Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Working Poor Deserve Break

While eating out recently I ask our waitress if she worked two jobs. She said yes. She has another job, not because she wants to, but because she has to carry such a load. She and her husband have three children nearing the teen years.

Unlike many working wives, she has a working husband. The widows, the divorced or deserted wives are among the working poor in the gravest predicament. But it is a sad commentary that the richest country in the world is in such a state.

I grew up in a fairly sheltered world. There were jobs when I finished college. No lotteries and downtowns, large and small, thrived. Families were not threatened as they are today. I grew up with uncles and aunts and seven funny cousins in our town. The ability to have a grandmother just two blocks away. She came to Texas in a covered wagon in 1870. Her old-time common sense and wisdom gained from dirt farm living, nourished by Garrett’s snuff, gave us cousins security and sense of being.

Minimum wage is good for teenagers in the summer but is not a living wage a family needs. Today college graduates find it difficult to get a job in their field. These days, there are terrible stories everywhere you look.

For those of us with good jobs or reasonably fair retirement find it difficult to realize how many families are barely scraping by. Families are hoping they don’t get sick or lose their job.

We forget that over half a million Americans have faced bankruptcy court, primarily due to health care costs. The rest of the industrialized world gets along fine without FOR PROFIT health insurance companies.

While other Americans with secure jobs and rather high incomes and bonuses live in another world. They are not aware of how the rest of the world lives (this includes those members of the millionaire club we call the Senate). These ultra-wealthy (top 2 percent of our population) are moping around feeling sorry for themselves.

They are upset because there is a possibility of losing what President Bush did for them ten years ago. Thinking people see the wisdom of doing away with the Bush tax cuts by letting them expire. If congress can get a spine they might let them expire for the wealthy.

Most Republicans say letting Bush's tax cuts expire at the end of the year would increase the tax burden for the rich. Actually it would only be returning to a more reasonable fair tax situation. Remember, the wealthy once paid ninety percent. All other thriving democratic governments pay more taxes than the U.S.

Paul Krugman, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, writes: “Temporary tax breaks for the rich are stunningly bad economic policy. . . Basic economic theory tells us that affluent taxpayers are likely to save rather than spend the great bulk of any funds they receive via a transitory tax break.” The middle class and working poor would not squirrel away a tax break, but spend down their debts and buy more goods. This, we are told, helps families and the economy.

Remember those who have it worse than your family. Giving a gratuity of at least twenty percent for waiters and waitress is the very least we can do. It is fine to pray for them but they deserve more green stuff for their family. It is a golden opportunity to do something for those who work so hard.

1 comment:

Thomas A. Wiebe said...

Thank you for your charitable heart. I couldn't agree more with what you said here. Tipping a waitress 20% is something we can do everyday to help. We can be more charitable in our hearts and actions with our individual wealth, accepting a graduated rate of taxation, particularly in today's America, where the wealthy really are getting wealthier, while the poor are getting poorer. A strong nation includes wealthy people willing to do their share.