No matter how old we are, where we live, or what work we do or have done, there is no way to avoid the reach of the federal government. Again, maybe we didn’t want to. Let’s take a look at some of the most impactful laws that have affected us all, to some degree.
- Health Insurance: President Lyndon Johnson, 1965
- Federal Emergency Management Act: President Jimmy Carter, 1979
- Child Labor Laws (Fair Labor Standards Act): President Franklin Roosevelt, 1938
- Farm subsidies (part of New Deal, Farm Adjustment Act): President Franklin Roosevelt, 1933
- Crop Insurance (Federal Crop Insurance Act): President Jimmy Carter, 1980
- Social Security (Social Security Act): President Franklin Roosevelt, 1935
- Worker’s Compensation (worker’s compensation insurance): President Grover Cleveland, 1884
- Civil Rights Act (prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin): President Lyndon Johnson, 1964
- Affordable Care Act: President Barack Obama, 2010
I’m 72, so Medicare and Social Security are most relevant to me. Again, without these programs, I would seek insurance in the private sector. Fortunately, I am in fairly good health. I could get it, but I know the monthly premiums would be much higher than Medicare (including top-up).
As for Social Security, although I have contributed to Social Security for almost 50 years, it is very likely that I will receive at least a third more in Social Security benefits than I contributed. These programs have truly benefited me, and they continue to benefit countless other Americans. .
Now, for many of you, the situation may be different. You may still be working. What if you were injured at work? And there was no workers compensation. This is a big problem for you. Hope you have savings/family support or both.
What if you were looking for a job first and there was no minimum wage? What if you were under 16 and the job offered to you was very dangerous for someone your age? The Fair Labor Standards Act would protect you.
What if you were a farmer and there were no agricultural subsidies? You are already in a very risky profession. Maybe the subsidy gives you a bit more leeway: guaranteed prizes.
What if you lived in areas damaged by a hurricane, tornado or flood and there was no FEMA? Each state, but more likely each individual, would be alone. Would you be able to rebuild?
These programs are not a panacea, but they benefit a wide range of Americans. And the similarity of all these presidents? They were implemented under a Democratic presidency. Yes, no matter what you think of Democrats, take a step back and ask yourself this: where would I be without these programs implemented by Democratic presidents? In my lifetime there have been Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush and Trump. Now ask yourself this: what have the Republicans done to help Americans?
Marshall Korman lives in Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Forum Editorial Board or the owners of the Forum.