Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
Time flies when you are having fun. I started writing this column a year ago. A lot has happened in the political universe during that time, some good and some not so good. The Supreme Court declared Obamacare to be constitutional. Scott Walker survived an historic recall election. We reelected President Obama. Herb Kohl retired and Tammy Baldwin was elected as his successor. Gun violence continues to cause tragedy after tragedy. The Federal budget bounces from one manufactured crisis to another. We now vote in grossly gerrymandered state and national Congressional districts.
There has always been something of political importance to write about. In the 60 Just Sayin' blogs of the past year, I have attempted to provide a mix among local, state, and national issues. I have tried to cover topics that are not being addressed by others. I have written on topics I feel passionately about. I have tried to address issues that matter to Germantown. I hope that I have succeeded.
I have been accused of being partisan and liberal. That is true. Guilty as charged. I am an unabashed progressive writing a political opinion blog. In a local media market monopolized by far-right mouthpieces like Sykes, Belling, McKenna, Freedom Weekly, McIver “Institute”, and TMJ-4, there is room and need for at least a few dissenting and progressive voices. I hope that this blog has done its small part to help shine some light through the local right-wing propaganda bubble.
A few readers have gotten so incensed by this blog that their on-line comments have taken the form of personal attacks on me. Their attitude is, “How dare you write a librul blog?” I have been called a socialistic coward, idiot, hack, paid blogger (I wish!), draft dodger, and water boy. It has been suggested that I lack character and integrity, should hand-out carts at Walmart, and am living in a bubble. Of course, such silly name-calling by anonymous posters is deleted. However, these attack comments are in the microscopic minority.
The vast majority of posters keep things civil. I want to thank all of the people who have added to the local political dialog through their on-line comments. Over the course of the year, more than 380 comments were posted on this column. There are many knowledgeable and tuned-in people reading the NOW and your constructive comments, pro and con, are always welcome.
I look forward to continuing this blog in the coming year. I hope that I can continue to provide information that is both entertaining and useful. I would like to thank everyone who has publicized these articles through social media, with over 500 Facebook shares and more than 100 Tweets. I want to thank all of the people who have given me personal encouragement. You have kept me going. There are many progressive and forward-thinking people in our community. This column is for you.
With full implementation, Obamacare will greatly increase the number of people with access to quality healthcare. It will end lifetime caps on coverage. It will allow people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. It will end the all-too-common occurrence of illness-caused bankruptcy. There are many benefits of Obamacare. One of the least discussed boons of the program is liberating workers who are currently unable to leave a current job due to fear of losing health coverage.
This phenomenon, called “job-lock”, keeps workers at current jobs rather than allowing them to pursue other opportunities. Many workers would like to retire before Medicare eligibility at 65. Others would like to start a new small business. Still others would like move to different jobs. A study estimates that “job lock” reduces voluntary turnover by about 25% in companies that offer insurance.
According to a 2012 survey, 27% of current workers would consider retiring earlier if they had guaranteed access to health insurance. Fully 76% of current retirees worked longer than they would have liked in order to continue health coverage through from their employer. Many of these people could afford to self-insure, but due to preexisting conditions, insurance is unavailable at any price. Obamacare will change that. Starting in 2014, workers below 65 will be able to purchase group rate insurance through the exchanges, with no exclusions. The exodus of older employees will open-up new jobs for younger workers, lowering national unemployment.
Many employees with employer-provided insurance long to start a small business. Whether they dream of a hair salon, a software company, or a remodeling business, lack of guaranteed access to private health care has stilled those dreams. Obamacare will give these workers the economic freedom to become small business owners. This release of entrepreneurs into our economy will be the birth of an economic Renaissance.
The full implementation of Obamacare will change our economy for the better. Job-lock due to lack of access to affordable health insurance will be a thing of the past. People will be more economically free. Freer to retire when they can afford to. Freer to start new businesses. Freer to move from jobs they hate to ones that provide better opportunities. What could be more American than that?