Picking up from yesterday’s discussion . . .

Sam Kahn: ‘Agree 100 per cent with Anne. My wife is a recently retired school teacher in New Jersey who sends and receives emails from other retired or active school teachers in New Jersey. Literally from day one of the Obama Presidency, emails have been sent around with the most outrageous claims and charges about the President. For many, President Obama is the Manchurian candidate. They have given him credit for zero accomplishments and blame him for everything wrong that happened. And these are school teachers. I’m not talking about one or two people. Lots of them.’

Manish Bhatia: ‘Re: ‘Funny how the richest 1% pay about 30-40% of the taxes and the poorest 40% pay about 3% of the taxes. The rich are already paying a lot more than they should be’ . . . I had heard third this argument from a Sr exec of the start-up I worked for. His statement was something like – ‘top 10% people pay 80% of the taxes’ (adding that it was very unfair). My answer was, ‘if top 10% made 90% of the discretionary income, why was it wrong for them to pay 80% of the taxes?’ He literally didn’t know what to say. In America, income disparity is becoming similar to third-world countries. The biggest problem is how Republicans are able to get people to vote against their own interests.’

Sarah Johnson: ‘I have to tell you something. Feel free to use it as you like, or not, in your blog. Every time I read or hear some version of ‘I made my money, I worked hard, I deserve to keep it…those poor people are poor because they don’t work hard…if they knuckled down they’d be rich, too…’ and the implication that the poor are nothing more than backdrop to these rich people’s lives and are completely unimportant, I am astounded. Not at their privilege, at their greed nor even at their mean-spiritedness. I have seen lots of that over the years – even as a child – and was ‘fortunate’ enough to get a very hands-on, broad education about matters of class, race, and economics. What astounds me is their ignorance and their shear lack of understanding of how even their own world works. . . . My best friend – and my oldest friend – is brilliant. She is intellectually curious. Considering she has a GED that she got in preparation for dropping out of high school and moving far away from her family for reasons of self-preservation at 16 and she never had the time nor funds to complete college, even at a community college, she is extremely well-educated. At this point in our lives, we know that we would not be friends if we hadn’t become friends when I dangled a huge rubber tarantula in front of her from a staircase and then ‘made up’ for it by asking her if she wanted to play Old Maid when I was 7. We have managed to not let class and economics get in the way of our friendship – and, believe me, we have had to baldly discuss these things because we are from very different backgrounds in many, many ways. . . . She works harder than most people I meet and she is very good at what she does. She is also woefully underpaid for her work. She is a caregiver at a nursing home. She has managed a house at a facility for developmentally disabled adults. She has worked as a private (in home) caregiver. She is not an RN (no college degree, remember?) but she has several certifications in pharmaceutical dispensing, first aid, emergency response, and other long-term care skills. She has stayed up with people as they are dying. She has maintained friendships and care for people who were in her wing or house of the facility and helped them maintain their continuity as they move from one level of care to another and adjust. She has saved people’s lives and alleviated pain. She has helped people keep from being scared. She has kept her eye on people’s medical files and charts and prevented accidental overdoses or missed medication and alerted doctors to changes in their patients that they might have missed. . . . All her working life so far, large parts of our conversation are about people she has cared for and cares for and when I visit her, I know that I will have to spend at least half a day at her work meeting people she cares for and that I will be hearing lots from them about how much they care for her as well. They will ask me things about our childhoods. They will ask me if I think she’d like their nephews/grandsons/sons (as we’ve gotten older) because they want to do something nice for her. She is poor. When her hours get cut, she has to rely on public assistance even before layoffs – that’s how poorly paid she is! She is ashamed of that, even though she’s been paying into it with every salary check, because people like these I’ve-got-mine-screw-you folks constantly tell her she isn’t worth as much as they are. She deserves much, much better and not just because she is my best friend and I love her. And, it is important to point out that if she, and many people just like her, were to disappear, lots of very rich people and not-so-rich-but-still-people-who-have-more-than-they-need would suffer a lot. And there is great likelihood that they would suffer physically. Something to think about.’


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