Who should we thank?

By MARSHALL WARD

President, Calloway County Retired Teachers Association

Many of you may vaguely remember your US History teacher’s FDR’s New Deal: Relief, Recovery, and Reform lecture. You may have gotten the idea that the roles and responsibilities of our government were changing. There was a belief that vulnerable populations like workers, farmers, and soldiers needed more protections during times of economic and political crisis.

 Let’s play “Who Should We Thank”. After each question/explanation, answer the name of a President and/or the political party who provided the remedy for the issue. Play at home with your family or at work during a break or lunch. See what you know.

Do you work hard for a living?

In 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act provided an 8-hour workday, overtime pay, and a federal minimum wage.

Have you or a loved one served in the military?

In 1944 the G.I. Bill of Rights was passed to provide funds for veterans to receive training/education, unemployment compensation, and loans to buy homes and businesses.

Are you a member of a minority group?

In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was enacted to outlaw discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation and unfair voter registration requirements.

Do you plan on getting old or sick some day?

In 1935 The Social Security Act was passed to ensure that people too old or sick to work could still access necessities. Medicare was signed into law in 1965 as an amendment to Social Security to provide health care for those over 65 or disabled.

Do you drink water out of the tap at your home or business?

In 1948 and amended in 1977 the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was passed to ensure pollution control and regulated pollutants in U.S. waters and gave the EPA control over these programs.

Have you had a baby or a sick family member?

In 1993 The Family and Medical Leave Act allowed an employee who worked for an employer for at least 1 year to take up to 12 weeks of leave for a family illness, birth, or adoption within a year.

Did you grow up in a rural area?

In 1936 The Rural Electrification Act provided federal loans for the installation of electricity in rural areas in the U.S.

Do you have a credit card?

In 2009 The Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights banned predatory and underhanded practices, provided new consumer protections, and nothing that could harm the consumer was buried in the small print.

Do you or a loved one have a disability or are part of the LGBTQ community?

Proposed in 2001 and finally passed in 2009, The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed to protect victims who were attacked because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Do you or someone you love have a child that is unable to get Health Insurance?

In 2009 the Reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expanded health coverage to 4 million more low income children and preserved coverage for 7 million children already covered.

How did you do?   Were you surprised by the answers or what you did not know?

“Who Should We Thank?”

Did you know that Democrats were responsible for all the above?

 Thank a Democrat.

FDR, LBJ, Truman, Carter, Clinton, Obama were the answers. Just look at the year! (I must give credit to Republican President Eisenhower (Ike) for the Interstate system which he brought back from Germany.)

In closing, many of these remedies have been called into question. These Acts that provide minimum wages, health care, loans for housing for veterans, consumer protection, clean air and water, safety net for the retired and disabled, support for the farm, and protections from discrimination are being repealed by Republican majorities, majority are being weakened by executive order by a Republican President and stricken down by 5-4 margins by an activist conservative Supreme Court.

Did you know all of the above are currently in danger of being changed, changed to the extent of making them useless? Or being eliminated entirely?