Regarding the Statesboro Herald report of September 24, I am sure state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is correct that the workers’ compensation insurance system needs revision to ensure that employers are not unfairly made to pay for others’ responsibilities. Some of the bases for his judgment are, however, just a little bit weird.
According to what Jan Moore quotes, Mr. Oxendine seems to be of the opinion that administrative law judges, lawyers, doctors, chiropractors, “rehabilitation suppliers,” and workers are, at least in large measure, greedy scam-artists. Those categories might seem to cover the majority of the population of Georgia, but thank goodness the “business person” is a paragon of virtue — or at least he is now. Mr. Oxendine admits that there was a time when this wasn’t the case, when there was an era of “inhumane and unjust treatment of employees” that was so bad that — gasp! — “unions came about and employees needed representation.”
I guess I’ve been wrong all this time. It never occurred to me that honesty and decency were to be found only in business people. I always thought there were good bosses and bad ones, good workers and bad ones — you kind of had to look at the individuals and figure it out. I thank Mr. Oxendine for simplifying the situation for us all. We don’t need unions anymore, not since — as I’m sure all you readers will agree — all bosses are good people now, dedicated to the welfare of their undeserving scam-artist employees. In fact, I feel so good about the millennium having arrived, I think I’ll celebrate by having a doughnut.
Which I wouldn’t be able to do, it seems, were I a senior living in New York. That same Herald of the 24th reports that senior centers, to which free doughnuts had for years been donated, will no longer offer the treats because the adults who come there can’t be allowed to choose whether or not to eat them. One 80-year-old approves of the ban, saying the center bosses have done “a favor” for these adults. However, a 75-year old former (ah, jeez) labor union official terms the ban a “lack of respect” for older people.
(By the way, any analogy between this situation and our local ordinance banning adults from choosing whether or not to buy alcoholic beverages on Sundays is purely coincidental. Want a beer? Have a doughnut. You’re in Statesboro!)
All of which brings me to the real point of this letter. I realize John Barrow is a Democrat, but I still don’t think that is sufficient reason for our community leaders — no doubt fellow-travelers of Mr. Oxendine — to demonize Barrow over his support for a bill allowing our emergency response personnel (such as police and firefighters) to unionize, should they choose to do so. After all, despite appearances, I think we must assume that not all Republicans who hold elective office are sexual hypocrites deep in the pockets (at least) of lobbyists. In that same spirit, I think we must assume that not all Democrats are some shade of pink.
That is, you can’t hurl the “L-bomb” at just any Democrat or Democrat-backed proposal. Indeed, this issue of allowing people the choice of banding together in order to protect their interests in the face of an arrogant power is about as Conservative as it gets. I seem to recall something in American history about 13 little guys getting together to oppose a big bully, and creating an admirable entity that has the word “United” in its name.
If our community leaders continue to have such spastic knee-jerk reactions, we’re going to have to raise taxes (or our workers’ compensation rates) so we can afford to send them to a specialist (if we can find one who isn’t a scam-artist). Our emergency personnel should have the right to choose whether or not to negotiate with city and county government individually or collectively. They already choose to go in harm’s way for our benefit.
Marc D. CyrStatesboro