Vaily Daily columnist Richard Carnes: The flip side of choices
You have had the same job for more than 25 years. You have a beautiful family, with a supportive wife, one child in college and another a senior in high school.
Your job is a wonderful, challenging and fulfilling position for an American corporation that designs, engineers and manufactures widgets. Your product has been selling worldwide for decades, and you’re intensely proud of each widget being stamped “Made in America.”
And you are fired.
One day at work, you are blindsided by the director of human resources and told that due to increasing costs, lower worldwide demand due to the recession and especially the anticipated financial burdens of Obamacare, they have no choice but to let you go early, years before your up-until-now well-planned retirement.
You are unemployed, your family no longer has health insurance, and you feel like you’ve just been bitch-slapped by an empty chair.
The first thought in your mind (strangely enough) is Vice President Joe Biden’s inane Roosevelt paraphrasing, “I promise you, the president has a big stick. I promise you …”
After suppressing the urge to fly to D.C. and start swinging your own big stick, you do what any rational family man in his right mind would do – update your resume, send it to as many companies as is physically possible and do whatever is necessary to help your family members understand and adapt to what is undoubtedly the most traumatic event in their lives.
Yet your 401(k) that at one point was in a nice six-figure range has never broken the five-figure barrier since Democrats took over the White House. The college funds for both kids are worth almost half of their peak in 2008. Credit cards are maxed. Mortgage is underwater.
You put the house on the market but quickly realize sales are still stagnant in your area. Your entire future now looks more dismal than Bernie Madoff, who at least has a guaranteed roof over his head.
The point is, you, along with your family, are precariously balanced on the sharp edge of a tall fiscal cliff.
You are scared, but at age 56, at least Medicare will be there for you.
Then again, maybe not.
You feel you can no longer depend upon society, the state, the bankers or politicians and hear more and more from the nutcase survivalists claiming the world as you know it is coming to an end and you must purchase a 20-year supply of food and guns, along with an appropriately sized solar water collector.
Then you remember that the party of social welfare in the upcoming election continues to say it is doing what is best for all, not just one particular segment of the country but everyone equally.
“This continual spending and constant increase in the national debt simply cannot continue,” you think to yourself. You understand sacrifices must be made, but why does your family have to pay such a high price when there are so many others not paying their fair share or even paying at all?
So the question is, does all this have an effect on your vote this fall?
Twist it however you wish, as I am sure a few of you will (the polar opposites of last week’s twistings), but it’s a legitimate and simple “yes” or “no” question.
Enjoy the convention this week.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.