Sunday, October 21, 2007

SCHIP again

This is a long windup. I dropped out of the Republican party back when I was in college. Just as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson turned me off to the more conservative branch of Christianity, William Bennett caused me to reject the GOP itself, although fiscal conservatism is something I lean toward. Why? He wanted to eliminate the federal subsidies of student loans. Even though our family was middle class, we didn't have "wealth" and I was the first in my family to go to college. So I needed those student loans Bennett sneeringly rejected as subsidies for stereos and spring breaks.

Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, hardly bleeding hearts, worked hard for this compromise that the extreme wing of the party rejected. And the language those people use reminds me of Bennett and the student loans. As someone who worked at KFC, JC Penney, McDonalds, a sub shop, often until 1 a.m. before morning classes, I really, really resented that.

To me, the SCHIP is along the lines of federally subsidized student loans, or even FHA loans. It's a subsidy, not an out-and-out payment. Families still have to pay premiums, but they get a discount. These are the working poor and working middle class who can't afford insurance for themselves, but want to protect their children.

Most Americans, if you put it in those terms, would not object at all to the coverage. It's not the kids' fault their parents don't have jobs that include insurance. And it keeps getting dropped from more and more jobs.

As an aside, something that strikes me when I read the messages of hatred toward the Fosters or Bethany's family, instead of any ounce of empathy or "there but for the grace of God," a lot of these folks seem to be worried that someone is going to get a break that they didn't receive. And my guess is, if you automatically assume someone must be cheating, you must tend toward that yourself. Maybe IRS needs to carefully audit their tax returns.

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