You can’t win in America’s casino economy – unless you change the rules

November 17, 2011 | Aaron Keating

A casino can be an entertaining way to pass the time, provided you know two things: 1) you’re probably going to lose; and 2) if you win, it’s not because of skill – its luck. But even “no-limit” poker is small stakes compared to what we all play for in life. That’s why some things shouldn’t be a gamble.

The quality of a child’s pre-school shouldn’t depend on their parent’s disposable income; every child deserves the opportunity to get a strong start in life. To accomplish that, day care has to be not only affordable for parents, but the people working there need the opportunity for professional development and compensation to ensure well-trained and experienced professionals are caring for the next generation.

Luck shouldn’t determine whether you can afford the college degree or other training you need to move up. Diligence, hard work and applied talent should have a lot more to do with it. That’s one of the reasons we need statewide tax reform: to improve funding for higher education, so our state’s colleges and universities become affordable again for a middle-class family.

You shouldn’t have to fear losing your job because you or someone in your family got unlucky with the flu – or because you are lucky enough to welcome a new child into your family. We need strong workplace standards like paid sick days and family leave insurance so everyone can take responsibility for their health, their family and their job.

And after a lifetime of hard work supporting yourself and/or your loved ones, there’s no reason you should have to gamble on the chance to retire with dignity and a measure of economic security intact. That’s why it’s important we not only maintain Social Security benefits, but expand them.

It boils down to this: To have a real shot at the American Dream, people need to get their cards from a straight shuffle, not a crooked deal. Making a living, keeping your family healthy, and being able to get ahead should have more to do with the content of your character and your willingness to work hard, than where and when you’re born.

Occupy Wall Street and We Are The 99% exist because the rules of our economy are rigged to grant extraordinary favor to the few at the expense of the rest. It’s no surprise that people are rejecting the stagnant wages, sky-high costs for childcare and college, underwater mortgages and dwindling nest eggs they’ve been dealt. Now we’ve got to rewrite our public policies to keep the dealers honest and ensure everyone gets a straight shuffle.

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Posted in Early Learning, Education, Minimum Wage, Paid Family and Medical Leave, Retirement Security, Social Security, State Economy, Tax and Budget

Comments

  1. Stan Sorscher says:

    Of course, if you are wealthy enough, you can self-insure against all these risks. You can pay for early education, college tuition is within your means, housing is always affordable, any health issues will be covered, and retirement costs are built in.

    The casino is only an issue for 99% of us.

    The whole point of social investment is to “socialize” these risks so we can all afford them. We happily socialize risk for auto insurance, homeowners insurance and personal liability insurance.

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