Miami Metro drivers seek student support

Miami University students may have noticed some new faces driving the Miami Metro buses. In fact, all the bus drivers that a lot of students talk to every day may just up and disappear one day. We’re not sick or on vacation. We are being fired! You may never see your bus driver again. Back in August, the drivers decided they needed a union to help them get the fair wages, benefits and respect all workers should enjoy.

But the management of First Transit has decided to retaliate against us. Bus drivers with years of safe driving experience are being fired and forced to quit their jobs. This is nothing new for Debbie Hurst, manager of the Miami Metro here in Oxford. Since she took over as manager 18 months ago, she has fired and intimated more than 17 employees into resigning from their jobs. Some new drivers don’t stay around long enough to learn students’ names. So the next time you cross the street in front of a Miami Metro bus driver, be careful. The driver may be a two-week wonder rushed through training and an accident looking for a place to happen.

The students of Miami deserve the best and safest bus drivers around, not people who answered a want ad and were flipping burgers last week. We, the drivers need the students who ride the bus every day to support us and support the idea that all workers should be treated fairly. Please call First Students [(513) 524-2877] and tell them to treat the bus drivers and employees with respect. If a driver who normally smiles at you when you climb on the bus and says hello doesn’t look very happy, you will know why. All the drivers really enjoy talking with the students when we get a chance. Getting you to class and back home safely is the most important thing we do. Transporting hundreds of students each day and having thousands of students crossing the street in front of our buses each day is serious business. We should have our minds on driving, not whether we will be the next driver to get written up or fired. We need your support now.

Thank you,

The Employees of the Miami Metrodhurst@hotmail.com

Obama’s plan supports free market principles

I was halfway through my daily socialist allegiance pledge, the time of the day when pinko-commies like myself and other Democrats get together and plot the destruction of America, when I had a sudden crisis of consciousness. Was I really prepared to let the government take over healthcare and destroy the free market that was producing mediocre health care and generating record profits for insurance companies? I mean, wouldn’t a public option be a rejection of the basic ideals of capitalism? The public option has fast become the scapegoat for critics of the Democratic administration to point to as a destruction of free market ideals.

However, a closer examination shows clearly that the public option is in fact a defense of free market principals. In a speech given to labor leaders Sept. 7 in Cincinnati, President Obama said, “I continue to believe that a public option within the basket of insurance choices would help improve quality and bring down costs.”

Notice, the president is careful not to say that the public option should be mandatory, just that it should be available for a “free market” public to consume. In fact, almost every single proposed reform the Democrats have suggested is aimed at the same thing, protecting the public’s ability to have a free choice in healthcare.

For the last few decades, insurance companies have been eliminating people from their rolls that they feel are not profitable. It makes sense to insure someone who is healthy and relatively young because they will pay dues, and there is a low chance they will have to take the company for more than they put into it. Contrastingly, the woman with a long family history of breast cancer could be expensive to the insurance company and, therefore, will be left off.

Picture this, a car is sold by a company, but all people of Mexican descent are not allowed to purchase it. As ridiculous as that sounds, insurance companies are currently allowed to discriminate against sick and high-risk people in much the same way. Where is the free market for someone on a health care blacklist?

There are only two main solutions to this problem of selective and mediocre care. The first would be government intervention in private business. That is, telling these insurance companies who they can and cannot refuse. This is something that both the socialists on the left and the tea-baggers on the right seem to agree on, despite its intervention into the free market.

Then there is the public option. What the Obama administration would like to see happen is that everyone has the opportunity to consider buying into a public plan that would compete with private insurers. If it turns out private companies really can compete in order to keep prices down and work without the bureaucratic nightmare that generally accompanies government money (like car insurance) then insurance companies will have proven the strength of the free market. If they cannot compete without government protecting them from real competition by those same free-market principles, they have failed and should be replaced.

Finally, in his address to Congress Sept. 9, the president reaffirmed this would not be funded from the coffers of our government, but it would have to be self-sustaining. If a public option can in fact remain in the black while providing coverage to high-risk buyers that the insurance companies don’t want anyway, who exactly is being harmed? For the next few weeks there will be many attempts on both sides to jockey for position, but let’s not forget what is at the root of all these criticisms: politics. Republicans know how important passing a bill is to the Democrats, and if they know if they stop it, there will be political consequences for the administration. It is important to remember the real goal of government is to make sure the free market stays fair and balanced as well as to do what’s best for the people.

So, let’s call a spade a spade, the public option is a non-profit competition to a profitable industry and there are no rules in the free-market that says that’s “unfair competition.” In fact after an examination of the proposal, the only major flaw with the public option is that it’s easy to make it sound scary, just not as scary as losing your health insurance.

Patrick Frankfrankp@muohio.edu

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