Duty to workers
My first year as a rabbi, I traveled to Immokalee, Fla., with the Jewish human rights organization T’ruah to see the work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. I was deeply moved by their worker-led strategies to protect human rights for farm workers in corporate supply chains.
Today, I’m traveling again — this time, to Dublin, Ohio, to exercise my right as a Wendy’s shareholder to speak at our annual meeting. I make the 10-hour drive because Wendy’s is the only major American fast-food chain that hasn’t joined the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which has been lauded by the White House and United Nations as an effective protection against human trafficking and worker exploitation.
The Talmud (Bava Metzia 83a) says that employers may not overwork their employees and that employees have a right to stand up for themselves. And Leviticus 25:35 teaches, “If your brother falls low, and you have power to help him, you shall strengthen him.” So it is my Jewish responsibility to respond when my friends at the CIW ask for help.
Thus, I go to the Wendy’s shareholders meeting with one simple question: When will Wendy’s join the Fair Food Program?
Time to focus
As a nation, we have a large number of dire situations to address. Many of these issues will influence our direction for the future and affect our standing in the world.
Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, these issues should be critically important to you, and addressing them should be the highest priorities for our country.
Distracted from seriously addressing these issues, we focus on the drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., making sure we know the latest of who did what to whom. The powerful news media fuel the frenzy and distort the priorities of what’s important.
We are the only ones who can change this. It is critically important we support the government we have put into place, stop feeding into the news frenzy and demand our elected officials address the serious business at hand. This is about getting things done, not feeding into the game of politics.
While we are frittering away our time, other powerful nations are aggressively filling the void we are leaving in the world. There will be consequences for our lack of action.
Let’s just hope it’s not too late to get started.
The real reason
Rep. Kevin Yoder’s guest commentary, “American Health Care Act will lower costs, offer choice” (May 10, 13A) is a masterpiece of misreprentations that Republicans have used to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
One such talking point from the column is that insurance companies are leaving the marketplace because of ballooning costs due to Obamacare regulations.
Not only is there no evidence that regulations are the culprit, but a federal judge ruled in January that Aetna, the third-largest insurer in the U.S., lied when it declared it was pulling out of 15 states because it was losing too much money on the Obamacare exchanges. The judge ruled, based on evidence, that the real reason Aetna pulled out of markets was to improve its chances of a merger with Humana, so it could say it does not compete in those markets.
Catching politicians making false declarations is unfortunately too common. But when it affects the lives of their constituents, they must be held accountable.
Yoder takes action
Thank you, Rep. Kevin Yoder, for keeping your promise.
There’s a reason Congress has approval ratings in the single digits. Simply put, our representatives make promises they can’t keep. That’s why your vote for the American Health Care Act is a great example of a member of Congress actually keeping his promise to the voters of his district and the American people.
For years, we heard Republicans say that fixing our broken health care system was a top priority but they never took action.
Now, just months after an election where the American people made it clear they are sick and tired of Washington dysfunction, House Republicans have fast-tracked a bold plan. This proposal will cut premiums while also cutting the deficit and finally get government out of our personal medical decisions.
This plan will inject needed competition back to the market. It will also remove expensive government regulations and still protect people with preexisting conditions.
The American Health Care Act is an important first step toward a promise kept and a shining example to all of us who want a fair and competent health care system.
Thanks again for your courage.