The DFL Party gives out annual thanksPublished 10:56am Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Column: My Point of View, by Ted Hinnenkamp
It is that time of the year for us Democratic Farmer Labor Party progressives to list some of our thank-yous.
President Obama’s defense of affordable health care for all Americans tops the list. The impact of the Affordable Care Act, beginning in full this coming January, will be surreal. Imagine in the past when an American woman with breast cancer, loses and then trys to switch her health care insurance policy, only to find out coverage was denied for the pre-existing condition of breast cancer. That nightmare will end soon having been swept away by the president’s signature on the ACA pages.
Imagine a healthy person having a major health problem and then to find out that all those years of paying on their health insurance policy was for naught. What they found out is that their private health insurance policy was pretty much worthless. Thousands of dollars in debt they are now faced with filing for bankruptcy protection. That story will be gone on Wednesday. This individual can now drop that worthless health insurance policy and sign up for MNsure.
Following close behind is DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature to the expansion of Medicaid. The effects of that signing have been surreal. Just previous to our governor’s signature, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, refused to sign onto the expansion of Medicaid when at that time thousands of Minnesotans were losing their general assistance health insurance. That immorality is gone.
Perhaps trumping these two DFL politicians is Pope Francis. Yet another surreal outcome is developing under the leadership of this new pope. The leader of millions worldwide is now listening to people and acting on the most basic religious doctrine of sharing the wealth, everyone should have health care, trickle down economics is immoral and a fraud, Wall Street greed is out of control and must be controlled, and so much more from Pope Francis. It makes one proud to be a Catholic.
We cannot forget the legitimate economists like Dr. Paul Krugman recognizing it is the social contract that made our country great — a contract between the American government and its people. That government programs like infrastructure construction, LGA to Minnesota cities, SNAP food support, Medicare, all the Social Security programs, raising taxes on the most wealthy who need to pay their fair share, plus Dr. Krugman’s warning to us all that the madness created by the Republican Party leadership is the No. 1 issue of the time.
Then there is a huge thanks for all of the street level people, advocating in so many creative ways, for their work to increase the minimum wage. A minimum wage currently is at a $7.25 an hour on the federal level. The minimum wage today should be $10.56 an hour according to inflation figures from the past 40 years.
The DFL-controlled Minnesota Legislature and our DFL governor will soon raise the minimum wage in Minnesota. Let’s advocate for the $10.56 an hour figure.
Then there is the special thanks to Democratic Party Secretary of State John Kerry for his creative “gaffe,” which put an immediate end to the preparation for a military conflict with Syria.
Lastly, a thank you to Sen. Elizabeth Warren for yet another surreal moment that we progressives finally have our champion on the national political stage to challenge the right and advocate for and protect the American social contract.
Albert Lea resident Ted Hinnenkamp is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.