We live in a nation where every child is guaranteed a free, public education. It’s a concept so important to us that there are laws requiring children to go to school. Though far from perfect, our public education system serves our nation well, and the return on our investment is incalculable. All would agree that a literate and skilled workforce benefits the entire nation.
Smarter people make for a richer, wiser nation.
So what could healthier people do for our nation? If we are wise enough to make education a right, perhaps we should be wise enough to make health care a right as well.
Detractors would have us believe that health care is just too expensive to be paid for by the government, and unless we are willing to rethink the system, they are right. As long as corporate shareholders benefit from cancer treatments and broken legs, universal health care is little more than a distant dream. For-profit medicine has given our nation the finest medicines, the newest technologies, and the best doctors and nurses in the entire world, but our nation becomes the victim of it’s own greed when we refuse to share our bounty with our brothers and sisters whose very lives depend on them.
We are smart enough to figure out a better way to treat our people; all of our people.
I wish I could say that there was money somewhere in the system to pay for universal health care, but the top 10% of income earners in our nation own more than 70% of our nation’s wealth. The top 1% of wage earners own nearly 50% of the wealth. If we must choose between universal health care or greed, I suppose the answer is pretty clear – at least to me.
Detractors would have us believe that the wealthy should not be punished for their success.
It strikes me as odd that so many Americans claim to be so proud to be an American, and yet have so little compassion for America. Is it that you love this nation, or that you love what this nation can do for you? There are those who seem to wave the Stars and Stripes with the same loyalty they show to their favorite baseball team or football team: a deep and unwavering love that should never cost more than a general admission ticket and a couple of beers.
Those who are living the American Dream did not arrive here without great public assistance. It is the result of a million immigrants who sweated out your roads, your factories, your homes, your toys. It is the result of dozens of teachers who taught you to read and write. It is lives of millions of unknown soliders. It is the wonderful consequence of a dozen generations who sweated and sacrificed and gave all they could so that we could have a better life.
Now that it is our turn to sacrifice, we can do little more than wrap ourselves in the war-tattered flag of our forefathers and complain that taxes are too great a sacrifice for us to make. These are those who ask what our country can do for them.
And so our nation will get sicker and sicker until those among us who have more than their fair share of wealth understand their obligation to pay more than their fair share in taxes.