Work, Work, Work!
The bond between work and reward in America is unusually strong going back to Captain John Smith at the first colony of Jamestown, Virginia in the early 1600’s. Captain Smith said, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat”, and he cut off the daily food ration for those who were not working. After that, America was like a lightening locomotive on the fast track to economic development and personal prosperity on a seismic scale and at a streaking speed never before seen in all of human history. How does this basic bond between work and reward still show up today?
(1) To receive Social Security benefits, either you or someone in your family must work and pay for these benefits with paycheck deductions from earnings. This is not welfare or an entitlement. Although sponsored and guaranteed by the federal government, this is a type of insurance plan that is bought and paid for by work.
(2) To receive Medicare benefits, either you or someone in your family must work and pay for these benefits the same as with Social Security even though Medicare is also sponsored and guaranteed by the federal government.
(3) To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must have lost a job covered by this type of insurance plan that is guaranteed by the federal government in conjunction with the states. Although your employer pays for these benefits, this cost is taken into account when employers establish compensation levels. It is another directly connected work related benefit.
(4) Retirement plans result from many years of work. Even though many retirement plans are fully funded or guaranteed by an employer, those plans that are not fully funded or guaranteed usually involve sponsorship and participation by an employer such as 401(k) plans where employers match contributions from their employees, deducting the workers’ contributions from their paychecks. It is all based upon work. If an employee stops working, the retirement benefits stop accumulating.
(5) Other fringe benefits are also based upon work performance, and there are many possible such as life or disability insurance, dental plans, vision plans and medical savings accounts that are gained or made available through work.
(6) Then there is health insurance. Until now the most typical way to obtain health insurance was by getting a job. The employer would either pay for the health insurance coverage or part of the cost or at least make a plan available based upon a lower group rate, but it was all based upon continuing work. Now all of that has changed. Through legislation ironically named the Affordable Care Act, health insurance is not only being made unaffordable but also unavailable. The federal government has perversely provided employers with a huge incentive to stop providing or assisting with health insurance coverage by exempting part-time employees from its required coverage, taking away not only the health insurance coverage but the 8-hour work day and the 40-hour workweek as legions of workers are reclassified as part-time. Now our workers must subsist on less than 30 hours of paid work per week with no health insurance coverage. This is not government providing more or better health insurance coverage. It is government destroying workers’ and others’ existing health insurance coverage and wrecking the existing health insurance industry with no gains in sight.
On Labor Day we should have apologized to American workers for loss of work-related health insurance benefits, loss of full-time employment compensation including massive job losses caused by incompetent government policies that do not work and political interference with our free enterprise system. We should not be surprised. Congress did not even read the so-called “Affordable Care Act” before voting on it and imposing it like a ton of bricks on the American people and our free enterprise economy to drag us down. Now Congress wants to exempt itself from the law it passed apparently while in a politically induced stupor. They obviously did not know or care what they were doing.
During the ensuing years, the House of Representatives in Washington repeatedly voted time and again to repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act, knowing that the repeal will not pass the Senate or be signed by the President. However, the House of Representatives has not even once voted to defund the Affordable Care Act or any part of it even though they know the overwhelming majority of the American people do not want the so-called Affordable Care Act. This is in spite of the fact that our Constitution confers the power of the purse on the House of Representatives, stating that all revenue, spending and taxing legislation must originate in the House of Representatives. The fact that there is legislation authorizing a program does not mean that it will be funded. There must be separate annual budget legislation or a congressional continuing budget resolution to provide funding. Voting to fund a program is voting for that program, and it is self-defeating and idiotic to vote to fund a program while screaming opposition to it. A rational approach would be to vote against funding a program that is opposed. Who votes for funding something they are against? This occurs only in Congress! The American people apparently have much more sanity than their elected representatives.
There seems to be some confusion about who would be shutting down the government and what is actually involved. Essential functions continue even during a “government shutdown”. The shutdown is not complete. It is partial, and it is the Senate and the President who would be “shutting down the government” based upon petty partisan politics because they cannot get their way on legislation that is destroying America.
Even more permanently damaging to America is the destruction of the connection between work and reward as government benefits balloon with no work component or requirement. The welfare/work reform of the Clinton Administration is now being swept away by huge governmental gift programs. As overall jobs, work and productivity decline in America, the nation also steadily declines. Will no one revive the patient before it is too late, or just lay our nation to rest, buried under an avalanche of government gifts and rewards without any work connection at all? Perhaps, as we pass off the stage of history, we will erect one last monument in Washington to the vanishing America worker, on the endangered species list and headed for extinction.
Fighting for Freedom,
On Guard for You,
I have just begun to write!