The Attack on the Safety Net

The attack on the safety net is motivated by ideology, not popular demand. The public isn”t taken with the vision of an ‘ownership society;’ it seems to want more, not less, social insurance. According to a poll cited in a recent Business Week article titled ‘”Safety Net Nation,’ 67 percent of Americans think we should guarantee health care to all citizens; just 27 percent disagree.

——Paul Krugman, in a column entitled, “Always Low Wages. Always,” the New York Times, 5/13/2005

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Posted on June 12, 2005, in General. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What sociological change has isolated these 67% of Amnericans who want guaranteed health care? Why can’t they get together and unionize today as they did yesterday? Does politics prevent collective bargaining or have we become a society of isolationists protecting our own property?

  2. We can’t all be capital owners. Some of us have to be capital producers. An essential characteristic of the new ownership society is the constant retraining of labor by the government as capital shuffles workers away from familiar work communities to isolated working environments. As workers are continually called to produce more capital with everchanging tools in varying locations, they become dislocated from each other and their own work identity. They cannot get together with other workers to discuss negotiating a contract with their owner/employer because they aren’t sure what their trade is called now or who else could be classed with them under current labor law.

    We have created a new type of social worker to deal with this economic problem: “occupational educator.” The occupational educator seems to have grown out of old-fashioned government subsidized vocational high school alternative institutes. Although some companies employ human resource developers who perform the same duties as occupational educators, most occupational educators will be paid with government funds. Occupational educators are the government’s response to overwhelming job loss in every career in every county in the US. It would be beneficial to study whether occupational educators give welfare recipients/clients/consumers more or less (1) actual job security (2) feeling of job security.

    Of course, this government response to job loss begs the question, “Are Americans losing job security because they are less adequately educated than in the past?” In time we will know how many jobs occupational educators have or haven’t created in the US by retraining the bulk of our nation.

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