By Robert Mann
I’ve often wondered why Gov. Bobby Jindal is so apathetic about the plight of the working poor. How could one raised in a state with some of the nation’s worst poverty govern as if such people don’t exist? Does he not know how hard they work to support their families on minimum wages? Does he care?
If he did, how could Jindal preside over a system that taxes the richest taxpayer at half the rate of the poorest? How could he propose “reforms” to make taxation even more regressive and harmful to the poor? Why would he withhold Medicaid coverage from the working poor? How could he slash funding to education in ways that hurt poor and middle-income children?
At long last, I believe I’ve found an answer. I discovered it in a recent video of Jindal, produced by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) for its “American Comeback” project. In his four-minute presentation, Jindal describes his father’s noble self-sufficiency after, presumably, the future governor’s birth. “Now, Dad,” he says he asked, “how do you pay for a baby on an installment plan?”
Jindal’s immigrant father, we learn, had no health insurance and couldn’t afford the medical bills owed the doctor after his child’s birth. “He would pay the doctor the bill in full,” Jindal explains, “by paying him every month what he could afford to pay.”
His father, Jindal informs us, needed no health insurance. “He didn’t want help from the government,” Jindal says. “He didn’t want help from anybody else. He was willing to pay his own bills, but he knew he needed a little bit of extra time and the doctor was willing to do that. It was a simpler time.”
Yes, it was. It was also a far less-expensive time. A recent study estimated that the average cost in the United States for a Cesarean birth is about $51,000. Try paying that bill on the installment plan.
But the gauzy story about his dad surely taught young Bobby an important lesson that now informs his leadership, right?
- A Tale of Three Libraries: Bobby Jindal’s misplaced priorities (bobmannblog.com)
- Bobby Jindal On 2016: ‘I Don’t Know What I’m Going To Do’ (huffingtonpost.com)