Republican Attacks On The Vulnerable

Conservatives never seem to stop finding some group of defenseless people to target. Why do some people find it so easy to bully, to take candy from children, or more importantly, their medical care? What is it about the vulnerable that make conservatives want to target them? Congressional Republicans seem to relish taking something from people who have little or nothing, just because they can.

When last, in Washington, did any conservatives ever give anything of value to those that have nothing, or next to nothing? They relish the idea of taking away, of pushing the Middle Classes into poverty, or stripping anything of value from the very poorest in this country, regardless of the circumstances that placed them in that position. Why?

The red states, mostly the South and Mid-West, are for the most part rural, religious and conservative. They are also the poorest areas in the country, and receive the most from Washington in payments from the taxes paid for by the wealthier parts of the country.

They have the highest murder rate, the highest illiteracy rate, the highest teen pregnancy rate and the highest poverty rate. Would it not be in their best interests to vote liberal, which would improve their standard of living? Perhaps it is just spite, to say to the rest of the country, since I am poor, everyone should be poor.

Wendy's Logo

Wendy’s Hamburgers

The latest brave corporate soul is Wendy’s. They have decided that to prevent having their employees receive medical care related to Obamacare, they are going to cut their hours down to 28 hours a week, making them ineligible for entry into the program mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA mandates that corporations must offer medical to employees who work between 32 and 38 hours a week.

Why are corporations so quick to target their own employees, the people without whom they would not have a business? You cannot run a successful fast food franchise without your staff, they are the single most important aspect of the business, yet business owners lash out at them first.

The employees cannot fight back, they have no union to represent them, no government officials that will fight for them. Even the customers are indifferent to their plight.

This is what happens when government removes any and all regulation from corporations; they act like authoritarian states, exploiting their workers, firing any that dissent, forcing them to work whenever and wherever the corporation so decides.

Many citizens rail about government intrusion into their lives, and yet say nothing about the creeping and insidious intrusion of corporations into their lives. Corporations increasingly run our lives in a dictatorial and authoritarian way, imposing terms on us through contracts, or agreements, or rules, which really just translate to decrees, or laws introduced by businesses.

Where government has stepped back, corporations move into the vacuum and draft legislation without due process, without elections, without accountability. This is precisely what government should be there for, as referee, as bodyguard, to make sure that people are not exploited and abused by any person or group. When government disappears, or deregulates, ordinary people are left to the depredations of the powerful.

Late last year, restaurants like Denny’s, Applebees, Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill and others tried what Wendy’s is doing now. They advertised that they were going to place their workers on temporary status to avoid allowing them to get medical insurance.

Papa John's Logo

Papa John’s Pizza

The CEO of Papa Johns Pizza’s whined that the new law would raise the cost of a pizza by between 11 and 15 cents. In my book, if that is going to help give workers medical, I will gladly pay the difference. In fact, if Congress would only raise the minimum wage, I would gladly pay even more for my fast food.

Olive Garden's Logo

Olive Garden Restaurant

The backlash was immediate, and these restaurant chains lost customers, and lost profits. Darden Restaurants saw profits slip 37% after trying this stunt.Papa Johns wanted to tack on a 5% surcharge to their bills, with the statement that customers can just give their server a smaller tip to defray the costs.

People, rightly were outraged that these chains would treat their workers in this fashion. The irony is that allowing their workers onto Obamacare would not have cost many of them in the least. Large businesses are almost totally unaffected, since they probably already offer medical, while small businesses would actually save money.

In fact, small businesses, those with under 25 employees will be treated extremely well by the new act, which provides generous subsidies to allow those businesses to offer medical care. Businesses with over 50 workers will be forced to provide medical care, which will cost these businesses around $2000 per worker per year, unless they already offer care..

The businesses most affected are those with between 101 and 1000 employees, where costs would be higher. These are businesses that are very profitable, and should have provided medical coverage for their employees anyway. That they did not is an indictment against the exploitation of the workers.

Tactics like this do not endear businesses to their customers; I for one, will just boycott Wendy’s. I am well aware that it was one franchise owner in Omaha, Nebraska, who wants to refuse his 300 employees healthcare. That does not interest me in the least.

That it is allowed by the corporation at all must be laid at their feet. They cannot abrogate their responsibilities to franchises and their employees. They cannot divorce themselves from the brand. If one owner acts in this way, the others should put pressure on him to change. If they do not, they are as culpable as he is, and probably tacitly agree with what he has done.

There is one silver lining, or there may be a silver lining. In the upcoming negotiations over spending cuts to earned benefits like Medicare, Obama may be playing a number of decent cards. He may use the opportunity presented to him unwittingly by Republicans to improve his signature medical program, the American Care Act.

Considering the countries burgeoning health care costs, much needs to be done to rein in those costs. At the current rate of medical care growth, medical will consume the entire economy .

It is clear that costs must be curtailed by whatever means necessary. If Obama can find a way to cut costs, it will be to his credit and a boon for the economy. There is no reason that medical costs should be rising at double-digit rates, other than naked greed and extortion.

Conservatives still remain intent on punishing and chastising those who have the temerity to lose their jobs, to get old, or sick, as though that is their destiny. Instead of acknowledging that there is a problem with costs, they want only to toss people off programs that save their lives, or lift them from poverty.

They appear incapable of solving a problem, of finding solutions, instead they make it worse with harsh criticism and abuse. There are always solutions to intractable problems, and they do not all include taking things away, or whipping the exploited, the downtrodden.

As the wealthiest nation on earth, you would think that intelligent people could come up with solutions that do not include disposing of the people. The only alternative explanation is the malicious nature of the conservative, who has this errant belief that in some way, he is superior, and more worthy. It is an arrogance and hubris that has caused the wars of the past, and the misery and poverty in society.

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