Whenever I state that health care and housing are human rights, I get one of three answers. The least used answer is that health care and housing do not belong in the public sector, and that nationalizing them will lead to big government. Somehow this all ties in with the war on drugs, but nobody has clearly told me how national health and housing leads to violence in Bolivia. Another answer I get is that national health and housing are socialism and a threat to the Constitution and the Capitalist way of life. Most people simply object to the expense. My reply to all three answers is that medical care and housing are considered to be human rights in Europe. Then I ask the question nobody seems to be able to answer. Why do people in Europe have more rights than people in the U.S?
The American voters drank the Reagan Kool Aid, that getting rid of government will safe guard our Constitutional rights. Many people continue to believe this despite the evidence. Deregulation does not guarantee our rights. The more government we get rid of, the stronger grip Wall St. has on us. The American government was not meant to be a rubber stamp for EXXON and Halliburton. The American government was meant as a limit between human beings and soulless corporations. Without government, the corporations can do anything they want with us, and they don’t have to worry about consequences.
Our Constitution was meant to be an instrument of the will of the people, and that is why the Founders built change into the Constitution. Capitalism is not a part of the Constitution. The Federalist Papers extolled the virtues of Capitalism. Jefferson and Jay did not have everything their own way. Regulations protecting the individual from corporations were written into the Constitution despite the Federalist Papers. We also have a series of amendments so that the Constitution can change with the times. As conditions change to make a strict adherence to capitalism nothing more than a religious affectation, the Constitution will still be just as strong as we evolve into a more practical and humane economic system. Our civil rights will be just as strong and maybe stronger, for having a government that will support the limits between government and corporations.
The people who do not want the expense of government are really the people who drank the Kool Aid. Freedom is not a free ride. There is a monetary expense in protecting and expanding our freedom. People in Europe have a strong social safety net. They have national health. They have housing. Those who work get a mandatory month’s vacation. Why, they even have the disposable income to go to other countries for their vacations. Did you ever stop to wonder why people in Europe have the disposable income to go on vacation when most families in the U.S do not? They have higher taxes, but they have much less out of pocket expenses. Their rent is subsidized. Their health care is through their taxes. Their electric bills are though their taxes. Public transportation is subsidized. The average American pays more in out of pocket bills than a European pays through taxes. This does not mean that everything is perfect and there are no slums, but it does mean a much lower crime rate. It means that everybody has a roof over their heads. It means that not everybody has private hospital rooms, but everybody has a minimum standard of health care.
We, the people of the United States, have nothing to lose and everything to gain if we restore our government. We will have to wrest the government out of the hands of the corporations. The only people who would suffer from that would be the criminals who just stole 700 billion dollars from the American people. They would be forced to obey the law and pay their fair share of taxes for the first time in decades. No, it will not be easy to force them to pay their share, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Ask the early heroes of the unions. We can do it if we put our minds to it.