Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


January 14, 2014

Lion and the Lamb: Time for another health checkup

CROSSVILLE — It's good for a nation to get a checkup periodically, to ascertain whether its inner organs are working together in harmony and whether there are any cancers or viruses threatening its health.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt conducted such a review during his presidency in the 1930s and '40s and was especially concerned about the cancers of poverty, unemployment, and inequality and the viral impact of greed. In the depths of the Depression he created the Social Security system, unemployment compensation, millions of federal jobs, and raised the income taxes of the corporations and the rich.

Fifty years ago on January 8, 1964, Lyndon Baines Johnson in his State of the Union address reported on a subsequent checkup conducted by his anti-poverty team. In response to the checkup findings he began new health insurance programs for the old and the poor, increased Social Security, established food stamps and nutritional supplements for low-income pregnant women and infants, and started programs such as Head Start and Job Crops to give young people more support.

Now, fifty years later, a checkup of our nation's health reveals huge problems for the poor and unemployed. Current Farm Bill negotiations in Congress are calling for the elimination of some $9 billion in funding for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next decade. This would decrease assistance for at least 800,000 households, with cuts of up to $90 per month. The GOP-controlled House had originally called for $40 billions in cuts, and the Democratic-led Senate had called for $4 billion. Their negotiation, expected to conclude this week, arrives two months after U.S. lawmakers allowed a separate stimulus boost to SNAP to expire, cutting a $5 billion in funding that has greatly decreased food assistance for 47 million food stamp recipients, 49 percent of whom are children.

Noam Chomsky in an interview with HuffPost Live commented, "The refusal to provide very minimal living standards to people who are caught in this monstrosity—that's pure savagery. ... Inequality has been a very serious problem for a very long time. Inequality now is at a level not seen at least since the 1920s, maybe further back. These are deep structural problems having to do with, in effect, the neoliberal assault on the population, not just of the United States but of the world, that's taken place in the past generation."

Robert Reich has also commented on this development: "2013 was a banner year for profits. Where did those profits come from? Here's where redistribution comes in. American corporations didn't make most of their money from increased sales (although their foreign sales did increase). They made their big bucks mostly by reducing their costs—especially their biggest single cost: wages." Also, "the tax system is rigged in favor of the owners of wealth, and against people whose income comes from wages. Wealth is taxed at a lower rate than labor."

"America," he said, "has been redistributing upward for some time—after all, 'trickle down' economics turned out to be trickle up."

Lynn Stuart Parramore has written that "New research shows that four out of five U.S. adults will struggle with joblessness, near-poverty, or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives." She offers the following suggestions for a new anti-poverty agenda:

1. Make the rich pay their fair share by ending unfair tax breaks.

2. Expand Social Security, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others have demanded.

3. Protect people from going hopelessly into debt through medical expenses. Obamacare has failed to put a tight lid on potential total medical costs. Eventually, we must join the civilized world with single payer healthcare.

4. Increase state-supported education. It's absurd that people have to go into debt just to pay for their education.

5. Strengthen regulation so irresponsible companies do not rob ordinary Americans.

6. Restore the rights of workers, like collective bargaining and protection from wage theft.

7. Understand that austerity policies do not work, and only exacerbate economic woes.

8. Aggressively attack unemployment and remember the lesson learned in the Great Depression: when the private sector can't come up with jobs, the government must fill the breach.

9. Protect the reproductive rights of women.

10. Protect civil rights, such as access to voting, in places where such rights are under attack.

• • •

This column by local writers is dedicated to the theme that the lion and the lamb can and must learn to live together and grow in their relationship toward one another to ensure a better world of peace and justice.  Opinions expressed in "Lion and Lamb" columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff.  For more information, contact Ted Braun, editor, at 277-5135.

Text Only
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014