Saturday, May 24, 2014

Extending unemployment benefits is a no brainer

Mike Collins May 14 guest commentary “Unemployment benefits need real discussion” talks about taking a second job as the solution for workers not earning enough. What Collins doesn’t consider is that with nearly 2.5 workers for every job opening there aren’t enough jobs for everyone to have just one let alone two. He also doesn’t take into account that many of the low wage jobs in Texas are fast food and similar jobs with highly variable schedules that don’t lend themselves to having a second job.

Those opposing extended unemployment benefits while the economy is still in a slump claim that those on benefits are somehow shirkers and living high on the hog at our expense. That’s just crazy talk given that the maximum weekly benefit is $454 which wouldn’t pay my family’s medical bills and insurance let alone housing, transportation and food.

When this nation has a full employment policy and finds meaningful work for everyone who wants a job then I’ll support cutting extended unemployment compensation. Doing so while so many in Texas are unemployed or under-employed just makes a bad situation worse.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Real Christians would expand Medicaid, Campbell and Patrick not so much

Republicans politicians like Texas Senator Donna Campbell make a big deal about being Christians when campaigning yet when it comes to caring for the least among us she and other Republicans like Sen. Dan Patrick turn a blind eye. They had a golden opportunity to make the lives of hundreds of thousands of Texans better by expanding Medicaid as offered by Obamacare. Campbell and Patrick chose to play politics instead and now, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, an estimated 1261 Texans will die needlessly every year simply for lack of medical insurance. My old Catholic school principal, Sister Agnes, would not call that Christian behavior.

Another recently published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that expanding health insurance coverage saves one life for every 830 people covered. The group of Harvard researchers used Massachusetts as a reference since the state provided the model for Obamacare in the 2006 legislation signed by then Gov. Romney.

So if conservatives in Texas really want to act on their Christian principles they’ll vote Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Governor and Dan Boone for Texas senate because they’ll work to expand Medicaid and save the lives of our neighbors, co-workers, employees and their families.