Sunday, January 24, 2010

The essentials Roti, Kapda Aur Makan Come First

President Obama, the essentials come first. And they are Roti, Kapda Aur Makan.
Having said that, now lets get to the meat of it.

As the democrats and particularly the President recover, regroup and re-strategize from the devastating (but a great eye opener, we all hope) loss in the MA senate race, there is wide speculation as to what the president should do. Questions linger, what is the message of the voters, what should be the priority of the administration?

The answers to such questions remain uncertain and will only emerge over the course of weeks and months. However, we do know that the administartion has been completely wrapped up in getting the healthcare reform bill passed. The President has often said that healthcare reform lies at the root of our economical and other crises and fixing healthcare (first) will solve a lot many things.

I am no expert in these matters but perhaps it behooves well of the administration to consider and ponder on a well known adage that there are certain essentials that we humans care more deeply about when it comes to daily existence. And those are Roti, Kapka aur makan (there is even a classic Bollywood movie with that title)- translating from hindi, that is Food, Clothes and Shelter. And unfortunately, they can be very dependent. For instance, without a job all three are seriously in jeopardy. And to think of it, it was the crises in the housing market that created this meltdown. So out of homes, and out of jobs, millions of Americans worry about their basic survival, not healthcare.

Healthcare is something people can worry about after the above three are met. And that is what the administration needs to remember. With unemployment at 10.5%, people need jobs,first, not health insurance. In fact if we get them jobs, a lot many will get insurance. Second people need a place to live (and have the security and comfort of home). So the housing mess should have been close to fixing if not on way to being fixed. However, the administration, led by Geithner and Summers have come up with no concrete plan - every week there are speeches, there is speculation, but nothing much done.

Its the fundamentals - unless we fix these three things, any talk of fixing healthcare or getting our troops back and fixing the climate, will be too much to ask for the common man. When basic survival is in question, you fix the acute issue. And this is basic advice that any ER triage nurse would also be able to give - you dont worry about controlling Mr. Browns diabetes when he has a fractured rib.

So the priority should be getting people back on the track. Give them a clear plan on how they can get a job soon. Next come up with a plan that can help them negotiate something with the banks to keep their homes or get some grace period in which they are not asked to pay their mortgage till they get back on their feet.

People want to feel they are back in the game. But America will be back in the game only if we remember that Roti, Kapda aur Makan come first.

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