I was raised in a working-class family. My father worked in a factory, was a member of the union and a lifelong Democrat. While our family was not very political, my earliest memory of political discussion in our home is my father stating that Democrats were for the working man and Republicans were for the wealthy and big businesses. While a lifelong Democrat myself, I thought that this was an oversimplification.

Over my lifetime I have identified a few beliefs that Republicans have. They do not like big government or government involvement in people’s lives. This manifests itself in their approach to health care. They argue against government involvement in personal health care — people should select their own doctor, decide on health care needs and pay for care either out of their own pockets or through health insurance they purchased. This works well for the wealthy, but not for the majority of Americans.

Related to paying for health care is the issue of minimum wage. Republicans are generally opposed to increases in the minimum wage. Their arguments involve the cost to businesses and the possible loss of hours and jobs resulting from any increase. But people in minimum wage jobs need health care and, according to my understanding of Republican philosophy, should pay for it themselves. How do they afford that while working for the current minimum wage?

The recent tax reform law is the latest example of what the Republican Party believes in — huge tax breaks for the wealthy with little or no tax reduction for lower- and middle-income workers. Eliminating the ACA insurance mandate results in more people being without health insurance.

From the perspective of having lived 73 years and observing political activity for many of those years, I have decided that my father had it right.

Paul Lariviere


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