What equity needs right now
Why education and healthcare are important, driving around the world, things in my bag, and unnecessary inventions
|Steven Wakabayashi||Aug 24|| 1|
Last week, Joe Biden made official that he was selecting CA Senator Kamala Harris as his VP running mate. If elected this November, Harris will be the first Black, South Asian woman to be elected into the highest office of this country.
But in truth, electing Kamala Harris is only the tip of the iceberg. Regardless of what happens in our elections this coming November, we must still advocate for the things that truly move equity forward - education and access to upward mobility.
Let’s first start with education.
The reality is, Kamala Harris would not be who she is, or where she is today, without education and degrees.
In the past decade, college tuition prices have skyrocketed. At my alma mater (UCSD), students are paying almost double for the same degree I earned. (2007: $7,500, 2020: $14,679) With the average household income of $64,000, after taxes, parents must choose between investing in themselves or their children’s education (average in-state cost of college $22,000 for tuition + room & board).
Unfortunately, educational institutions and the government came up with a solution to provide more loans to their financially-strapped students. Today, some of my friends are still paying off their undergraduate loans even after a decade of employment. I can’t imagine what students of today will go through in the future. (Modern-day mafia? Totally.)
Although both Joe + Kamala support free college** (**limited to community and city college), we can do so much more to make top universities and educators more accessible to our marginalized communities.
The second thought is around upward mobility.
In our capitalistic society, upward mobility means to amass capital to climb up the social ladder. Jobs, investments, financial education are key aspects of building capital, but so are reducing the costs of essential products and services. This includes food, utilities, and yes, healthcare.
Currently, I am on the cheapest plan covering catastrophic events through Oscar. Every month, I pay $545.44 for a healthcare plan that I don’t touch. Recently, they announced that my monthly premiums were going up by $100/month in 2021.
In 2021, I am expected to pay $645.44/mo to insure my health, which won’t activate unless I put thousands into the system.
Although low-income individuals can access Medicaid and government subsidies, the income limit is still too low. In NYC, an income above $24,890 will be ineligible for aid. To put that into perspective, if my annual salary was $25,000, a third of my paycheck goes straight into paying for just healthcare premiums (cost of admission, not including rides).
Forget multi-level-marketing schemes. How is this legal?
If the educational system has not bankrupted the family yet, privatized healthcare will rob them of potential capital for upward mobility and freedom. With COVID-19, this has become more pronounced than ever with families taking out egregious loans to survive. In fact, one patient was billed $34,927.43 for a week’s worth of testing and treatment for COVID-19.
So as we prepare to vote this upcoming November, we must also think about these important issues that impact the communities we seek to empower.
Voting for Kamala is a step in that direction.
And voting for education and healthcare is a leap towards that destination.
Driving around the world
Drive & Listen combines dashboard cams with local radio soundtracks to make it seem like you are sitting in the passenger seat of a car driving around the world.
What’s in my bag?
What’s in my bag? is a weekly newsletter that shares things found in bags of interesting people.
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Have a beautiful day!