Thursday, February 11, 2016

Free Stuff for the Dumb

I do not want “free stuff”, I honestly do not know of any Sanders supporter who just wants to be given anything, despite the claim. We want stuff, like the rest of the world, but we also accept that nothing in life is free, everything costs money. But there is one thing that we want that is free, a chance. A chance to start our adult life free of debt, the ability to earn money, to own a home, live the American Dream. We want a life where we aren't burdened by student loan debt, just to get into an entry level job, or a job that requires slaving away for barely enough to keep food on the table.

I hear this from conservatives and Clinton supporters, liberals want free stuff. From the Clinton camp, Sanders supporters want free stuff. No, we want a better world, I want a life which requires slightly less strategy to live than a war requires to survive. I am not alone in this. Many people will say live within your means, but lets think about this. For many people, their means are roughly $220 a week, I was barely scraping by on that without a wife and kid(s). That afforded me the opportunity to move back in with the parents, keep up a cell phone bill, and help out with their standard of living (help with utilities, groceries, etc) but not enough to do much else.

Oh I could have done other things, I could have went out or something, but the truth was, by the time I got done working 60-70+ hours a week, I was often too spent to do much of anything. You see, when your base means is around $200 a week, you have to work that overtime when it comes to do anything. So you are always in a constant struggle, lack of money, or lack of time/energy to do anything. That needs to change, that needs to be different. People need down time, they need time and energy to meet people, to get out, to enjoy life. Jobs need to pay enough that 40 hours a week can support a person, and their family. This needs to be now, not in a decade.

We need a single payer health care option, so the specter of injury or illness does not bankrupt a person. The PPACA was a good start, but because of failings on a state level, it is no where near effective enough. The merits of a single payer system have been listed repeatedly, and honestly, I do not have anything more to add to the debate. Anything I would say or add is just beating a dead horse, time to wait for the water to rise so it gets washed away. I do not want “free health care”, I want to be afforded a situation where not only could I afford it on my own without a great deal of financial suffering, but I also want protection from not being able to afford it. Something, that as good as the PPACA is, does not do.

Education, is needed. With many jobs needing a formal secondary education, specific certifications, and specialized training, education needs to be affordable. For profit education is fine in my book, but not as it stands today. Like everything else, how much profit is too much profit? At the rate it is going many people are being disqualified from jobs they could make a living at, or be happy doing, simply because they cannot afford to pay for the education they have with them. I could see myself working on a farm again, if the pay was there. I could be content working security, if I could support myself with it. I greatly enjoyed both lines of work, I was good at both jobs, but ultimately, the measuring stick of being a good job is dependent on pay. But education, we want free education, I have never heard a Sanders supporter say that, even I haven't said that. I do not expect that my college loans will be forgiven, I would not want them forgiven. It is a debt I chose to incur, it is one I must repay on my own. With a decent paying job, it is something that is within reach.

Do you see where this is going? It has recently been claimed that the Sanders camp supports him because free stuff. I am sure that if you dig deep enough, find someone young enough, you might find someone who wants free stuff that is going to fight for him, because free stuff. But the majority, we don't want free stuff (if I wanted free stuff, I know where to go find it), what we want is the opportunity to make our own way in the world. Something that so many currently feel is not achievable. Sorry, but all the feel good, boot strapping stories do little for people down here in the low man's land. They are merely anecdotal stories, fairy tales if you will. Sure, someone somewhere might get lucky enough, while putting in the hard work, but lets all be real, if hard work, pulling yourself up was all it ever took, then why aren't we all up there? Why is it that the 1% are people like me, or even like you? Sanders has tapped into it, this notion that hard work is part of the solution, a little luck helps, but a level playing field will win the day. To level that playing field we need to do something with income inequality, taxes, heath care, education, a living wage, and jobs.

You can jump the minimum wage today, and you will gain ground in the economy. But imagine we raise the wage, plus put a massive spending package forward to vastly improve/upgrade our infrastructure today, reversing the more people looking for less jobs trend. Sure, companies would continue the trend of moving jobs away, as they have since President Clinton sold us out to free trade, but with a large enough package of spending on everything (roads, levees, dams, the electrical grid, cable/internet lines, bridges, converting to green energy), you could offset those losses. Nothing free there, people work, people make a good living, bills get paid, taxes are paid (if you are into that kind of thing), and all is right with the world. People start getting ahead, and that is what we need.