Do you believe the government has a role in helping the poor and the middle class? If you don’t, there’s no need to read further. If you do, please consider putting “Dark Money” at the top of your summer reading list. In it, author Jane Mayer who among many prizes has won the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence presented by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, writes as the book cover states “The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” The story is gripping, epic, heart-wrenching, and, alas, real. It tells the tale of how the Koch Brothers and others of their ilk have planted ideas that are self-serving to the Kochs and destructive for the rest of us—and really, for them, too.
I believe for the sake of us all, we all need as a country to provide sufficient Medicaid. If we are lucky enough not to need it for ourselves (Medicaid, according to a PBS News Hour report June 22, pays for one-HALF of all baby deliveries), we are still touched by those who need it. They are our sisters, our sons, our fathers, mothers, and neighbors who suffer from chronic disabilities, addiction, bruising employment options, lack of meaningful education, and illness. They are the people we walk by on our downtown streets, sometimes being almost called to step over them. They wear rags. Some may have been to the emergency room not once, but twice, in a day, as the drug K2 ravages downtown Austin homeless neighbors.
Government abdication isn’t the answer. Having a sign that says, “Paul Ryan suggests you get a job,” isn’t an answer. The answer is complicated, calls for new solutions we don’t yet know, and for meaningful dialogue among people who are willing to work for a greater good, rather than their self-interests alone. Good Republicans and Democrats are needed. We are spiraling into chaos in our country, and the health care statistics paint the picture of where we are headed unless we look to government to be part of the solution.