As an American expat who had previously lived in the European Union, while I was living in the US I found myself in a movie theater watching Michael Moore's movie Sicko & I saw the cradle to grave EU social style safety net & it inspired me to move back to the EU. Upon arriving back in the EU in Feb. 2008 I immediately was transported to a place where everyone has access to universal medical care, universal dental care and prescription medication coverage, just like Michael Moore's documentary stated. The documentary talked about everyone gets 20 days paid vacation, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave, no matter what job they have. I asked myself in the run up to this election & in fact to every election wouldn't the American voters benefit by hearing the experiences of American expats living the European dream.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Michael Moore's movie Sicko it features a segment of a guy who returned to his childhood home of France, because he was being treated for cancer and was uninsured in the States. It documents his lifesaving treatment and complete recovery to full health, which included paid sick leave. It also features a group of American expats whom during the course of an interview reveal what their feelings are and experience is in living under the French social safety net. Most touching is the segment wherein a sense of guilt is revealed as to how much better off they are, than family and friends living under the American social safety net.
60 Million Americans don't have paid sick leave:
I am now living everyday the reality which was depicted in Michael Moore's film, and I can tell you that everything is absolutely true, just as the documentary depicted it. People really do get paid sick leave no matter what job they hold. Did you know that the United States virtually speaking is the only major industrialized nation that doesn't offer paid sick leave by right of law, and that in fact an estimated 60 million Americans do not have any paid sick leave.
NY Times: Roughly 60 million American workers have no paid sick leave, and only a minority can draw pay if they stay home with sick children. The lack of paid leave is especially acute in this country among low-wage workers, food-service workers and part-timers, among others.While we can all be proud Americans, we don't have to be proud of the broken American social safety net.
Many other countries do better. According to Dr. Jody Heymann, director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University, more than 160 countries ensure that all their citizens receive paid sick leave and more than 110 of them guarantee paid leave from the first day of illness.
Did you know that though the United States does not require paid maternity leave by right of law to families that 157 countries around the world do require that maternity leave be paid to working families.
Did you know that 157 countries offer paid maternity leave?Back in 2007 before leaving the US I read from multiple sources that the US unlike every other major industrialized nation in the world, there is no requirement in American law to provide any paid annual leave whatsoever. This really made me question the so-called euphemism about family values as it is discussed in American politics. While I think we can all be proud Americans, I don't think we have to be proud of the broken American social safety net for working class people.
Check out Wikipedia: "Parental Leave": there's a shocking chart which is an embarrassment to the United States
This report reviewed international vacation and holiday laws and found that the United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation or holidays. As a result, 1 in 4 U.S. workers do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays. The lack of paid vacation and paid holidays in the U.S. is particularly acute for lower-wage and part-time workers, and for employees of small businesses.
This report also includes a comparative appendix with information on paid leave and holiday laws in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Record Numbers of Americans Living AbroadWe can, should and must do better than that. American working class people deserve a European style social safety net. God knows the American working class have paid enough in taxes and that the deficit is big enough to pay for a European style social safety net in the United States, but working people in America continue to be denied medical care, dental care, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave and paid annual leave. When in fact the lack of a social safety net does not occur in any other highly industrialized nation on earth.
The rate at which American citizens are leaving the US has risen sharply over the past five years to reach record numbers today.
Expatriate Americans now number around 4 million and yet the exodus does not seem to be slowing down; and according to some who have already left their homeland, the numbers will continue to rise.
But what is it that is leading more Americans than ever to turn their back on the US and establish a new life overseas?
The Tea Baggers want to turn the clock back! Let's please remember the American dream is under serious assault from the GOP. We have 50 million people in America who are not medically insured. The lifetime limit of the Stafford student loan program has not been increased in 18 years, therein closing the doors to educational opportunity. 60 million Americans don't have any paid sick leave.
The United States has over 2 million people in state, federal and local prisons and jails. That is what elections are about because we can do better than this.
Just a special word of thanks to the documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. You Sir have touched the lives of millions. I'm one of those millions and you changed my life!