Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Three Percent
AJ Robinson

Just the other day, I saw a video of a woman who had been deaf her whole life. She finally got an inner ear implants. Now, she can hear.

The first thing she heard was her own voice. She broke down and sobbed. It was very moving.

A news report spoke of how her family had worked and scrimped for quite a while to save up the $30,000 needed for the operation. It got me to thinking: just how much is that amount of money? Just what does it represent?

For me (now) it’s more than I make in a year. For many people it’s more than they make in a year! As I now work as a writer, I tend to think in terms of what I can make in a day. If I work five days a week, fifty weeks of the year, including two weeks of vacation,, and I make $100 a day, my annual income is $25,000, gross pay; more than my entire salary for a year to help this woman.

I used to be an engineer; math has always been my strong suit. I got to thinking, what does that sum mean in terms of a percentage; $30,000 is what percent of what? Well, it just so happens, it is three percent of one million dollars.

Why is that particular figure significant?

The Bush Era tax cut for the rich is three percent. If each rich person just paid an extra $30,000 on every million dollars they made in a year, it could pay so a person to get their hearing back. Seems like a good deal to me, but that’s just me. I suppose someone like Paris Hilton or Donald Trump needs that extra $30,000 for… something, but as we’re in an era of shared sacrifice, it does seem to me that it is not such a burden on either of them and the other wealthy people in this country to part with that small amount. Is paying an extra 3% really going to prevent the fat cats, “job creators,” from living the good life?

As for my family and me, we’re doing our part to share the sacrifice. Giving up our house to the bank, selling most of our stuff, moving into a small apartment, and taking any job I can find. We’ve gone from middle class to working poor. Am I happy about it? What do you think? What makes me madder still is when politicians and pundits have the gall to say that the rich shouldn’t make even a modest sacrifice. For people who complain on about being good Americans, they sure don’t act like them.

Granted, the government isn’t going to use it to give people their hearing, mores the pity, but maybe it could go to paying for teachers, police officers, firefighters, soldiers and so forth that our nation needs. There are also roads and bridges, schools and colleges and many other aspects of our infrastructure where the money would help. Some might argue that $30,000 per fat cat can’t amount to much. Well, the base for the Statue of Liberty came largely from the contributions of schoolchildren, one penny at a time.

If you go online, you can see the video of that woman hearing her own voice for the first time. Check it out, and then tell me raising taxes on the rich a mere 3% is such a tremendous burden.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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