Re: Dan O’Sullivan letter of May 22 (“Time to Junk School Tax Break for Cobb Seniors”)
After 10 years in retirement and free to move anywhere, I have continued living in Cobb and Marietta partially because of this tax break.
I, my wife, and many in our generation, put ourselves through college, some yoked with student loans. Then came our children (three for us), for whom I paid everything. Those were very difficult years; both parents working; I taking an out of country post alone for three years for the extra money. And now come the 11 grandchildren, for whom I have been and will continue to be partially responsible. That’s three generations of support and related educational costs!
Different generations have different problems. The “Greatest Generation,” the WWII demographic, had multiple stressful events to overcome. Careers were truncated; relationships were destroyed or diminished, they were overworked, and many were killed or maimed both physically and emotionally. My generation has their cross to bear, too. Please note that the recently retired cannot live as expected on their savings. Suppose you were prudent and lucky enough to have $1 million in retirement accounts. But financially, the country is running at a 2 percent GDP and is in a 10-to-15 year cyclical bear market requiring both personal and governmental monetary de-leveraging. This means, among other events, that one cannot safely and regularly extract even 2 percent on their savings. That’s $20,000 before taxes for our millionaire! Also note that the first decade of the new century had been essentially dead for investing. This is a curse for the retired generation.
Policy makers and lawyers can change the meaning of a concept by inventing and inserting into the conversation a single word. One such trick is “entitlement.” Of course, in recent decades, there has been an ongoing giveaway in the country in exchange for votes. But contracts like Social Security and Medicare were mostly paid for by the recipients. In my case contributing the maximum for over 40 years. Even military retirement! My 20 years in the Navy with a Vietnam tour is now recharacterized as an “entitlement.” And we all know what that means the government can pick and chose how to save the nation by breaking these covenants.
A point that Mr. Sullivan misses here is an ongoing debate in national politics: That the place we now find ourselves is due to our own misdeeds and bad decisions. For those who remember, consider “Pogo the possum,” a cartoon character in the 1940s and ’50s, whose dictum was: “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
The educational system, generally speaking, is in a state of chaos. What are the remedies? Well, maybe spend more money of course. What are the causes? Refer back to Pogo. The antithesis is simple: Spend less, especially if you don’t have it.
And you have my personal assurance, as a dues paying member of the retired generation, that statistically speaking, we don’t have much money either. And no way to earn money if we don’t have it.