Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Card Carrying Former Member of the Working Poor

In a letter to our local weekly newspaper, the Independent Coast Observer of Gualala, California, a UC Davis history major erroneously said I insult the working poor whose taxes pay (my) military pension. However, the bottom 48% pay none while the top 25% pay 90% of personal income taxes, so the working poor pay nobody anything. Fifty years ago my poor working-class family paid income taxes instead of receiving tax credits. Now Alice and I pay income taxes (including on Social Security) which cover most of my retirement.

I also understand him confusing facts from studies of employment and single-parent families from Sweden and the United States and considering them my opinions, since few today value facts over opinions.

I dont insult the working poor, since for many years that included my family. After we towed our trailer to Point Arena in 1949 we lived in an abandoned high school. In 1954, when I was 12 and brother Ron was11, we borrowed a workhorse and dug a full-sized basement and helped build the house east of the Pacific Charter School. Pop was an oil field roughneck before becoming a lumberjack, and Mom cleaned the Arena Theater and hotels before her crippled leg prevented her from walking downtown, so she cut and set hair in our kitchen.

I bucked hay bales for Vic Soldani and Walt Stornetta, worked at Bojock Lumber and the Biaggi Lane veneer mill, hand-milked a cow, and other jobs. My friends did as much or more. None of the best Point Arena High graduates, including me, received scholarships.

To supplement my Air Force income I drove school buses, and later taught accounting, management, and economics at night for eight colleges in a 10-year period.

The history major apparently overlooked my solutions: pursue marketable skills and education; go where the jobs are and work hard; discourage single parenthood.

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