I slipped on a loose rock at the park this morning, landing hard on my right arm, just below the elbow. It hurt like a sonuvabitch, though I don’t think I’ve broken anything, but had I it would have cost me several thousand dollars between my insurance co-pay and deductible.
And had I been a laborer, dependent on four working limbs to do my job, an unlucky break like that probably would have cost me my job. That’s how close many Americans are to financial catastrophe: just a freak injury or unfortunate illness away from bankruptcy or worse.
In his recent fundraising letter, Dino Rossi warns how Patty Murray and Barack Obama are threatening the American Dream with un-American acts like healthcare reform and unemployment extensions. “The promise of the American Dream,” Rossi writes, “is the idea that if we work hard and play by the rules in this incredible land of opportunity, we would all benefit from top to bottom.”
“The American Dream was never a promise that everybody would have the same things or that the government would provide you with everything you need no matter what.”
Work hard and play by rules, and everybody benefits, Rossi says. Unless, of course, you work hard, play by the rules and break your arm while lacking access to affordable healthcare. In that case, you’re on your own.
And that’s about as good an illustration of the Republican philosophy as I can think of.