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11 years 1 week ago #68293 by mommd2b

Originally posted by aurora:

How many times do we need to demonstrate that higher taxes means LOWER revenue for the government? People take their money elsewhere. Attempting to take more money from the top wage earners and giving "rebates" to people who don't even PAY taxes is insane. How do you expect to pay down any debt if you're handing out welfare checks like candy? We won't be "paying down" anything if we're instituting the billions of dollars in new spending Obama is proposing. [/b][/QUOTE]

We sacrificed for years to get ahead. We had one car for all of residency and fellowship and the first 3 years post-training! I clipped coupons, bought kids' bday gifts at the dollar store :mad: and sacrificed time with my husband while he worked 100 hours a week treating the indigent during fellowship.

We pay a LOT of money in taxes because we are hit with the AMT and also live in a state with high state taxes. Though I'm not opposed to paying taxes, some form of universal health coverage, etc, I say enough is enough.

Are we bad people for working hard, sacrificing and getting to this place in our life? Why is it that we are the bad guys for saying no more? Let's all be honest...the tax dollars we will pay extra when the tax laws change and the cap on social security are lifted will hurt our family. We lost 25% of the value of our home over the last year and 40% of our 401k. Where is my bailout? New stimulus package? Hey, come on over and let me just cut you that check personally...because I won't be getting one, but I'll be paying in.

I'm not Bill Gates, but...the man created an industry...this means jobs of all kinds, you name it...should his hard work be punished? "Hey, it's not fair that you earn more, so give me some?" I'm done with taxes.

We took my husband's bonuses from this year and put them away instead of spending them. We are investing in an apartment in europe instead of our own home or the market....

It's so funny to hear people going on about how the upper x% should pay more...as if 250k before taxes when you figure in med student loans/loans for residency and working 60 hrs/week post-training is the same devil as the CEOs that brought their companies to their knees and are walking away with huge benefits packages. :rolleyes: Locally, here, there were several school levies on the ballot that failed... People didn't want to pony up an extra $150/yr or less to keep the schools funded, so there will be more school closings and teacher's fired this year. This tells me that the average Joe has no personal investment in his community. Give me, but don't expect me to contribute....harumpf.

Kris

PS...I'm pmsing....forgive me in advance. :D

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

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11 years 1 week ago #68294 by Sweet

Originally posted by mommd2b:
We sacrificed for years to get ahead. We had one car for all of residency and fellowship and the first 3 years post-training! I clipped coupons, bought kids' bday gifts at the dollar store :mad: and sacrificed time with my husband while he worked 100 hours a week treating the indigent during fellowship.

Dear Kris, I understand your frustration, but the picture is larger than any one of our individual lives... What you have described above is a reality for many American families not just for a period of 10 years, but throughout their lifetimes. Many people do work 60-80-100 hours a week, own only 1 car, if any, clip coupons every day, and consider themselves lucky when they buy presents for their children at the dollar store. It is admirable that your husband was treating the indigent during his fellowship, but what is the relevance of the patient's socio-economic status?

Certainly, one can make the argument that if we work hard enough, sacrifice enough, all of us can become affluent. However, reality teaches us differently. The men who come to collect your garbage most likely work 6 days a week, rain or shine, work long and brutal hours, earn very low wages, have little or no health insurance coverage. We can argue that they should have gone to college, earned a degree, and earned a better life for themselves. The fact is we still need someone to collect our garbage - now, unless you are willing to pay $200/month for your garbage collection service, no matter how hard a garbage collector works, or for how many years, he will not make nearly as much money as your husband.

Essentially then, the heart of the argument is that your husband's long hours studying in the library then working in hospital wards carry more intrinsic value than the same hours the garbage collector worked on our streets (the only difference being that after 7 years of this, your husband began earning enough money to provide the type of lifestyle for his family that a garbage collector will not be able to provide even after 17 years). This brings us to an interesting question - is there a hierarchy in the value of work?

Our reality tells us that there is - certainly garbage collectors and janitors make a lot less money than doctors and TV news anchors, who make a lot less than sports stars and successful actors. Can we make the argument that Alex Rodriguez has worked harder than a dedicated physician and that his work is more valuable? Can we make the argument that a medical clinic can survive without a janitor but a janitor cannot survive without a doctor? Can a doctor make his way to a clinic, if there is nobody to collect the garbage from our streets, once everyone goes to college and no longer agrees to work a minimum-wage job? Moreover, which is more dangerous, from the standpoint of the health of the public, garbage rotting in the streets or lack of physicians?

The big difference between the construction worker who puts in 60-80 hours a week (often working 2 jobs) building our houses and clinics, and the doctor working those same hours in medical school, residency and beyond, is that after 10 years the doctor feels entitled to a certain lifestyle, while the construction worker hopes and prays that he will be able to afford health insurance for his family, and maybe, just maybe, to have saved enough money to help his child go to college.

The fact is, we are not created equal (as wonderful as the founding principles of our country may be, the "all men are created equal" notion simply does not hold true). Some of us are born with disabilities, some of us are simply not as smart as others, or as athletic and coordinated, or as musically gifted, some of us are born to parents who are drug abusers and alcoholics, some of us are abandoned emotionally and/or physically, some of us develop devastating diseases and conditions, etc. and all of these circumstances shape not only who we are but the opportunities that may be available to us.

There have been many examples of individuals who have risen from the most challenging circumstances and achieved great success, but they form an infinitesimally small minority. Theirs is a compelling and inspiring story, it is the stuff of modern mythology (e.g. "The Pursuit of Happyness"), and it captures our imaginations and makes us believe that anyone can accomplish the same. The problem is that for any one such person whose life is a splendid success story, there are thousands whose ordinary lives are the true reflection of our reality and will never be written into bestsellers or made into movies. Most of us are the products of our circumstances, regardless of how much we would like to take full credit for all of our successes.

I will be the first to admit that the opportunities available to my children are likely quite a bit greater than those available to the children of the men who picked up our garbage yesterday morning. My children are star students at school, not simply because they work hard, but because their parents had the luxury of time and knowledge to provide them with good sensory and verbal stimulation while they were little, to spend time doing educational activities with them; also the time and the means to take them to various camps, classes and activity groups, to expose them to music, thatre and literature, to teach them about different cultures, etc. They are well-adjusted and successful not simply because of their own internal capacity for happiness and hard work, but because they live in a stable and peaceful home, are regularly and lovingly cared for by two devoted and focused parents, get to eat 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks a day, go on great vacations, regularly visit museums, libraries and bookstores, receive instruction in music, play on various sports teams, etc. almost all of which takes, time, money and knowledge on the part of the parents as well as the availability of resources within the community (such as museums, music teachers, etc.).

When my children grow up to be successful and well-paid members of society, are they under any obligation to pitch in a little more to provide some opportunities for those who have not had/do not have the same circumstances or opportunities growing up? To me, that is the fundamental question, the answer to which is shaped by our individual philosophies of justice, morality, compassion, duty, individualism, humanism, right and wrong, and ultimately, life.

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11 years 1 week ago #68295 by Sweet

Originally posted by mommd2b:
This tells me that the average Joe has no personal investment in his community. Give me, but don't expect me to contribute....harumpf.

I completely share your sentiment here. I do think that all of us, regardless of income level, have (to some extent) bought into the idea that we have little or no obligation to our fellow humans or our country/the world. I think of it as a national affliction with some strange form of NPD.

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11 years 1 week ago #68296 by AnnaM
My understanding of Chicago politics is that Gov. Blago, with advice from his buddy Richie Daley, will give the Senate seat to whoever he wants to give it to, taking into account, of course, who owes the most favors to whom, because that's how things get done in this state.

Re: Tax rebates: a rebate is a partial return of money that has been paid. If someone pays no taxes, giving them money is not a rebate. I don't know for sure that I would call it welfare, but it comes pretty close. The last economic "stimulus" package did nothing to stimulate the economy, as we can all plainly see, so I don't understand why they are already considering a second, larger stimulus package. The way you stimulate an economy is by creating jobs and putting people to work. I did hear Obama mention creating jobs building roads and repairing our infrastructure. That is a program I can get behind, but it will be interesting to see whether folks really want to do those jobs. Here in the blue-collar town I live in, before the housing market collapsed, the trade unions were desperate to find ANYONE, male or female, who wanted to become a plumber, a carpenter, an electrician, or a bricklayer. The local CC had gotten together with a nearby university and created a program that would lead to a bachelor's degree in manufacturing technology (i.e. how to run a factory), and local businesses had put up the money to FULLY FUND the tuition, and yet they could not fill 9 slots in the program, last I heard. (I was pissed because my son was just finishing that same degree at that same nearby university, but I paid the whole cost out of pocket. Dang!) So, it will be interesting to see how Obama's road and infrastructure jobs program works out, if he decides to go ahead with it.

Average annual salary for garbage collectors nationwide is $42,000 a year, can be as high as $80,000 in big cities. The ones around here don't work 6 days a week, only 5, and if they worked another day, I would imagine it would involve overtime pay.

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11 years 1 week ago #68297 by mommd2b
Sweet,

I'm on the run here, so I don't have much time to answer, but I'll throw a couple of things out there and then come back to this later today.

My children's 1st grade teacher here earns 55k/year, works no weekends, has a bachelor's degree, has holidays off and summer vacations off. She thinks she is underpaid.

I have a friend whose husband works for our local waste management company. Though they aren't rolling in the bucks, he does make above 45k (slightly) and they get everything back that they pay in taxes at the end of the year. He works 4 days a week....not 6.

Is there more intrinsic value in being a doctor vs. being a garbage collector? If I'm brought into the ER and am bleeding to death...I'd probably say yes. I'm not saying that the services of a garbage collector are not valuable and necessary... Every working individual in this society plays an important role, from the garbage collector, to the wal-mart worker, to the surgeon.

The question that I have for you though is...why not even out the salaries completely across the board then? If the value of each job done is equal and we know that all people aren't equal and not everyone can be a doctor, lawyer or Bill Gates, lets just give everyone the same salary.

So...the pediatric surgeon who comes in in the middle of the night deserves to earn the same salary as the garbage collector who gets up at 3am to pick up your waste. If I use your line of thinking, then that seems fair, right? If you disagree with that, why? Are you then saying that the surgeon is more important intrinsically?

I know that the same opportunities aren't available to all people. Life is not fair...trust me, I know that on a deeply personal level...but people can and do overcome. I may never become a doctor, but if you knew the life I came from and how far I have come in my life , you would realize that I do understand how hard things can be for people. I have faced a lot of adversity in my life too...but I personally would never argue that because my life wasn't fair that I deserve to pay less, contribute less and earn more.

I know that there are people who will always only have one car and work two jobs and I fully support the idea of a living wage. Would I be willing to pay more for garbage collection, my hamburger at McDonalds or the clothes on my back.

You BETCHA! Absolutely YES! If that increase went to pay a living wage or better wages across the board...most certainly! Am I willing to pull out my checkbook and just send some cash to the government to distribute as they wish in Iraq or on Wall Street. H-E- double hockey sticks....NO!

Like I said before...I'm not opposed to paying taxes...but we already pay so much money that it is disgusting. What do WE get for that money? At least if we lived in Europe, our children could to go college for almost nothing, or we would have guaranteed free prescriptions or healthcare. The value of my house is down 25%. We have lost 40% of our investments. Can I put my hand out too?

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

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11 years 1 week ago #68298 by twinmom

Originally posted by mommd2b:

My children's 1st grade teacher here earns 55k/year, works no weekends, has a bachelor's degree, has holidays off and summer vacations off. She thinks she is underpaid.

Sounds like your kids' teacher is pretty lazy. Every teacher I know (I come from a family of teachers) works nights, weekends, summers. Grading, planning, doing mandatory continuing ed, reading professional literature, etc. In fact, my uncle was booted from his principal training program (where he apprenticed as an assistant principal under an experienced principal) for commenting that he wasn't spending enough time around his family. (I was living with them at the time; he kept physician hours and still had work to do after the kids went to bed.) Also, it sounds like salaries up there are ridiculously high. Salaries around here start at $40K, and there's pretty ferocious competition for those positions. Also, I just looked up that teachers where I grew up, in one of the best public school systems in the country, only start at around $46K, and max out at $62K with just a BA. (And that's in an area with crazy-high housing costs, so there's no way they can buy anything with that salary.) Please remember that they, too, have college debt, some of them in staggering amounts, considering their income levels.

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