Our safety net is threatened

The deep recession two years ago has put our safety net to the test.

Millions of workers, through no fault of their own, were thrown out of work. Most are still unable to find jobs, or at least jobs at a living wage. A large number also lost access to affordable health care.

Some of those unaffected by the recession are complaining loudly about the government's efforts to provide unemployment payments, and to its spending to help stimulate the economy to get people back to work. They now fret about our public debt, but were silent as Reagan and Bush ran up nearly 80 percent of it.

There appears to be a sharp divide among us -- those whose unsaid motto seems to be "I've got mine," and those who consider themselves part of a community that includes the unfortunate. The debate over health care is a good example of this divide.

Many of those with assured access to our health-care system resent efforts basic to "Obamacare" -- that no one should be excluded, and that health care access should be a right.

The upcoming election is critical to which way our country will go. It seems that the "I got mine" segment is winning, at least in the noise level. That could change if we get the youth and the needy to vote, with a turnout bigger than in 2008.

My reading of the New Testament tells me that a big part of Jesus' message was to help those in need. As a predominately Christian nation, the present dominance of self-centeredness is puzzling.

Victor Reilly

Aiken, S.C.

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