It sneaks up on everyone. I look in the mirror and see a white haired older man looking back at me. When I was young, I would have called that man old. I've had a heart by-pass and more recently a colectomy. They removed a fairly large part of my colon during that procedure. As a result of my colectomy, I had another surgery for an incisional hernia. That didn't work and now I have a grapefruit sticking out of my belly. I'll have another surgery to correct that.
Years and hardships have a way of tempering our views. Life knocks us down and teaches us lessons. If you've read any of my columns, you know I have strong conservative leanings. What you may not know is that I care deeply about the have nots. Those are the people who struggle far more than I with illness. They also struggle with unemployment and underemployment.
George Bush coined the term compassionate conservative. That sort of describes me; I believe our government should always help the helpless. I strongly believe in helping the elderly and children. Our current unemployment figures are near 10 percent. They're probably higher because when people's unemployment benefits end, they are taken out of the equation. Others have taken much lower paying service jobs to try and get by. No one's unemployment benefits should end when we have 10 percent unemployment.
I've often heard people say, "Why doesn't the bum go out and get a job like the rest of us who work for a living." I'd agree, when unemployment is at four percent. When it's at 10 percent, that just may not be possible. Length of unemployment benefits should be directly linked to the unemployment percentage. During the good years of four percent or five, it could be six months. As the percentage rises, benefits should be extended right along with that rise.
Then there's the issue of health insurance. When people lose their jobs, they lose their benefits. Most part-time people don't qualify for employer health benefits. Should these people then lose a lifetime of possessions because they become sick? I don't think so. I do not trust Obama care. However, I believe there should be a temporary government program to help the unemployed and underemployed. I believe that during a working person's life, he or she should qualify for up to five years of free healthcare during that life. Let's help people get by without making them permanent wards of the state. Obama keeps talking about 47 million people without health care. That figure includes 12 million illegals. I would help those people with free healthcare. As soon as they're better, I'd send them to their own lands. Another 23 million could afford health insurance but choose to roll the dice. They think they're young and healthy and can get by without it. Gamblers often lose. That brings us back to the unemployed and underemployed. Let's help these folks until they get back on their feet.
I liked the song that in its lyrics said "forever young." In my heart and mind I remain forever young. It's just that shell around my heart and mind that's growing old. May God bless and keep you forever young.
Jay McCaulley is the production manager for The Sentinel. He may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.