Washington DC insiders and members of the national news media remain consumed with U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s redaction colors. Which color will cloak classified information? What hue will hide third-party privacy? While we don’t yet have a scorecard on every tint, we do know of one color that will be conspicuously absent: ‘Gray’
This color remains heavy on the hearts and minds of millions of an aging baby-boomer population. With 10,000 daily stepping into senior status, the problem continues to rise. But after two years of political wrangling and seeking cloak and dagger Russians, the average American looks on with exasperation at a DC universe spinning out of control and squandering resources.
If only Congress and the media cared more about what’s happening at kitchen tables than the Beltway.
Politics Over People: Congress seems perpetually willing to squander money that isn’t theirs to do something that doesn’t help. They could instead address such needs as $500 billion in annual unpaid labor provided by untrained workers in homes working as caregivers for an unprecedented population of disabled, elderly, and impaired loved ones.
A Political Game of “Battleship”: Rather than jockeying for power and having the media fawn over their every word (depending upon which side subscribed to by the media), politicians could wade into other pressing issues. Here are just a few that could be tackled immediately.
Healthcare: Start with defining the core problems. Is healthcare a right? If healthcare is a right, then the dedication, education, and sweat equity must be compensated fairly. Yet, politicians seem to now not only determine society is entitled to the products and services of others, but those same politicians grant themselves permission to determine the rate of compensation. If politicians alone decide what is fair compensation, then what is the impetus for success? Reward is what inspires dedication and effort. Mediocrity doesn’t stand on a podium with a medal. When a healthcare crisis hits, who looks for a mediocre healthcare provider? Few laying on a gurney heading to surgery want “lowest bidder government operatives.
Opioids: Do we know the impact of the opioid crisis on people with legitimate chronic pain …and their caregivers? Training for home health workers and aids who need reliable transportation and roads …to those needing their services? Broadband in rural areas for more tech services to help with online medical care, security, safety, and helping more caregivers with flexible job opportunities.
The National Debt: Soaring past $22 trillion, what do we have to show for this? Furthermore, how can we justify not having all hands on deck to work together to right America’s fiscal ship? Yet we squander millions, billions, and now trillions while Washington and the media remain consumed with jockeying for power.
Partisan Priorities: As political candidates jockey for front runner position against Trump, they all rush to promise Medicare for all, college for all, and a growing list of “for alls.”
With price tags in the trillions, and results way down the horizon, how could that possibly help those struggling today. Caregivers provide $500 billion in unpaid labor each year, while congress squanders time and money.
Yet, Congress could move today to start a balanced budget for all. They could enact fiscal and ethical accountability for all elected officials.
The American people trust 535 people to serve our nation in Congress. They wield enormous power over national security, financial responsibility, and judicial equality.
As America collectively sighs with frustration, Congress and the media continue focusing on their own priorities. They remain increasingly out of touch to what’s crushing so many.
In the black and white issue of red vs. blue politics, there seems to a redaction of the color “Gray.”
Peter Rosenberger (@hope4caregiver) hosts the national radio program Hope for the Caregiverheard on 185 stations. For more than thirty years, he’s cared for his wife who lives with severe disabilities. He is the author of “7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them.”