American Dream

My Mother graduated from high school in 1933; my Father never finished seventh grade. But, Father taught himself to be a machinist. Over the next 50 years they worked intermittently in their fields while buying a farm, raising four children and selling eggs and produce to a near-by city. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, their children worked their way through college while living, for the most part, at home. Before retirement, my parents sold the farm. They worked part-time into their 70’s, and traveled all over the United States as well as to Europe. When my Mother died at 95, the estate left to her children included a mortgage free home and a quarter of a million dollars. Children of uneducated immigrants, my parents lived the American dream.

Could the above happen today? Many in congress think that subsidy programs for the poor cripple initiative and discourage hard work needed to achieve the American dream. Yet, congress with the most millionaires in history, continues to allow subsidies, originally intended to encourage a home-owning middle class be used to support beach homes and even yachts. Only a few short years ago, tax money was used to bail out banks and car manufacturers because they were considered too big to fail.

Undoubtedly, as Lisa Doolittle’s father explained to Henry Higgins that he was one of the “undeserving poor”, there are many undeserving poor outside of theater. But, when nearly half of the rich in this country come from inherited wealth, how deserving are they? How many of them are using their extra compensation to make the world a better place by creating new technologies or better paying jobs? Money received but not earned is an equal opportunity initiative killer. Too bad some members of congress can’t see it that way.

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