Friday, April 5, 2013

Logic Requirement

Since firefighters, police officers, and their Wisconsin political operatives believe public workers should be able to hold a job in one place while also being able to live in another, one has to ask, should the same hold true for Aldermen? Senators? State Representatives? Mayors? Where does it end?

Does the President even have to live in the U.S.?

Can a police officer - or any person assumed to be working for the benefit of a specific community which employs that person - really be committed to serving and protecting a place where he/she doesn't want to live and doesn't know anything about?

If we extrapolate this "freedom" argument [because it's all about freedom!] against the residency requirement, these are the logical conclusions. Regardless of whom one's employer might be, that employee has the "freedom" to live wherever he/she wants.

The post-Great Depression history of this country was about working together, helping each other out, improving our schools, and improving the country. We built infrastructure that was globally admired. Income inequality shrank and the middle class was born. We established labor laws, unemployment insurance, Social Security, 40-hour work weeks, workplace safety laws, Medicare, the minimum wage, and a host of other policies and programs that helped this country become the envy of the world.

The past few decades modus operandi has been: bash-the-poor, decrease worker wages, cut programs and provisions for the majority of citizens, and do everything we can to ignore the national and local problems facing us. We've been making it easier for the well-to-do to evade their social responsibilities, alongside a general disinterest and dismissal of what policy (like the residency requirement) does, and can do, for everyone's quality of life.

Instead, we see the remaining members of the middle class running away, hoping to carve out their own little paradise adjacent to the gated communities of the mega-rich.

But there's only so far to run. Eventually, we have to address the problems, start fixing schools, start repairing infrastructure, and start thinking about good jobs with stable retirements. People need food and water, health care, and shelter. The U.S. ignore's this growing income inequality at it's own peril. Eventually the oppressed will rise up. And now, thanks to Republicans, they will all have guns.

When Social Security and Medicare are gone, when the minimum wage is abolished, when every last crumb of income the ill, elderly, poor, downtrodden, and retired had is gone, who is going to pay the bills? Who is going to fix the roads and bridges? Who is going to be able to buy all the crap stuff the rich are selling?

residency requirement, in part, tries to address this flight from a specific community. By requiring workers live where they work, the majority of the money they earn (paid for by the taxpayers they work for) is re-spent in the community. Thus, helping to improve the quality of life for all in the community.

Our bipolar political vision seems to operate under the assumption that we can either get blood from a stone (keep cutting programs for the poor and middle class) or that there really isn't anything we need to be spending on (especially of it helps the poor or the middle class). Pollyanna didn't suffer delusions of this extent. Logic requires us to think differently.

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