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Fri, Oct 31, 2014 01:53 PM
Issue of October 29, 2014
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American independence, paying the price


My Opinion


April 30, 2014 | 11:01 AM

The dream of the average American is independence.

Under this umbrella known as the American dream is the pursuit of owning a home, a car, a stable paying job and the ability to provide for our food, clothing and enough cash to care for our family. Americans work one or two jobs 40 to 60 hours a week to keep this umbrella over our heads.

Question of the Week
Do you think American independence is achievable in today’s world?
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Independence is never easy or cheap. Most Americans pay 20 to 30 years to own a house. A lot of Americans never own one. Young adults are graduating from college owing $28,000 to more than $100,000 before they even begin their first real job. Americans with medical insurance often end up tens of thousands of dollars in debt due to being responsible for 20 percent of their medical bills. More than 1-1/2 million people filed bankruptcy due to medical bills in 2012, and 56 million more Americans struggled with medical bills. Too many Americans have worked for corporations for 10 to 20 years to learn their employer is moving to Honduras, Mexico, or simply closing to reorganize and reopen in another state.

Traditionally, Americans have dreamed of plugging into an employer or career and working 30 years. The hope is to progress, grow and be rewarded throughout the career. When retirement age comes, then we hope to pay ourselves to do whatever we want to do, which could include golfing, fishing, traveling or walking the beach.

Our forefathers came here seeking independence from British rule. They wanted to enjoy religious freedom, own some land and have the freedom to carve out a living for themselves and their families. The pursuit of their dreams was tough and many died.

Their sacrifices paved the way for survivors and others who would follow. They and every generation that followed handed to us the America we enjoy. It is humbling to walk the national cemetery in Arlington knowing that so many died for what we have today. Whether standing at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier or at a friend's grave in Kentucky, who died in Vietnam, I am starkly reminded that a huge price of sacrifice has been paid for all of us in America.

My mother and father worked hard for 40 years. I benefited from their labor. Numerous schoolteachers invested in me for years without a lot of pay. The spectrum of debt we all owe is wide. From the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, Martin Luther King, Bill Gates and millions of others, our lives are enriched because so many have worked hard and sacrificed much.

Americans have enjoyed the freedom to dream, pursue, fail and try again. All the while everything we are doing today has been made possible or a little easier because of the price paid by so many others who have given so much.

Glenn Mollette, a resident of Newburgh, is an American columnist and author. He can be reached by e-mail at GMollette@aol.com

  1. print email
    May 05, 2014 | 03:18 PM

    Our country...no our WORLD is being ran by an oligarchy that has been born and bread to rule us for over 100 years now. Can someone have a nice house?...yes...Can you have you own a small buisness?...yes....but to say that you can do anything you want to or be anything you want. that part is gone....there is too many people that has been in "power" to long to let some shmuck come and take part of their pie... They are GLOBALIST. Get familar with them...because they do and will be calling the shots for your kids one day to.

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    Capitalism is the problem
    May 10, 2014 | 09:25 PM

    Capitalism itself is the problem.
    In capitalism the people who produce all the wealth (the workers) are not allowed to participate in the wealth they have created. Rather, the difference between their wages and the wealth they produce (called the surplus) is confiscated by the employer. If America is to ever have a middle class again, the workers must be allowed to participate in the wealth they have created for their employer. Under the current system the fantastic productivity increases that have driven corporate profits for decades have not made it down to the workers who produced it. Wages are stagnate or falling. This isn't a mystery, this is what capitalism does. As sure as the sun will rise in the East capitalism will destroy the middle class and make this a world of rich and poor. I would recommend anyone who cares about this subject go to YouTube.com and watch some of the lectures by economist Richard Wolff. They are excellent.

    JM
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