These are the toughest times I’ve ever experienced. I’m in my early 70s and retired at 65. I have a part-time job to supplement my Social Security income.
My parents lived through the Great Depression, and I learned to live within my means and purchase only what I needed, not necessarily what I wanted, with only a couple of exceptions (such as an old Jeep after I retired).
My children are struggling. Many of my retired friends are having difficulty making ends meet. I said to an acquaintance the other day that I was glad I’m not 25 years old, just graduated from college and looking for work. His response was, “Even worse is to be 55 years old and looking for work.”
Yes, many people did live beyond their means. They bought motorcycles and boats, houses too expensive and overpriced, plasma TVs or cell phones and other digital gadgets they really didn’t need. But many did not.And they, too, have had their hours reduced or their jobs eliminated altogether.
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Because of the breadth of those hurting, I think it is unreasonable of our elected officials not to include some kind of taxes and fees at both the state and federal level to bring in additional revenue. Californians should have continued that small sales tax increase we got several years ago.
I think the major corporations need to pay those taxes, too, without exceptions. Let’s not participate in any wars we didn’t start.
And, of course, government needs to cut its spending. And I say no sacred cows, such as the defense budget. I’d be even more accepting of some kind of tax increase if I knew we’d build one fewer aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine. I don’t like to read about teacher layoffs, or firefighters or cops or construction folks losing their jobs.
When I see someone standing at the off-ramp or in front of the supermarket looking for donations, I wonder how they got there. Maybe they were lazy and didn’t stick to any job. Maybe they have mental problems. They might be someone who has simply run out of options and is looking for a helping hand, regardless of how small. I try not to judge.
I have no faith that a bipartisan commission is going to resolve the philosophical issues before us today as we debate what the role of government is in our lives.
That commission, or Congress, must consider raising some taxes and fees along with making cuts in federal spending, including the money we are sending to other countries for whatever reasons.
We’re all in this together. We all need to sacrifice a little to get us out of it.
Reach Lon Allan at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.