Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The High Cost of Incivil Society

Demonizing Public Workers, Expensive Dental Work and Tort  Laws with Teeth

Oh, the morality and social civility! A couple of things:

Stop demonizing public workers. Why is it that the One Big Party of Money's increasing demonization of ordinary public employees like teachers, firefighters, garbage men and other public servants (you know, most of the ones with very few exceptions who DON'T hold Congressional seats) for “public money handouts” and “special treatment” in the form of tenure, pensions, and health care is en vogue but as far as most members of Congress are concerned, it's “hands off our Cadillac health care plans, multiple terms and a golden ticket to K Street on the way out the door”? Meanwhile, A high profile anti-teachers union billionaire (with a high school education) recently asked why teachers should be eligible for tenure while sausage makers are not. Maybe out of touch billionaires like this need to put on their thinking caps to understand that most dedicated public school teachers have invested in advanced degrees and trade off higher salaries working in the more lucrative private sector for a lifetime commitment of extra long hours to the teaching profession with negotiated earlier retirement. Conversely, what is the educational cost of entry and professional prerequisite to the demanding field of sausage making? A couple of mermaid tattoos and a background in car boosting?

Tort Laws are Vital as Dental care is very expensive. Let's take the most recent high profile example of why we need to strengthen consumer protection laws. Anyone who has ever had to undergo complicated and extensive dental work will tell you that no matter how good your health care plan is, dental work is just a token, nominal sprinkling on the cake. As we learn that Congressman Dennis Kucinich had to endure grueling and complicated dental work after chomping down on an olive pit that clearly did not belong in his sandwich, dental emergencies can and do happen, and strong tort laws are vital. Aside from a ridiculously minimal amount per annum for limited work and cleanings, individual, corporate and government sponsored health care plans - even the very best health insurance plans (like the one Congressman Kucinich has, for example) don't cover anywhere near the costs of necessary dental procedures. At least he has a job to afford the cost prohibitive dental work that he unfortunately had to endure, unlike the increasing millions of unemployed educated U.S. citizens kicked to the curb for age discrimination. (h/t Patrick Thibodeau and Sharon Machlis at Computerworld.)

It's Not the Economy, Stupid. It's Your Job!


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