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Erna Mahyuni

Erna tweets too much on @ernamh. Angry Sabah native, slave to her dog/cat and blogs at ernamahyuni.com

JUNE 28 —  It is mentally and emotionally exhausting to be around people who call themselves “fiscal conservatives.”

I have privately concluded these people are likely not human, but aliens here to conquer the world by convincing humankind into screwing themselves over.

How to easily identify fiscal conservatives: they will constantly bleat about “how will we pay for that?” about any measure that does not directly benefit them.

This refrain will commonly be repeated around any measure that involves public goods and social welfare: health, education, and poverty relief.

I have concluded that if I suggest a massive genocide of the poor, disabled, senior citizens and chronically/terminally ill, there will be fiscally conservative people who would likely write me a cheque if I could make that happen.

If you call it hyperbole, then consider this: the proposed Republican healthcare plan has among many things, a part where people are barred from getting insurance if they miss an insurance payment or have had more than a two-month break in coverage at some point in the past year.

Why does such a stipulation exist? It is a very big stick, with no carrot ― a means to scare people into keeping up with their insurance payment and to ensure that enough people remain in the insurance pool to keep it afloat.

What happens then if you're poor? Too sick to work, lost your job, had a catastrophic event such as a a fire, flood or become a victim of crime? Too bad. Let's hope you won't need insurance for six months.

In Malaysia, so far the public healthcare system still offers respite to citizens with no funds but a dire need for healthcare.

Yet it is facing issues with budget cuts and overworked health professionals. The question of course arises: how do we pay for that?

The argument in Malaysia, as it has in the US, is that people must contribute to the system and not just take from it.

That old Karl Marx chestnut, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is an ideal but it seems anathema to the fiscally conservative who seem to think that “from each according to what he should pay, even if it kills you, except maybe if you're rich.”

Venezuela is often cited as a “failed” state that tried to look after its citizens. In truth, Venezuela was poorly governed and it was haunted by the spectres of corruption and personality cults.

It's annoying that people blame failing economies on the need to look after people and that the only medicine is to cut “unnecessary things.” Theresa May obviously thought the police could do more with less, and found that it wasn't the case ― the hard way.

Is it so wrong to think putting people first is a good way to work? That people should come over the bleats of those who think that contributing to the overall welfare of a nation is Communist ― I think it's just compassionate.

Compassion doesn't kill a nation ― it's poor governance that does it. And poor governance rarely if ever stems from good intentions, but the opposite; selfishness, avarice and the love of things over people.

In the meantime, I think we need to start worrying about the aliens among us. The ones who are't serving us tea or constructing our buildings.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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