The Freedom Caucus isn’t Freeing Anyone
Life in the Box: The Freedom Caucus isn’t Freeing Anyone
Soldiers have a saying, “Freedom isn’t free.” In some circles, you might hear that soldiers have laid down their lives for our freedom. These word are said in the same somber tones as “Jesus sacrificed his life for our sins.” Sacrifice and freedom seem to go hand-in-hand.
I’ve been contemplating the odd mix of laws being shaped by the “Freedom Caucus” in our U.S. House of Representatives. Of course, I would like to thank them for preventing the bad anti-Affordable Care bill from passing in March. But other than this, I do question their pretense that they are in the quest of freedom.
On one hand, they want to give freedom to businesses by striking down federal rules and regulations. They say allowing capitalism to fly free is the only solution to America’s troubles.
On the other hand, if we give business owners and corporations complete freedom, they want to limit or sacrifice the government protections for the millions of people in America who don’t own big stakes in businesses. We know this, we’ve proved this beyond a doubt, yet, this group of 40 Republican Representatives is holding on to the “trickle-down-theory” fiction. They are against freedom for the many.
The Freedom Caucus has also fought tooth and nail against freedom for women to control private decisions about pregnancy. Planned Parenthood is the caucus’s symbolic target for funding cuts, and the guys on this conservative team want to shoot that target down, once and for all.
If the government controls family planning, then the government is enslaving women. I guess that’s just one freedom women will have to sacrifice. Too bad, so sad.
And, here’s one that will affect me the most. The “Freedom” guys think that my financial security is bad. They want to take away all my “entitlements” like Medicare and Social Security. They have tied this idea into the bills they want—which also take away “Obamacare” benefits completely.
They think this will free someone? Who will it free? As a retiree, I have worked and worked and I would even say “sacrificed” for my entire life. Now that I’m free of work, finally feeling financial freedom’s mighty call, I am being threatened with poverty.
At 60 years old, I am living on a pension that never gets any bigger and in fact seems smaller every year when my $8,000-a-year health insurance goes up. I have a Roth IRA, but it’s not big enough to live on for more than a few years, and it was intended as a “rainy day fund.” My retirement hinges on anticipated (and promised) Social Security benefits and the health insurance called Medicare. These two benefits are a big piece of my retirement puzzle. If I was single, that would be “it.” Luckily, my wife has me covered if the government reneges. But thousands of other Iowans are not as fortunate.
Since when is sending the nation’s millions of 65 to 100 year-olds back into the workforce a “freeing” thought? Beyond the questions of who will hire them, and for how much, we need to ask why the government is breaking its promises and contracts. The national deficit cannot be blamed on us. It will not be cured by closing down these important programs.
And beyond that, how is our impoverishment of the elderly making America free? I thought the last time there was an economic crisis, the government did everything it could to make Americans spend more. If no one has money, the economy tanks. If the economy tanks, businesses tank. They go down with the rest of us, and that whole “top down economy” idea makes us all poor.
Financial freedom is not the only kind of freedom. But I can attest to the fact that for the past few years, financial freedom has brought me choices I never had when I was working. I now have the freedom to choose how to spend my time. I am sacrificing my hard-earned “free time” to protest laws written by the Freedom Caucus and their ilk. It’s sad and difficult for me, but who said freedom was free?
Nancy Heather Brown is a retired, Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, narrating and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she enjoys learning new things and reflecting upon the creative process and life issues, both inside and outside the box. Her opinions are her own, and are not necessarily those of this web site.
Salmon Rushdie and Freedom of Speech, including this quote, “You need to allow ideas to be expressed so that you can knock them down,” he said. “Bad ideas don’t cease to exist” just because they’re not expressed.