We’ve now learned that Scott Brown voted for the Massachusetts universal healthcare legislation when he was a state senator, but intends to vote against the current federal legislation in its current form. Senator Brown gave his reasoning in a sound bite that National Public Radio ran for a few hours after his election victory over Martha Coakley last week. (Note that I have been unable to find the bite in the NPR online archive and since the initial coverage, Brown has made a number of more conciliatory statements on the issue of healthcare reform that suggest that he already tacking back to the center.)
What Brown said, and this quote is not exact but rather an accurate recreation of his meaning most of his words, is that Massachusetts citizens have healthcare now and so why would he vote for a bill to cover others since it would likely cost the citizens of Massachusetts more money.
In other words, “I’ve got mine. Screw everyone else.” Once again, the politics of selfishness rears its ugly head and stares down the utilitarian notion that we as a people and our elected officials should care about the well-being of the country and our human community. Freedom in the U.S. has grown to mean the freedom not to contribute to the common weal.
Changing the topic: In the January 25 issue of The Nation (which was posted on the Nation website on January 7), William Greider reminds us that Social Security is not in as grave danger as its critics suggest, as long as the U.S. government pays back the money it has borrowed from the Social Security system to offset the U.S. budget’s deficit since the Reagan administration changed the bookkeeping rules for Social Security in the 80s.
Now the U.S. has consistently paid off all the money it has ever borrowed from any source, but Greider details his fear that that it will renege on its debt obligation to Social Security if so-called “reformers” like Pete Peterson get their way. I highly recommend that you read this article, and after doing so, please send a steady stream of correspondence to your Senators, Congressional representative and the President that you want the federal government to pay back what it owes the Social Security system and that no reform of Social Security should entail any plans to write off this debt.