My name is Liz Ryan Murray. I am the Policy Director of National Peoples’ Action. Like the more famous bi-partisan pair that recently announced their budget proposal, I too have a budget proposal: The Ryan-Murray People First Budget Proposal.
America spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, despite our uniquely non-socialized system, yet our health outcomes are at or below the bottom of the range for developed countries. Total healthcare spending in the US amounts to $8,500 per person, more than double the $3,900 median value for healthcare spending in 21 other advanced economies. And what does all this extra spending provide US residents? Fewer doctors (2.5 per 1,000 people vs. 3.5 elsewhere) and lower life expectancy (78.7 years vs. 81.2).
Republicans on Capitol Hill have almost unanimously balked at raising the debt ceiling without extracting significant policy concessions from the White House. Their key demand, to delay implementation of Obamacare is a non-starter, and they know it. And, as usual, they also throw in their demands for long-term cuts in Social Security and Medicare. No matter how much they may invoke his name, this is not the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan. It is not the party of fiscal responsibility.
In the case against ACA, petitioners argued that the individual mandate violates individual consumer’s autonomy. If Congress is allowed to impose an insurance mandate, consumer liberty will be at an end. By their logic, the purest expression of individual liberty is our right to buy or not to buy things, and the government cannot compel us to buy anything. If we allow Congress to violate consumer liberty, what’s to stop Congress from making us eat broccoli? But if this is such a precious liberty, enshrined in the Constitution, why are states allowed to violate it?
On October 17, 200 organizers, scholars, theologians, ministers, cultural workers and community leaders will gather at the Union Theological Seminary for a symposium on the shared roots of two moral crises: mass incarceration and mass detention/deportations.
Briefly, here is a sketch of the historical trajectory of how we view who is a productive working person and who is not. From the late 16th century, white settlers were seen as productive and virtuous as they toiled to make the land yield sustenance and wealth. Native communities were seen as less industrious and worse, as ‘idle.’ There was a theology behind this notion of cultural 'idleness.' English preachers declared that God intended for people to fully exploit the land.
Perusing Facebook today, I noticed several Labor-Day-themed messages. Many of these were variations on the "brought to you by the Labor Movement" theme: weekends, occupational health and safety, paid holidays, an end to child labor, retirement security and more. All great things. And I thank those who fought for these changes and benefits. At a time with most of these gains are under threat, it is important to remember the struggles that made such gains possible.
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