Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Change New World
It's one thing to vote for change, it's another to wake up in a change new world where the constants of many years no longer apply.
Which is to say highwayscribery is feeling very stimulated.
A front page "New York Times," article says House Democrats were crafting a bill "allowing workers getting unemployment checks to qualify for Medicaid."
And not only that, but their family members would be covered as well.
What the... Hey! that's the highway scribe's family they're talking about covering.
You see, Mrs. Scribe lost her job a week after the market crashed in October and the stores which buy her designs promptly cancelled their orders. And once she was out of the shopping force the economy was bound to tank.
Now we're trying to keep our health insurance alive to the tune of $600 a month on markedly reduced income.
And wait a minute, that's a government measure that applies directly to us! the highway scribe has always been enamored with the idea of government helping him, but other than the Pell Grants of his college days - and not counting roads and stuff - he's never actually been the recipient of government assistance.
During the conservative era, our family just simply got used to the idea that the ones who got help from the government were rich people, because they invest and our role was to writhe in the Internal Revenue Service's maws.
This new reality is very bracing.
A second, front page article from the Gray Lady addresses what the stimulus bill would do for education.
Hey wait. That's a winner for us, too!
You see, presently the scribe's kid goes to a public school which was considered new and state-of-the-art when he was a kid himself back in...never mind.
Meantime, the parent "booster" club is always asking for money and not in small sums, either. Other fees pop up all the time and there are no guards at the entry points to the campus because of funding shortfalls.
It's not your father's America.
"The Times" says the stimulus bill would "shower" the nation's schools with money.
It took all the scribe's willpower to resist having a 9 a.m. martini in genuine celebration. All of it.
And that was before news later in the day that the package had actually passed.
Our lives might really improve.
Jesus, we thought the whole "Change," "Hope," "Yes We Can," thing was just great campaign marketing.
The Republican Party, which always runs a tight caucus, got their goose-stepping orders from Rush Limbaugh, who is on record as hoping the Obama presidency fails, and voted unanimously against the measure.
highwayscribery understands. It is shocking when somebody else not only takes power, but then starts acting on their promises and reordering the living room you'd grown so comfortable in.
Some think the stimulus plan is insufficient. They say a trillion dollar economy can't be fixed with a billions-of-dollars package. They don't think it will create jobs.
Of course it won't. The package is meant mostly as relief for those whom Republican policies have buffeted so harshly all these years.
To quote "The Times," the measure is "a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do."
And it is about time.
Republicans are the first to tell you that government cannot make commerce succeed. That means the private sector will have to man-up, free market style.
This money is for public projects and affairs, which is the proper provenance of government.
Lest we forget, which it seems we have.
Patience. Even for Americans, spending $800 billion takes some time.
Life does not all happen at a McDonald's drive-thru. There will be other measures required, but we'll have to go a little further down the road as a country to see what they should be.
As the president said, we did not create this mess in a day. And we won't get out of it in a day either.