THANKS TO THE NEW MAJORITY ON LEHIGH COUNTY’S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, THE AGENDA IS GETTING CLEARER

The new majority on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners wants to kill the decades-long campaign to extend critical public health services to all residents in our two counties.  I won’t go into a long account of the many merits of making sure people have access to immunizations, that restaurants be inspected so we are reasonably safe from cutting corners that can lead to ugly little diseases like salmonella or even being prepared for a terrorist attack on, say, our water supply.

I will say that the Lehigh Valley, largely through the thoughtful actions of the Pool Health Care Trust and the Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on planning the department and helping to argue its case with elected officials.  I will also say that nearly every public interest constituency, from the various medical professional associations, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Lehigh Valley Partnership to the Leagues of Women Voters, United Way and this agency, endorsed this measure.  And, more than one public opinion poll said that a clear majority of voters supported it.

But that doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter, because this is not about the strength of the constituency in support of the measure, or the cost-effectiveness of the proposal, or even about the difference between right and wrong.  This is about making a point.  It’s about an ideological revulsion to collective good will manifesting itself through government action.  It’s about disdain for those who just aren’t as lucky as these few individuals who would so recklessly abandon all this work over all these years.

There is another big lie at work here.  The patron saint of modern conservatives is Ronald Reagan, who famously argued that the solutions for our many societal challenges should not be found at the federal level.  He argued that they should be the domain of state and local government and, even better, the private sector. 

So, the health department that was not going to be funded at the federal level went begging at the state level.  This governor said, no, my administration is not interested (even though he is from the same party as the patron saint).  So, if our public health is going to be protected, the state’s default leads us to local government.  These new commissioners, as I mentioned above, also defaulted.

When it comes right down to it, it isn’t about what level of government deals with issues that impair the quality of our lives, either collectively or individually.  When it comes right down to it, most of them believe that anyone who can’t keep up has nobody to blame but themselves.  Imagine our world if those who created Medicare or Social Security, public education, pollution restrictions, child labor laws, or even traffic lights felt the same way. 

I don’t know how many people yearn for the nineteenth century, but I hope the sum total are those few who have somehow managed to be in the majority on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners.

4 Comments

  1. Doug_B

    Alan states: “So, the health department that was not going to be funded at the federal level went begging at the state level. This governor said, no, my administration is not interested (even though he is from the same party as the patron saint). So, if our public health is going to be protected, the state’s default leads us to local government. These new commissioners, as I mentioned above, also defaulted.”

    Wow, what an implication! Replace the word fund with: The government hasn’t sufficiently robbed workers their rightfully earned wages. More redistribution of income is the answer.

    Alan states: “When it comes right down to it, most of them believe that anyone who can’t keep up has nobody to blame but themselves. ”

    Here’s some ways to keep up: Stay in school, don’t have children before you’re 25, don’t have children out of wed lock, stay married, don’t have children until you can afford to care for them, don’t have more children than you can afford, be involved in your children’s lives. Don’t get arrested, learn English, have some manners.

    Alan states: “Imagine our world if those who created Medicare or Social Security, public education”

    What a blind socialist. Did you know that if you took the average FICA contribution of a minimum wage worker, and invested it in the Index500 (with an average yield of 5%) that in 40 years that person would have a $million dollars. Medicare and FICA are both doomed and broken – logically and mathematically. Many believe the US will never be able to repay the current national debt. But you want more money.

    I left Allentown in 1971 (after graduating from Penn State). I’m ashamed to see where it’s gone. It’s obvious that Allentown has been invaded by a slew of immigrants (I’d guess quite a few are illegal) who ‘demand’ benefits. Let them find a country with better benefits!

  2. Pingback: Alan Jennings on Tea Party Governance in Lehigh County

  3. Doug_B

    Well Alan, you didn’t reply to one thing that I mentioned. Therefore I believe you just chose to avoid my comments. As far as the ‘Tea Party’ – I’m not a member, but it stands for “Taxed Enough Party”. Whatever the ‘few’ dollars per year – it’s been exceeded by all the entitlements. No self supporting, tax paying citizen wants to be nickeled and dimed to death.

    Let the ‘new’ folks in Lehigh County figure out a way to pay for their own health.

    I invite you to respond to my first comment, and not avoid the obvious!

  4. Alan Jennings

    There is a credibility problem here. Your point may have merit. However, when you stereotype, you must know that I am not going to take you seriously. Thus, you risk being ignored. Lose the bigotry and I’d be happy to engage you.

    (By the way, sorry this took so long. I thought I responded last week but just discovered it didn’t post.)

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