When you are losing the argument, shout louder! Or throw brickbats!

Has anyone paid attention to what conservatives are saying these days?

I – “Our children and grandchildren will have to pay for it.”

Well, yes; and if we don’t fix the system, it will cost them even more. Do they think you can fix broken things without cost? If it weren’t against conservative theology for us to pay for it, we wouldn’t even think about passing the buck to our children. We’d pay for it ourselves. But that’s the rub, isn’t it? What we have here is people who are unwilling to pay for the privilege of living. And they want to pass it on to someone else even if it’s their own children. Does destroying the economy help our children and grandchildren? But that’s what we’re heading for if the nay-sayers don’t stop dragging their feet and pitch in to get things done.

II – It’s European-style medicine!

And what’s wrong with that? Europeans are less likely to die in infancy than we are and they tend to live longer than we do. Does that sound as if we could maybe learn a lesson? But the Europeans decided it didn’t make sense to have a hit-or-miss system with so many missing out. We make private industry pay for health care with the result that our economy can’t compete with those who have a governmental system. Detroit can’t compete because they have to pay for their workers’ medical costs and Japan doesn’t. It’s also true that a good many southern states have foreign auto factories that don’t pay their workers’ health care. So there are Republican members of Congress from Tennessee and Alabama and elsewhere who are fighting against helping Detroit to give the foreign companies in their state an edge while pretending to be patriotic! How can they fool so many people for so long?

A few years ago I was reading newspapers from the mid to late nineteenth century and began noticing a pattern. A major employer in this part of the country in those days was the iron industry; iron was smelted in blast furnaces that were operated with water power. Water turned the wheels that pumped the air into the furnaces and when the streams froze, the furnaces stopped and workers were laid off. The workers didn’t earn enough to save much so many of them wound up begging. This annoyed their neighbors, so they got the state legislature to pass laws making begging illegal. Unemployment insurance might have been a better idea, but that would have meant tax increases.

Some things never change! Over the years we have changed a few things. We now have social security and medicare and medicaid and so on. Yes, they cost money, but they also make the world a better place. We have fewer beggars at the door, fewer children dying, a much longer life span. Could we still do better? Yes, we can! If we can get beyond the greed and fear of those who can’t see beyond their own bank accounts and start to work together for the common good.

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