The Union Democrat
To the Editor:
I was taught to stand on my own two feet. I worked hard — in school, and after school — every day. Was my success entirely based on me? No. Not if I'm honest. My community emphasized education and hard work. I was blessed to attend a great high school that sent 95% to four-year colleges, including three to MIT.
Everyone's success starts with opportunities made possible by their community — their local community and the U.S., as a whole. When 80% of Americans are struggling — can't afford a home, decent health care, and other basics — our country is not strong. If wealth and income stay concentrated in the top 5%, our economy will falter. We'll all be poorer. Good opportunities will be scarce.
Many Americans believe they can isolate themselves in the suburbs. They're wrong. When most Americans have no money to spend, many high-paid design, sales, and marketing jobs will go away. Japan and China hire high-paid Americans to sell goods to Americans. When Americans become poorer, they won't bother.
Personally, I resent the blame game. What happened long ago isn't my fault. I didn't kidnap Blacks in Africa, own slaves, or keep Blacks down for 150 years. The Irish, Italians, Asians, Jews — every new group struggled. I'm not responsible for what happened then. I am responsible for now.
What can we do, now? We can create good opportunities. We can restore the American Dream, “If you're willing to work hard, you can get ahead.” We can provide affordable childcare and pre-school so parents can work, low-cost loans so people can start businesses, buy homes, and build family wealth, and affordable education and training so people can qualify for good-paying jobs.
Now is our moment of truth. We can invest in our people, or we can watch, as our country becomes poorer.