“We feed from the scraps that befall the grace of ‘Great Men’s Jowls.”
I first heard this line from its original author and future novelist Connor Jaschen.
We were having an everyday conversation about ladies and literature, and he dropped this line on me from the novel he is writing. It had a much greater impact on me than he thought it would.
I consider myself an avid reader and few lines in literature give me goosebumps like this line did. In today’s society, everything trickles down and 99 percent of us are at the bottom waiting for the scraps that somehow slip through the cracks.
“Land of the free and home of the brave” is beginning to turn into a business entity. With the current for-profit healthcare and education system, our basic rights are still available to us, but are being monetized right under our noses. We have the right to live and be healthy, but that doesn’t mean we have the ability to.
For those that aren’t fortunate enough to be able to afford health insurance, a child with an illness is enough to put a family in debt for the rest of that child’s life.
I’m sure we have all seen the pictures on the Internet of outrageous medical bills for small non-serious injuries – some of these numbers being upward of $65,000 for a simple surgical procedure.
If you don’t have health insurance, all of this comes out of pocket. If you can’t afford health insurance in the first place you’re going to have to strike a deal with King Midas himself to get those medical bills paid.
Also, think about what incentive there is to release a cure for a chronic illness?
If you are a part of the unlucky percentage of the population to be plagued by a chronic illness, you have just become a lifetime paycheck for a gentleman who scuffs a $14,000 table as he props his well-oiled $3,000 loafers upon it to thumb through the money he collected by selling a treatment. Why cure it, when you can just sell the prescriptions?
This strikes close to home for many, including myself. I have seen amazing people in my life suffer from Alzheimer’s and diabetes only to be sold medications to keep them alive long enough to buy it again next month.
If the money you spent on all of these healthcare bills went to fund future medical research or went to the care of those less fortunate, we wouldn’t make much of a fuss about it. But when our right to health and life is monetized and someone makes a profit off of that, our eyes should be opened.
Many insurance companies see us as just a name on a list, a dollar in the bank and a ballot in a box. When we run out of money to send to someone higher up in the socioeconomic food chain, what use do they have for us then?
Now let’s talk about the for-profit higher education system that has become more prevalent in recent years.
We say we want kids to go to college to earn a higher education, but we put them in tens of thousands of dollars of debt for them to do so. I know people who have come out of school in $45,000 worth of debt to go home and work middle management at a fast food chain.
You may think this is preposterous, but a degree doesn’t guarantee a job. It will help your chances to get one, but in reality you will pay thousands of dollars and spend four years of your life for a slip of paper that can be used as a receipt to prove you spent the money to earn your level of education.
Think about how crippling student loans will affect the economy in the long run. As student loan interest rates and college tuition rise like they have in years past, a whole new generation of newly employed millennials will have no choice but to be frugal. When they enter the workforce under thousands of dollars in debt, all of their money goes to food and student loan payments so they can try and pay it off as quickly as possible.
This is all money they will not be putting back into the economy and we will see a general decrease as younger generations become more frugal than previous generations.
In the past when a student graduated with a degree, they started a well-paying job that they got with said degree and immediately started to buy houses and cars that have heated seats and automatic windows.
Now, recent graduates are crashing on their parents’ couch and hoping their ’98 civic keeps running until they can actually find a job with a degree they paid $55,000 for.
When does it stop? What other parts of our lives can we transform from unalienable rights into a profit? We need to be aware of what’s happening.
The longer we are simply dollar bills to someone our names will start to fade. Once you accept only being a paycheck for someone, you become less of what makes you an individual.
Don’t be at the bottom begging for scraps from these so-called “Great Men.” You are too good to beg and you deserve the very best of what life has to offer.
Don’t spend it accepting what you’ve been given as you shove scraps into your pockets.
Column by Zac Garrison, Senior from Franklin, Ky.