Little people make a difference
Reader comment on: Paul Krugman on the Angry Rich
Submitted by mary L (United States), Sep 21, 2010 18:25
Dear Paul Krugman,
I am responding to your article "Anger is sweeping American rich". I have never written to any columnist before but I must be the "American rich" that you are talking about and reading your article has made me even angrier!!
You say that this "white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon…, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they're out for revenge." My husband and I have worked very hard for what we have and I can only hope that we are the majority not the minority in that case. If we are the minority of hard workers then this is not the land that I was brought up to believe in. We own a business that was started by a previous generation and has been run by us for 30 years. We used to have as many as 78 employees. We now have about 53 and soon that will be cut in half; the first time in all the years that we have been in business. I am sure if you talked to the folks that we are going to have to lay off because we don't have enough work to keep them busy and cant' afford to pay their salaries and benefits, that you will find that they too have rage. Most of these folks have worked with us for 25+ years and they and their families have been our biggest concern for all of those years; ask them if they are tired of our government spending money that we don't have and not making cuts and hard decisions, ask them if they would rather be working hard for a living rather than collecting unemployment? Ask them if they feel the government should run their households like the rest of us have to do? I bet they have the same rage that your so called "American rich" have.
We weren't born with a silver spoon in our mouths. We have lived like so many people; buying macaroni and cheese at 4 boxes for $1.00 and then splitting it each night with our next door neighbor,--for 2 years! I know what it is like to drive to work on fumes to get your paycheck and praying that you will make it to the gas station before you have to push the car. I know what it is like not having furniture so you lean an old mattress against a wall to make a chair. We have not had it nearly as bad as so many people have had it, and we feel blessed for what we do have. We have tried to give back to those that are not as fortunate as ourselves. We are honest and pay corporate taxes and are happy to do so. We also pay taxes like most people do on our personal income. We are the ones that take all the risk as business owners and after meeting payroll, benefits, investing capital back into the business, we get to reap some monetary rewards for ourselves. Our children have never gone to "elite private schools" as you say, but to public schools where their race was not the majority. We live in a house that is below the median price for housing, but is now paid for.
We have worked hard at making a company grow and the end result of that is an increase in employees and sales. Sure we have been thru bad times but you don't take into account the times when we loaned personal money to the company so that it could make payroll, the years that we didn't take a Christmas bonus so that the employees could have theirs, vacations that were never taken because we couldn't leave the business, the worry about all the folks and their family's that depend on us to make the hard decisions so that the business will succeed. I would like you to walk in our shoes worrying for the past 30 years, every day, that you made the right business decisions not only for our family but for all those that work with us and depend on us for their livelihood. Could you take that kind of pressure and what type of affect do you think that would take on you and your health? This is what the "privileged" do, this is the type of life that most of us know; working horrendous hours and most weekends too, and when you do get home, the work never goes away, the thinking and re-thinking of all the decisions you have made and the ones to come and the pressure on your shoulders that many others don't have—that's why I am responding. I don't call this "self-pity", just a different perspective for those who are not owners of their own business. Have we been lucky?—YES!! Do we feel "entitled"?—NO.
I agree on one thing in your article which is, "America must make hard choices". If you tax us more, it will not put people back to work in our business and I am sure I am speaking for the majority of the "Angry Rich"! The price for health insurance has sky rocketed, we had to raise the deductible for all employees. We asked 8 insurance companies for quotes recently and only 2 were interested enough to respond. The America government has NOT done what it needs to do to put people back to work, to stimulate small business so they can hire people, to free up the banking regulations to make loans, to regulate the insurance companies. Where are the incentives to get people back to work in this recessive economy, where is the capitalist spirit that this country used to embrace? Why do you think that most companies have out-sourced their businesses to foreign countries? It is because they can't afford to keep them here!!! You said that "self-pity among the privileged has become acceptable, even fashionable", well, I don't feel fashionable and I am not trying to acquire self pity, but let me ask you, have you ever had to think of anyone but yourself and your family?
We do not believe that President Obama is on the correct path. We need to cut back in all parts of our government spending; let's start with our "privileged and entitled" Congress; some of the programs that have been pushed thru by them are totally preposterous and full of fat. Cut the old government programs that aren't working or aren't getting enough bang for our buck. And speaking of buck, how about our government stops printing money that we don't have and spending more than we take in? I believe that America is angry that our government operates in a way that, if we did the same in our personal lives, we would all be put in jail. I think Americans are angry that we bail out corporations that act illegally and immorally before and after they got a government hand out (a leopard doesn't change it spots). We must all make sacrifices to get this great country back on track. You stated "But when they say "we", they mean "you". Sacrifice is for the little people." In many cases the "little people" include the "angry rich". We are the people that do our best to run businesses that put people back to work. We are the little people that sacrifice. We are the ones that take the risks. We don't want or need your pity, because we are fortunate in so many areas of our lives and are putting the ante in, to create a better life for many families.
You stated that "Republicans are pushing the line that raising taxes at the top would hurt small business, but their hearts don't really seem in it." I think that Republicans know, with this administration, it has fallen on deaf ears, but don't confuse that with their hearts not seeming to be in it! Your kind of thinking makes people like me, "the angry rich", feel as though you want an apology from us that we actually have made any money at all. Fortunately for you, we "angry rich" are the very same people that try to give back to all kinds of charities, churches, volunteering our time and money to help those less fortunate. All of our business cost have gone up and our profits are down. Squeezing more taxes out of us will not get the results the country needs. I think you need to look in the mirror and see who is really angry. It is a terrible time in this country for all of us but there will always be someone smarter, prettier, wiser, poorer, richer, more generous, more selfish, have more of everything, have less of everything, have more kids, have less kids, have a husband, have a wife, have love, have a better education than you have, and I can go on and on….but that is the way life is, always has been….so quit whining, wise up and see who pays the most taxes…it isn't the government but the little people who try to take care of many in the form of small business. As Hillary Clinton once said, "It takes a village to raise a child", and I say it takes a lot of "little people", like ourselves; we the "angry rich", to help stimulate this economy so that we can expand our businesses, and put people back to work and help grow this economy.
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