Without further ado, I am pleased to introduce… um, wait. What’s his name? Whew. Luckily I have voluminous notes. Oh yeah, Fred.
Fred isn’t exactly the hollowest point in the 20-round magazine. Or something like that. So who is he and why is he a close, personal friend of the blog?
Fred was raised with basic values like decency, honesty and hard work. But he wasn’t particularly gifted in any special areas. He graduated from high school, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, but he didn’t stand out academically or athletically, so no scholarships came his way. His parents were simple working folk and unable to pay his way to college.
He doesn’t lie and his word is his bond. These days that makes him a veritable freak of nature.
So Fred put on his hardhat and picked up his wrench and went to work the day he turned 16 years old. And he didn’t let it interfere with his schooling, either. And he’s been working ever since.
Fred is proud of his high school diploma. He had to work damn hard for it. He takes pride in that.
So all these decades Fred has been doing his thing. Working steady at blue collar jobs. He doesn’t complain. He just wants to get the job done. He puts in his 40 hours a week, obeys the law, pays his taxes, and votes. If he doesn’t have something nice to say he keeps his mouth shut, like his momma taught him.
Meanwhile, the world around Fred has changed. It used to be his job was enough to support him as the sole breadwinner for his family. Now he doesn’t have health insurance even if his wife works, too. And, these days, shockingly, it turns out that people on welfare can make more money by not working at all. People in suits who do nothing but shuffle little bits of paper in skyscrapers lie through their teeth all day long and get rich.
Fred doesn’t pay much mind to the political debate over health care in this country. He just rolls out of bed every morning, whether he wants to or not, and gets the job done. He doesn’t believe in calling in sick. Damn, that is mediocre.
The only question I have for the world today is this: Can you show me a political, social and/or economic system that gives Fred a fair shake? Isn’t someone like him deserving of health care, too? Or does he not “deserve” it because he’s not greedy enough?
I think this is an important question. Because if we shit on Fred, society will notice, and people won’t bother to be like him if there is no incentive in it. In all actuality, there is a lot of disincentive built into the system for people to want to be like Fred. Why bother?
So while liars, cheaters, and thieves run around wrecking the very fiber of the country we hold dear, Mediocre Fred still goes to work. He still makes very little money. His wife works, too. They don’t see each other much. There’s no health insurance. No vacations. Just more work. His company doesn’t offer retirement. Fred has no savings. And he hears that Social Security won’t be there for him. He wonders what he’s going to do to survive when he gets old.
Lots of folks love to spout off about incentive. But is there really any incentive to be honest and hard working like Fred? What is the logic really at work in our society?
While assholes on both sides of the aisle in Washington D.C. debate who gets the biggest share of the pie, who among them looks out for Mediocre Fred? What are we supposed to do with this guy?