6 Jan, 2012
Try to put yourself into their head, see it from their point of view. For example, I used to worry about losing my job, and my health insurance. Both my wife and I were in our 60s, our health could go at any time, losing your insurance can be a matter of life and death. It can be terrifying, demoralizing, the threat is never far from your mind. It can eat you alive from inside. It destroys your dignity, your self-respect, your pride, your concept of yourself as a man. Even if you get another job and start making up the difference from savings, a clot in your lung or a lump in her breast and you can be bankrupted. You can be ruined, no matter how hard you worked or how responsible you were.
Then your wife qualifies for Medicare, and you get covered by your Veterans. The threat is over, at least for the time being. You’re still old and worthless on the job market, regardless of your skills and education or experience. Now when you hear other people are losing their health benefits, you feel sorry for them, it’s a shame, but it doesn’t really affect you. It’s happening to somebody else. Somehow the sense of urgency and injustice is no longer there. The problem is remote, isolated from your own experience. You intellectually understand it, but emotionally the dread is not there.
There’s nothing you can do about it. You didn’t want to stop working, you didn’t want to give up the responsibility of taking care of yourself. You had no choice. Besides, when you were on the edge of darkness yourself, no one else seemed very sympathetic.
Now look at it from the POV of the guy who pays for all or part of his health insurance and that of his family. Every year his premiums go up, his benefits go down, and his family is threatened more and more. I know, I was there too. And now, after years of paying (like I did) he starts feeling the threat of losing that piece his employer pays, or even of losing the capability of having any insurance at all as prices go up, up, up. And somewhere, there are people like me and my wife getting OUR health benefits from HIS tax dollars. He’s going to be angry, he’s going to resent me, hate me, hate the system that makes him pay for me while he is under threat of losing the ability to pay for himself. He pays more for less and he has to pay for mine too. He will blame me for his troubles, not realizing he is just like me, a few years earlier. It pisses him off, he sees me as a threat to his family, and frankly, he doesn’t give a damn if I or my freeloading wife die an agonizing death, we are not his problem. And he resents that, it eats him up from the inside out.
But for my part, I’m fighting to keep my family alive too, and that guy can complain about me not working, but he’s not hiring me either, his only advice to me is “get a job”, but I get no offers. I didn’t make the rules, but I followed them, not that anybody seems to care now. And I don’t give a damn if him or his wife die either, I’ve got problems of my own. It’s free enterprise. We’re all on our own. And pretty soon we’ll all be in the same boat.
You go to your boss and say “Help me.” But he only answers, “What have you got that I need?” And if you don’t have it, you’re screwed. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. And every day more and more people find themselves in the same place. One day you’ll see the guy that was paying for your insurance there, and maybe someday your boss will be in that same place, too. But what can we do? When we say “Help us to help ourselves.”, they only answer “What have you got that we need?”. And every day it seems they they need more and more and need us less and less.
Well I’ve been in this system for a long time. I know exactly how it works. Maybe I was smarter than most, or maybe I just got lucky. But I’ve got what I need, for now. You’re on your own, Jack.
Yeah, its all about corporate greed and keeping the working class terrified and docile, but that’s just who profits. This is how they actually implement it.