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Ask the Expert

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Betty Arenson: Mr. President: We have some questions

Posted: February 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

President Barack Obama is undeniably thin-skinned when it comes to allowing any credence to anyone who disagrees with his policies.

Alternatively, I would tell the president that in reality a lot of us actually do agree with many of his talking points.

We would simply appreciate a conversation with him on some clarifications.

Presently, the president’s theme is “equality.” There are repeated assertions for “equal pay for equal work”; everyone should be on an “equal playing field”; everyone must “play by the same rules”; and being “responsible” is necessary.

Being on board with that concept, many Americans have questions for our president.

We prudently ask: Sir, the first piece of legislation you signed as president in January 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The title sounds good but it is misleading because the LLFPA did not balance pay for women; it merely extended the time an employee has to file a claim (alleging inequity).

Considering the implications of the LLFPA and your equal-pay stance, how do you explain the administration’s 2012 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff finding that your female employees were paid 13 percent less than male counterparts?

The cry of pay inequities has brought much publicity on hourly minimum wage rates. Jumping on board is the Los Angeles City Council and unions demanding $15.37 for hotel maids.

Coincidentally, the administration contemplates expanding reductions in payments to medical doctors under Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid.

There’s a picture developing that could indicate it’s not far-fetched to see near-equal pay for physicians and hotel workers in the not-so-distant future.

Minimum wage is named that for a reason. It’s supposed to be the starting point — the job and wage where one learns to show up, function within the rules, learn team work and responsibility and strive for betterment in employment and pay.

I cannot name a country on this planet that offers more access to an “equal playing field” than America does with a plethora of government programs, private charities and organizations and opportunities. In a very major way, society does its part; therefore it’s up to the individual to do the work.

Mr. President, succinctly, how do you square equal pay with an absence of equal effort and sacrifice?

I reiterate that the majority agrees with the president on the importance and plusses of responsibility, especially in shepherding and providing for oneself and one’s family.

Between May 2008 and September 2009, multiple polls were done by Mathew Greenwald and Associates for the Employee Benefits Research Institute, ABC-Washington Post and Quinnipiac University on the subject of Americans’ satisfaction with their health insurance plans and health care.

In February 2010, PolitiFact.com published its analysis of the findings: the average satisfaction rate was 87 percent.

This 87 percent represents Americans who were working and responsibly acquiring and paying for health insurance; clearly, an astonishing figure.

Despite that positive data, America’s entire health care system has been hastily driven into total chaos.

Inextricably, “responsible” ones are assailed in being told that our choices were or are “subpar” and “junk.”

Moreover, chosen and functioning health plans have been declared invalid, leaving millions uninsured — some with life-threatening medical conditions.

Within a few weeks President Obama spasmodically vacillated and said insurers should offer the junk plans back to some of us.

Mr. President, we are confused.

We wanted to believe your promises that we could keep our preferred coverage and doctors; health care would be affordable for everybody; everybody would be insured and everyone would participate in Obamacare.

We then learned of waivers for special interests comprised of nearly 800 companies and 451 unions. The Hill reported 1,472 waivers granted by August 2011. Additionally, Congress is eligible for taxpayer-funded subsidies for premiums irrespective of salaries of about $175,000 a year.

Mr. President: none of that is equality.

We agreed with your words about responsibility and we did our part. Although we tried to work with you, you proved to us that your words have no resemblance to your actions.

How do you explain that?
You boldly tell us you have a pen and a phone. Mr. President; your phone rings with hollow words and your pen is a weapon that is harming us.

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident, has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1968 and is active in a local Republican club.

 

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