Christine Dianne Wenc
wenc at fas.harvard.edu
Fri Jul 29 16:16:13 EDT 2005
I can't resist the opportunity to pontificate a little...
Yes, helping parents out is the point of all this, no matter who you vote
for. Politics, unfortunately, does play a role, though--because if we
lived in Canada or another country which has chosen to support parents on a
national level and on a community level, rather than to leave individual
families to hash it out alone, as is the case here, then most of what we
are working for would not be necessary.
I actually am not sure if it is ultimately appropriate for
private institutions like Harvard or employers to
be a nation's sole provider of things like good cheap child care and
health insurance. These are things which everyone needs, not just people
who happen to be attached to whatever institution. (Even if you don't use
child care yourself, lots of people do need it--and these kids are going
to grow up to be your kids' friends, colleagues, doctors, nurses,
mechanics, spouses--so you need there to be access to good child care
In Canada national health insurance is promoted as being GOOD for business,
because they don't have to spend enormous amounts of money on it for their
employees. I believe costs in the US for employers are approaching $10K/year for
each worker who gets a full plan. We have simply shifted this cost to
the private sector. Something like 40% of GM's profits go to pay for
health and other benefits to its employees, for instance.
Health insurance would be run far more efficiently on a national
scale than on the zillions of repeated private bureaucracies we have
now. But no--every effort here has been shot down for appearing
socialist. (and has been vigorously opposed by private health insurers)
Obviously the Canadian & other systems have their problems--but hey, they
all have us beat in things like life expectancy and infant mortality, and
no one has to go bankrupt because of medical costs (the #1 reason for
families to declare bankruptcy here).
Anyway, enough ranting. All political views are welcome. But I do think,
as parents and as educated people, we are obligated to understand how our
country got to be the way it is, and that the way we do it is not the only
way. That's why I regularly read the Wall Street Journal :). (which
actually has some excellent environmental reporting, but that's another
On Fri, 29 Jul 2005, Ryan Larsen wrote:
> As a proud Nebraskan and Utahn, I happen to know a lot of "family values" advocates who are good people and who provide good things for their children and who are not a menace to society.
> Policitcs aside, I hope this group can simply help parents out. I think we can all agree on that!
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