Private Depends on Public

I was so relieved to learn via the 7/10/2017 news item in the Butler Eagle that the most serious problems facing America today, according to Rep. Mike Kelly, are “tax relief” and “education reform”. There was no mention of “global warming” or “health care”, which I found curious.

Global warming is the greatest moral issue facing our generation. The earth is warming dangerously and quickly, and that warming is methodically causing climate calamities, including extreme cold. Yet our representatives are mute on the dangers that are present now. They not only fail to address this major danger to our planet, but they call it something else, “climate change”. Why not call it what it is, global warming!

Every American should have access to a state-of-the-art affordable health care system. This is a basic freedom issue, not an insurance issue. If you have cancer and don’t have health care, you are not free. If you are in an auto accident and suffer injuries and don’t have health care, you are not free. Ill health enslaves you. Disease enslaves you. You cannot be free without affordable, available, state-of-the-art health care. But our representative does, not mention freedom as a basic human right.

Instead, Mr. Kelly wants less “government regulation”, so more jobs might be created. I assume he means government “protection”, which protects the public from harmful products and fraud by unscrupulous or irresponsible businesses. We should all support keeping and extending protections for consumers, workers, retirees, and investors. Let’s call them what they are, “protections” not “regulations.”

Congressional Republicans called for immediate elimination of regulations from the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Security and Exchange Commission. What would be eliminated?

Protections against cancerous poisons in foods, drugs untested for their safety, unsafe drinking water, air pollutants that get into your lungs and can’t get out, fraudulent stock sales, unscrupulous mortgages. That is what our representatives in Congress are proposing, hiding it behind the word “regulations.”

Mr. Kelly says, ”The No. 1 problem we have today is that we’re not getting young people ready for the opportunities that exist right now right here….”. He is hinting at public school failure and that vouchers for religious or private schools give parents ”choice”. Those vouchers tend not to pay for high-quality schools, so that poor families that receive them tend not to get high-quality education for their children. But for wealthy parents, the vouchers represent public support for the wealthy and a cut in support for those who lack wealth.

Conservatives like Mr. Kelly, in the state legislatures are cutting funding for higher education, with two horrendous consequences. State run colleges and universities used to be the gateways to education for poor and lower-middle-class students. With funding cuts, most state institution are forced to raise tuition, pricing higher education out of reach for a great many poor and middle-class students. In order to realize a college education these students take on huge debt, which leads to the second problem, student debt. Present calculations are that if the government forgave all student loans, it would boost the nation’s economy far more than the cost of the loans. However, I see no plans in the future for loan forgiveness.

Mr. Kelly also states that the need for “tax reform” is high on his to do list. He said,” lowering taxes on small business and business in general will stimulate growth.” Again I assume he means “tax investment” that brings together the common wealth to build a common infrastructure that we all need to fulfill our individual dreams. Those who benefit most from the common wealth should pay the most to sustain it. Taxation is what you pay to live in a civilized country-what you pay to have democracy and opportunity, and what you pay to use the infrastructure -paid for by previous taxpayers: the highway system, the Internet, the entire scientific establishment, the medical establishment, the communications system, the airline system. All are or were paid for by taxpayers. Without all of this, the blessings of modern America‘s private life and private enterprise (such as Mr. Kelly’s Auto business) would not be here. The private depends on the public. Public resources make private life/business possible.