant for compacts. That comes to $37K+ annually. But private family health care coverage sits in the $15K range. Savings for a secure retirement would require about $9K. You have about $13K to live on. If your rent costs a mere $1000/mo., that leaves you $1000 for annual expenses.

Obviously, that ain’t gonna work. But that’s exactly what Republicans are trying to say we should have. It might work if everyone earned a decent living, but what GM is paying is not a decent living, and wages have been eroding for three decades.

The alternative is closer to what we have now, only there are huge problems, as we all know. Health care and retirement are the huge domestic expenses we must control. But private health insurance is way too expensive, and rising faster than anything else. Social Security is OK as is for two or three decades, but SS is not enough to live on, and changes must be made in any case. A good national health care plan, like all the other advanced nations have, costs half what we spend now, and covers everyone, but of course we mustn’t have that because that would make us a Socialist prison camp, like, say, France, or Sweden. (Republicans have been saying we’re marching directly into socialism since 1856. That’s 1856!)

Put up or shut up, Republicans. Either give us adequate pay or give us efficient government plans. The system of princes and paupers you are working toward right now doesn’t quite get it.

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