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EDITORIAL: Support Your Local Volunteer Fire Department--from Obamacare
Exhibit A for this prediction comes in the form of the likely effect of Obamacare on one of the most valuable players in rural America: the Volunteer Fire Department. Especially in rural states like West Virginia, Volunteer Fire Departments were set up early as neighbors realized the need for such protection but hadn't the funds for a professional fire department.
As a result, like a local National Guard of sorts, community-minded men and women have served the local "VFDs" for decades, raising funds through county festivals and through the work of their Auxiliaries. Who can possibly estimate the value of homes and lives saved by these individuals who take the time to train as firefighters in their localities?
But now Obamacare threatens to bankrupt many of these VFDs, in West Virginia and across the country, if they have over fifty members. Like a small business in the Age of Obamacare, VFDs may start to keep under the magic number of 50 in order to avoid falling into that system.
But some are well over the 50 mark for a reason--they serve a larger area, one that can't easily afford the expensive equipment and additional fire halls that creating additional, smaller VFDs would cause.
Increasingly, Americans in rural states are beginning to realize that the modern Democratic Party is not the friend it used to be. An Obamacare exemption may be given to big unions who paid millions into Obama/Biden's war chest in the last election. But rural VFDs don't have that kind of influence and should not expect to get any waivers or exemptions.
The modern day Republican Party could help itself by finding common cause with disaffected Democrats, who wonder why they have been forgotten by their national party leaders. Folks in rural states increasingly find themselves without their former advocates, while the Republicans need to show that they are more than just a "party of big business."
When more rural Americans see a consistent commitment by the Republicans to the institutions and values that are important to them, the state and national GOP ranks will swell--just in time to correct some of the abuses of Obamacare on rural America.
2014 and 2016 loom large for the Democrats here and elsewhere. The broad American public has had enough.