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Health Care Reform Going Down the Right Path?- Politics

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Health Care Reform

I have strong feelings against a Washington-Government run health care system and I believe that while health care reform is badly needed in our country, I believe that the current bill is missing some core elements and passage of this bill puts us all at risk for a bureaucratic health care system that looks eerily familiar to a VA system.

Please watch the video below for a full outline of my thoughts and share with us in comments what you think about the current health care bill:

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Paul Kendall

    November 1, 2009 at 11:52 am

    So what you are saying is that the united states of America is such a messed up and dysfunctional nation that it is not capable of providing basic services to it’s people the way that the rest of the civilized world is able.

    Unfortunately I am starting to agree. The nation is dominated at the “no we can’t” crowd who simply don’t believe that it’s possible to improve this nation.

    Lani. It’s too bad that you and people like you have such a low opinion of America.

    • bficker

      November 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm

      Where did Missy (not Lani) say that she has a low opinion of America? All she did was merely point out the problems that we do face. Ignoring the quality of care in a VA hospital does not make the quality better (Full disclosure, I have no idea what the quality of care in a VA hospital is).

      Get off your high horse. If you want to make this country better, you have to see where the problems are and figure out ways to fix them. Taking away the people’s ability to choose their providers doesn’t fix anything. Forcing people who can not afford insurance in the first place, to get health insurance or face a fine from the IRS, doesn’t solve anything.

      Time after time, things get worse when the Gov’t gets more involved. The Constitution does not give the Gov’t power to control health care. The Gov’t is supposed to protect our rights. And yes, that means the people’s rights above those of the insurance companies as well. Real reform would be to allow you to cross state lines to get health insurance from somewhere that may be cheaper.

      You and I should not be forced to cover the medical bills of others. I eat well and exercise regularly. I have not had to go to the hospital in years (maybe 2x times in my life). Why should I be responsible for someone fills their grocery cart with junk food (yet always grabs dite coke. Weird, right?) and hasn’t been off the couch, except to move to the car for some fast food? Yes there are people who truly need help with their health care. You would be amazed at the charity options available. People step up to do the right thing when it is their choice, not because they are forced to.

      Sorry if that was all over the place, but to recap: Dissenting does not mean someone hates America. It probably means they love it more!

  2. Lani Rosales

    November 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Editorial note: the original article incorrectly indicated that I was the article author which has been amended to note Missy as the author.

    That said, I will take this opportunity to respond directly, Paul. It is evident that you did not take the time to watch Missy’s video because if you had, you wouldn’t be accusing anyone of being in a “no we can’t” crowd, given that Missy noted that health care IS in need of reform and subsequently outlines what is wrong with the current bill and some steps we could take to fix the system.

    In this particular case, I completely agree with Missy and echo her sentiment (that has been my own for quite some time) that health care reform is useless without tort reform or the ability for insurance to cross state lines. No one mentioned a low opinion of America, in fact, Missy has consistently supported our nation and you might be surprised the sacrifices she has personally made on behalf of our country.

    Paul, if you would like to watch the video (and do so noting that she indicated change was needed (and possible) but that her opinion is that this particular bill is defunct) and return with a measured response, I would love to debate the merits of each side.

    • Paul Kendall

      November 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm

      To be clear. My feedback was not adressed at Missy’s comments regarding tort reform and portability of health care. I agree with her (and you!) on those points.

      Indeed I watched the video. Missy admits to not having read the bill – but she claims that because it has more words than the koran then it must surely be untenable. Yesterday two clients told that that after the health care bill is passed then all hospitals will be run like VA hospitals – which apparently means huge amounts of bureaucracy.

      The reason why I describe Missy’s comments as a “no we can’t” attitude is that they silently buy into the premise that anything government run must inevitably be bureaucratic and inept.

      I am starting to agree because the attitude becomes self-fulfilling. So many Americans buy into this “no we can’t” premise that attempts at reform get watered down and undermined until they become ineffective, which then adds weght to that premise.

      I invite you to question that premise. There are plenty of examples of reasonably well run and valuable government programs. Why shouldn’t the infrastructure implemented by the current health care bill be one of them?

      The rest of the civilized world has universal health care. Why shouldn’t the United States?

      • Lani Rosales

        November 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm

        Paul, if you can tell me that Medicaire is a successful program that is run flawlessley, I’ll consider changing my mind about ALL health care being behind red tape as a good move. I don’t doubt the abilities of the individuals who could execute a government run program, or the intentions of the politicians (I’m not being facetious) pushing the bill, but if so many small programs related to the health care industry that are ALREADY run by the government didn’t run like crap, I’d be on board but Missy is right- our government, no matter how wonderful, trustworthy and respected, adds an element of red tape that is completely unnecessary- just fix the damn thing… you can’t put a bandaid on a sliced throat.

      • Jim Duncan

        November 2, 2009 at 6:56 am

        Paul –

        The reason why I describe Missy’s comments as a “no we can’t” attitude is that they silently buy into the premise that anything government run must inevitably be bureaucratic and inept.

        Please tell me one government program/service/department that proves that government has the capacity to effectively implement anything with efficiency.

        I’ll start:

        IRS
        Pentagon
        Transportation

  3. Bob

    November 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    This bill is 2000+ pages and hasn’t been read in its entirety by anyone voting on it, yet Pelosi wants a vote in a week.

    No one knows what the per person cost is going to be, but given the fact that the cash for clunkers deal cost taxpayers @ $25k per car and the $8k tax credit costs @ $45k each, I can only imagine what this will cost per person.

  4. MIssy Caulk

    November 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Paul, let’s be clear…I do think everything the government runs is inept. There I said it.
    I can’t think of one successful program. Medicare, Social Security, Post Office, Public Schools, Banks, GM, Freddie, Fannie….it is all a mess.
    Government does not make money. We do and support the programs with our tax dollars.
    Things can be improved with Health Care…no doubt. But, not a total take over by our Federal Government. Have you seen all the different departments that will be added to just make the program run?
    Our deficit at the end of September was 1.4 Trillion. That is unsustainable and we are about to add 1/4 T more to it. The President has said repeatedly he will not sign any bill that adds “one dime” to our deficit and yet this will. I look to the 2 states that already tried this…TN and MASS. Look what happened there.
    The countries that have Universal health care are loaded with problems. They are also not Free Market Economies. They are socialist.
    Both political parties have grown the federal government…one party is not to blame in this.

    • Paul Kendall

      November 1, 2009 at 10:05 pm

      Missy. Thanks for stepping in. I appreciate hearing from you directly.

      Again, you seem to be saying that the United States of America is so dysfunctional that it is unable to provide basic services to its people, even services that in the rest of the civilized world are regarded as basic civil rights.

      I got a lot of flack for pointing this out, which is strange since I seem to be the only one on this thread who believes Americans can aspire to do better.

      What do you mean when you say that countries with universal health care are “loaded with problems”. I am sure that no nation has a perfect system, but ask an Englishman or a Canadian or pretty much any European if they would trade their current system for ours and I bet the answer would be a resounding “NO!” Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

      Indeed in England there has been a backlash against American opposition propaganda suggesting that the British system is substandard. While there are issues with the National Health Service, there is also general consensus in British society that the NHS is an essential part of the British social structure. There has been wide resentment about the misinformation spread by American opponents.

      Again, I’ll repeat the question I asked earlier in this thread. Why is it that the United States of America cannot provide universal health care, when the rest of the civilized world does?

  5. Greg Cooper

    November 1, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Just an additional stat from the release of the Pelosi bill this week. Page 94 section 5, “as of January 1, 2013 it will be illegal to sell private health care insurance in the United States of America.” So much for choice, so much for freedom and so much for the lies of the President of the US, the Speaker of the House and all of the other socialst/facists who want nothing more than to control 20% of the nation’s economy. It’s not REMOTLEY about better health care. It’s about power and control. We’re about to lose ours.

    • Paul Kendall

      November 1, 2009 at 9:31 pm

      > Page 94 section 5, “as of January 1, 2013 it will be illegal
      > to sell private health care insurance in the United States
      > of America.”

      Greg

      Maybe you could provide a link to the text in question. There has been a huge amount of misinformation put out by opponents of the bill and often times tiny fragments are taken out of context in an attempt to mislead a gullible public.

      I tried googling the text you mention and don’t see the quote. Are you sure you are quoting accurately?

      • Jim Duncan

        November 2, 2009 at 7:05 am

        I can’t seem to find that line either:

        https://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-3962

        I did find this snippet which seems to not put any limits on spending regarding postpartum depression. And frankly, the fact that the federal government is trying to legislate to the specificity of postpartum depression is depressing.

        (e) Authorization of Appropriations- For the purpose of carrying out this section, in addition to any other amounts authorized to be appropriated for such purpose, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2013.

        It’s like an escalation clause in real estate with no limit!

  6. MIssy Caulk

    November 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks Greg, I will go read that part, as I said I have not read the whole 1990 pages. But, I know that is what your are saying about power and control.

    If not they would just adjust the things that need adjusting.

    If it such a good plan…why are the government officials participating? Oh yea they don’t do Social Security either.

  7. Bob

    November 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Greg – the loss of freedom isnt going to be just personal, but national if this admin has their way. How much does one get for selling a nation’s sovereignty these days?

  8. Ruthmarie Hicks

    November 2, 2009 at 1:03 am

    OMG Missy THANK GOD you guys LOST the election.

    I already punched the tort reform red herring full of holes and you guys are STILL harping on the same old stuff. Tort reform is a single shot cure that MIGHT reduce costs 2%. All the evidence by the other side of the argument was so weak, they actually substantiated my point. In a system of managed care – tort reform has no impact on costs. It’s such a red herring. None of this addresses the overwhelming issues of

    1. Lack of access to medical insurance through
    a) premiums that are unaffordable
    b) pre-existing conditions
    c) patient dumping when someone gets sick.
    2. The fact that 1/3 of all bankruptcies are medically related.
    3. Exponential increases in health care costs.
    4. Denial of appropriate care with enormous red tape.

    All you can come up with is this? The VA issue has a lot to do with BUSH cuts. It is the perfect example of “starving the beast” to prove that the government can’t help. He created an environment where failure was the only possible outcome…then you say “you see, the government can’t make anything work.” I like you Missy, but this is nonsense. It’s the same free market cowboy mentality that got us into a fiscal nightmare. Conservatives are regurgitation the same-old stuff over and over and over and over. It didn’t work over the past 30 years so let’s try something NEW! Let’s support the working stiff!! Let’s support the middle class. If that means we need to protect them from the rapacious greed of “free markets” through regulation and government support…lets TRY IT!

    I agree with Paul…conservatives have become the party of “no we can’t.” Or perhaps its more “No we won’t!”

  9. Ruthmarie Hicks

    November 2, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Oh Btw,
    If you truly want to be “fair and balanced” and you want to write politcal posts..it might be a good idea to bring a card-carrying liberal on board. This is starting to look like the far-right wing of the republican party with absolutely NOTHING from the other side.

  10. Stillwater Real Estate

    November 2, 2009 at 1:29 am

    To be blunt – posting this here is bullshit. Don’t tie your political views to a real estate blog by talking about a PA for two physicians.

    Benn – If you want this to become a political platform then start another website. Last time I checked the AG logo said “the future of real estate today”

    • Benn Rosales

      November 2, 2009 at 9:22 am

      Ben, the National Association of Realtors is one of the largest political lobbies on the planet, and has a position on this that virtually parallels that of this post, yet you say politics has no place here? Agents should absolutely debate these issues and this magazine is one of those places. Our curiosity is whether the PAC really represents the sentiments of its constituents.

      Sundays mornings are set aside for commentary regardless of political leaning, and views do not represent the position of AG or its writers as stated in our TOS. We welcome anyone with opposing views to participate.

  11. Russell Shaw

    November 2, 2009 at 2:01 am

    I have read in Business Week that VA hospitals deliver some of the finest quality medical care available at any hospital anywhere.

    Just thought I would toss that in here. 🙂

  12. Lani Rosales

    November 2, 2009 at 9:53 am

    For the record, we outlined NAR’s position on health care reform back in August and it’s worth a read.

  13. bficker

    November 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Peter Schiff is probably the smartest guy in the room, no matter what room that is. Watch this video of him explaining the problem with Gov’t being involved in health care: https://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=27304

  14. MIssy Caulk

    November 2, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Peter Schiff is also the ONLY one that predicted a recession when everyone was poo pooing the idea.

    Ruth Marie, I like you do. It’s ok to disagree politically and still be Realtor Associates.

    Russell, the VA has fine doctors at least here in A2, it is the wait for tests, paper work etc…that slows the system down. Many physicians have privileges at both.

    To those who think Benn should start a different blog…why? They ( Benn and Lani ) feel it is important to talk about national issues, I agree. It is done on Sunday morning a time when AG typically didn’t have posts. Second, as they say about porn, if you don’t like it move on, don’t log on or don’t read the political posts. I personally like a healthy debate, and a difference of opinion on issues that effect us all.

  15. Ken Montville - MD Suburbs of DC

    November 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you, Ruthmarie, for weighing in. I came late to the party.

    Has anyone thought that Government might not have to step in to the degree that they have if private industry (insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, et.al.) had decided to seek profit while, at the same time, benefiting society at large? Look, no one is against profit and capitalism, generally. It seems that this unrestrained greed of a few (hundred? thousand?) are causing a huge breakdown of the system.

    Why is it that every time libertarians disagree with something they trot out “no one has the RIGHT to [insert whatever here]”? Oh! But let’s not forget to praise the Lord and love our neighbor on Sundays between 10:00 and noon.

    It is for all the reasons that Ruthmarie points out that Government is compelled to step in. If private industry could devise a system that promoted the well being of the society, as a whole, there would be no need to Government intervention.

    Finally, before I married and carried what I consider to be bare bones catastrophic health insurance (since Realtors are not part of a group) my premium was prohibitive and went up 10% per year whether I used it or not. I joke with my wife that the only reason I married her was because she had great health insurance (full disclosure: she’s a nutritionist with the USDA. So she is one of them).

    At least I tell her it’s a joke. 🙂

    • bficker

      November 2, 2009 at 7:37 pm

      “Why is it that every time libertarians disagree with something they trot out “no one has the RIGHT to [insert whatever here]“?”
      Um, because they don’t have the right to [inset whatever here]? If the Gov’t doesn’t have the power to control health care (which it doesn’t), why give up that right?

      That statement seems so absurd, I don’t know what your point is. Give me an example where it is better to give up our rights to the Gov’t. It’s not every time we disagree with something, it’s every time the Gov’t tries to take away more of our rights or take more control. i.e. The Patriot Act, funding private companies/industries, healthcare, etc. (Also, I’m not sure what the church stuff you said has to do with anything. The Libertarian view is that you can believe what you want, just don’t impose your beliefs on me).

      On a side note, the private market WOULD come up with ways of handling this process if there wasn’t Gov’t intervention. But when the Gov’t subsidies specific positions (workplace health insurance, oil over alternative energies, etc) you no longer have a free market. People are blaming the real estate melt down on everybody but the Gov’t. Sen. Dodd and Frank were the ones who pushed for low-income/sub-prime lending. Many of these loans would not have been made if the free market had anything to do with it. With Gov’t intervention the rewards seemed greater then the risks.

  16. Teri

    November 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Paul-

    >There are plenty of examples of reasonably well run and valuable government programs.

    Such as…?

  17. Russell Shaw

    November 2, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Any statement that the meltdown in the housing market was “caused by the government” is a false statement (as in just not true). The meltdown was “caused” by criminals working for companies like Bear Sterns and AIG. The Bear Sterns thieves alone cheated French, Chinese and German Bankers out of hundreds of *billions* of dollars.

    They mixed total crap loans (that Fitch, Moody’s and S&P gave AAA ratings to) that would have been C+ paper – at best – with an occasional decent loan and sold it off endlessly. After the dot.com crash in 2000 that money started chasing real estate. With the no money down, no credit loans then available to investors (NOT from FHA) there was an artificial demand created for houses so new “investors” got into the market in a very big way.

    Criminals running unchecked caused the problem. Everyone else gets to pay for it.

    • bficker

      November 2, 2009 at 11:55 pm

      I’m not trying to imply that it was solely the Gov’t’s responsibility. For sure, there were multiple players involved that stole billions from a lot of people. That being said, when you have legislation pushed through (I can’t remember the name of the bill right now, I’ll find it) to help low-income/sub-prime borrowers get mortgages when interest rates are artificially pushed down (to spur spending) you can’t ONLY blame the guys who took advantage of it. It’s like if a bank leaves a bunch of known criminals in the bank with the vault open after hours. Now they are surprised the criminals took everything from the vault! Yes, the criminals should be prosecuted, but they only took what was up for grabs because the Gov’t put it in front of them.

      You can’t put scotch in front of an alcoholic and then get pissed when he drinks it. And yes, I couldn’t figure out what metaphor I wanted to use 🙂

  18. SteveBeam

    November 3, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Oh- I love and look so forward to the Sunday posts. Always gets me going.

    I think the government cannot run anything reasonably or well. I know of nothing run well by the government and you can take that from the Federal level all the way down to the State run Department of Motor Vehicles. They ALL stink.

    The government we have elected right NOW like them or not is trying to take over the country. They are on a power grab mission and will stop at nothing to get it.

    Heath Care for us all would be great but how can anyone with sanity even think about supporting a bill that not one person in this country has read or even understands? Come on people wake up and think about it. It doesn’t matter what side you’re on it doesn’t work with this bill.

  19. Jim Duncan

    November 3, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I find it amusing (and endlessly frustrating) that no one can cite one well-run government program that demonstrates governments’ ability to reform health care.

    • Paul Kendall

      November 3, 2009 at 12:03 pm

      People here seem to forget that the United States of America is a nation that in the space of just two hundred years developed from a backwards and repressed colony to the most prosperous nation on earth.

      During that time Americans developed an extensive network of roads, a rail system, bridges, dams, an unsurpassed communications infrastructure, a widely respected legal system, and a system of parks that protect some of the most beautiful landscape on the planet. During this time the United States put a man on the moon, intervend againt a brutal and expansionist european dictator, and overcame some shameful aspects of its own history to work towards a society that offers opportunity for all.

      These things and countless other physical & societal infrastructure made the united states the envy of the world.

      The United States Government played a very active role in all of these achivements. Some were developed purely as “government programs,” but most in partnership with pivate enterprise.

      Its easy to point fingers and complain about flaws in the society we have. There are certainly defficiencies in many public initiatives. But if you make perfection your bar then you will effectively block any attempt at change. Perfection is unachiveable. There will always be deficiencies. A more relistic goal is to aim for improvement over what we have right now.

      Over the last 30 years or so it seems that a growing number of people have lost faith in this nation. Many people complain about programs instituted for the common good and some even work to undermine them. There has been a lack in investment in the future while so any people seem to take their prosperity for granted.

      In the mean time, nations such as India and China and those in eastern europe are taking huge strides towards educating their citizens, developing infrastructure, and growing their economies. All this while Americans quibble over whether to provide basic services to its population.

      If you believe in the future potential of the United States of America then I believe we need to invest in that future. Our future prosperity is not free, its something that has to be worked towards and invested in. It means making big decisions and taking leaps of faith.

      On the other hand, if, like so many people in this thread, you beleve the United States is so dysfunctional and messed up that our future is doomed, then maybe hunkering down and living off the investments of the past is the way to go.

      • samantha

        November 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

        I dont think anyone here is against America at all. I think that they are against the dysfunctionality of the “GOV” maybe they have done a few good things in the past but by FAR more harm than good. I think me and all would agree that America and it’s people have done more good than the GOV ever has. That is the hard working, christian, and back bone of the country. Not people that take away our rights as human beings to make our own decisions and take complete control over every aspect of our lives in order to take everyones money.

  20. Russell Shaw

    November 4, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Jim Duncan wrote: “I find it amusing (and endlessly frustrating) that no one can cite one well-run government program that demonstrates governments’ ability to reform health care.”

    Although I am not “pro-government”, I believe I can name a few: libraries, fire departments, national and state parks, trash collection, police departments, etc. 🙂

    • Benn Rosales

      November 4, 2009 at 1:46 am

      Aren’t they all underpaid and underfunded? Seems like I’m always hearing of some sort of cut backs with those 😉

  21. MIssy Caulk

    November 4, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Our trash collection is private where I live. So our our libraries, police, fire departments and state parks. I know some of our Sheriffs Departments cover our small townships and they have to pay for them, it is not a given. A big deal up here where we are run my Villages and Townships.
    Yes I had thought of the National Parks too, although I don’t know that much about them.

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Politics

The White House pushes for $450 per week return to work bonus

(POLITICS) The Trump administration wants people off the unemployment $600 per week, and they want people getting back to work with a $450 per week bonus.

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In an update to our previous story on the next piece of proposed stimulus legislation, the White House is looking at options for a return-to-work bonus, making clear their preference for incentivizing reopening the economy rather than extending unemployment benefits for the time being.

CNBC reports that the Trump administration has, according to Larry Kudlow, voiced their disapproval of the proposed extension of the extra $600 per week for families on unemployment, opting instead for a smaller temporary weekly sum for people returning to work.

To recap, the current bonus of $600 per week for those on unemployment is scheduled to expire after July 31st, but the HEROES Act from House Democrats proposed extending it through the end of the year; the notion attracted criticism for several reasons, the most notable of which included waning unemployment numbers and some viewing the idea as an incentive to continue collecting unemployment rather than actually stimulating the economy.

An ancillary proposition to decrease the amount of extra aid per week incrementally as unemployment numbers fall was mentioned, but the Trump administration appears to stand firm on their counterproposal involving the aforementioned return-to-work bonus.

It’s not unreasonable for this administration to want to incentivize those who are reluctant to return to work, especially when unemployment numbers in the last few months have been the highest since the Great Depression; in any event, it seems that, whether or not the HEROES Act passes, folks on unemployment will most likely stop receiving that extra $600 per week at the end of this July.

We recognize that a little over a month isn’t a supremely generous amount of time with which to prepare for a sharp cut in income, and there are only a few things you can actively do to ensure that you’re adequately prepared for the proposed incentive.

Firstly, if you’re furloughed for now, there isn’t much you can do other than wait for your place of occupation to open; however, if you were laid off, actively seeking a job opening in your field–or any field, at this point–will be enough for you to qualify for the bonus.

More importantly, however, is that you start looking at how the lack of funding will impact you in the short-term. Remember, 63 percent of Americans on unemployment were actually making more money with the bonus $600 per week than they were while working, so while the impact of losing that bonus come August won’t be negligible, hopefully unemployment is enough to cover the necessities.

Unfortunately, aside from “go back to work”, there isn’t a whole lot to do besides hurry up and wait. We’ll know more about this round of proposed stimulus activity in the coming weeks.

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Politics

Why DID Gorsuch uphold Title VII for the LGBTQ+ community?

(POLITICS) Conservative SCOTUS justices rely on textualism to hand down landmark ruling in favor of LGBTQ rights in Bostock v. Clayton County

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I have to admit that my liberal proclivities were offended when Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court. But the notoriously conservative Justice has followed his professional training to hand down a clear, concise, and logical landmark decision this week in Bostock v. Clayton County. The 6-3 ruling is a major win for the LGBTQIA++ community. Gorsuch is an unexpected champion of the landmark case as the author or the majority opinion.

The case concerned instances of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and sex identity. In Bostock v. Clayton County, Gerald Bostock asserted he was fired for expressing interest in a gay softball league. The case called into question whether sexual orientation was a protected classification under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Eleventh Circuit – which hears cases for districts in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida – had relied on a precedent that sexual orientation is not protected by Title VII. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee, “because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Gorsuch’s opinion relies on “textualism,” which is the interpretation of the law based strictly on the written language of a law. This approach to the justice system does not consider the original intentions of the law’s authors, therefore rendering irrelevant whether or not the authors intended to exclude sexual orientation from the list of protected traits. Based on the language of Title VII, the opinion is clear:

“In Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Gorsuch also provides examples to illustrate how discrimination against sexual orientation falls under discrimination based on sex:

“Consider, for example, an employer with two employees, both of whom are attracted to men. The two individuals are, to the employer’s mind, materially identical in all respects, except that one is a man and the other a woman. If the employer fires the male employee for no reason other than the fact he is attracted to men, the employer discriminates against him for traits or actions it tolerates in his female colleague.”

A clear example of discrimination on the basis of sex. RBG must be proud.

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Politics

HEROES Act could increase unemployment stimulus benefits, add return to work bonus

(POLITICS) Because of the pandemic many peoples lives took a step back, by loosing their job. New unemployment benefits encourage you back to work.

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If you’re a citizen who has been laid off due to Coronavirus and filed for unemployment in the meantime, you may find yourself receiving a “back-to-work” incentive once you return.

According to the HEROES Act, workers who received unemployment benefits would receive $450 per week upon returning to work–this, of course, in addition to their take-home pay–rather than receiving the $600 per week that complements whatever their unemployment benefits amount to.

While the HEROES Act also proposes extending the current bonus of $600 per week for those receiving unemployment into 2021, some argue that this would incentivize remaining on unemployment checks rather than stimulating the economy–hence the $450 weekly bonus for returning to work when possible.

These fears aren’t without support. As Newsweek points out, the American Action Forum shows that “about 63 percent of Americans who are out of work as a result of the pandemic earn more with the enhanced unemployment benefits than they do from their normal wages”–a somewhat comforting statistic that still evokes relative unease when one considers the ramifications of attempting to reopen a reluctant country.

While it is unreasonable to assume that all 63 percent of those people would elect to remain on unemployment benefits rather than going back to work, the $450 bonus may ensure that all of these workers do, in fact, return in a timely manner.

Some may argue that Americans don’t (or shouldn’t) need an incentive to return to work and begin cranking the cogs of the economy once we’re in the clear, but such opinions are fairly short-sighted and largely dismissive of the economic strife many Americans face, especially in poorer regions.

Additionally, many workers will be required to take pay cuts upon rejoining the workforce, which makes the additional $450 per week much more attractive without eliciting criticism of American motivations and values.

As of this writing, Newsweek reports that the White House is “very carefully” considering the HEROES Act–a process that, given the proposed bill of $3 trillion, will take some time. It’s a colossal proposition that covers everything from the aforementioned weekly bonuses to a second round of stimulus checks, and even a form of student loan forgiveness, so keep your eye on this one.

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