Yes, I know…I said I don’t like posting about politics. But you know what? I just can’t sit here anymore and be branded by some as “brainwashed” or be told I “drank the kool-aid” because I happen to believe that universal healthcare is a good thing. I work in a hospital and everyday I see and hear from both sides – the extremely rich who come here from all corners of the world and the poor and grateful who have leveraged every penny of credit to afford treatment.
And right now, the thought rattling around in my head (which was inspired by this post, which doesn’t directly make the same connection) is “If we were talking about education, would the argument be different?” Because, just like healthcare, no where in the Constitution does it say that I as a tax payer have to pay for public schools. And it doesn’t say anywhere in that document that the US has to provide free and compulsory schooling to everyone. Education itself isn’t even mentioned in the Constitution or the Amendments.
But we do pay for it even if you don’t use it or like it. It’s a “public option” if you will and while some may choose to pay additional funds to send kids to a private school, we as a society provide a State and Federal government-run school system for every child in the country. And yet, I hear no one yelling “that’s blatant Socialism!” over our education system.
Our system of public education has downfalls, that’s for sure. Here in Ohio our schools are still illegally funded after our funding system via local property taxes was declared by the courts to be unconstitutional in 1997. And yet we still continue to pay our taxes year after year and only really grumble when a new levy comes up. Public schools have not destroyed the private school system. 89% of kids in this state use the public option of schooling while the other 11% still pay into the public funding structure and pay additional funds to attend private schools. Choices exist even in a government-run compulsory education system.
I used to work for one of those private schools. Not every kid there is a rich kid. There are plenty who have families who leveraged every penny of credit and aid to afford tuition. But when the going got tough they weren’t faced with the option of no schooling at all – they had the public system to fall back on. If their kid was diagnosed with a learning disability that the private school couldn’t handle, they weren’t told “tough luck –it’s a pre-existing condition. Good luck finding help.” And no one has ever had to have a car wash to send their kid to kindergarten.
It can be argued that both education and healthcare are answers to the call to “promote the general welfare” of our people as laid out in the preamble of the Constitution. So why are some people so perfectly happy to accept one and say they are “terrified” of the other?