Letter: Have too many in our nation lost sense of self-reliance?

2012-09-27T09:00:00Z Letter: Have too many in our nation lost sense of self-reliance? Corvallis Gazette Times
September 27, 2012 9:00 am

We hear the phrase “the greatest recession since the Great Depression.” There is a big difference between these two times.

And we know this, for we are the generation of the 1920s and 1930s (yes, we’re still here, although our numbers drop daily), and we remember because we lived it! We survived without food stamps, unemployment checks, free medical, low-cost housing or free lunches for our children.

How could that happen? We worked! We took agricultural jobs and any type of work. We shovel-spaded our gardens and sent our children to school after a breakfast and with a sack lunch. Gas was rationed, no home gyms; walking kept us in shape. We survived the Great Depression and won World War II.

Tom Brokaw honored us in his book “The Greatest Generation,” and praised us for our hard work, sacrifices and mostly for our self-reliance.

Now we hear that 46 million people are on food stamps, and 47 percent do not pay federal income taxes! The biggest difference between the entitlement programs that started during the Roosevelt administration (the CCC, WPA, NYA, etc.: with those programs, any able-bodied person had to work! We’re now giving entitlements to people who are physically able, but not required to work.

One might wonder how the pioneers crossed the country without handouts.

Jean Nichols


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(10) Comments

  1. Karl S
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    Karl S - September 29, 2012 11:02 am
    The CCC and later the GI Bill were huge in helping to create the middle class. The middle class with money created a booming economy with good paying jobs for everyone. It was great seed money and we could use some again. The good pay is gone and most of the jobs have been exported by the corporations who have become international and don't give a darn about our country or the American people.
  2. ClapTrap
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    ClapTrap - September 28, 2012 7:26 pm
    I used food stamps, WIC, and any other government subsidies I could get my hands on for my family for the last 4 years. During that time I finished a PhD in physics (my meager stipend was paid for by a National Science Foundation grant). I landed a job right out of graduate school making 6 figures. I did this because with that assistance I knew I could better myself more quickly, get a job I wanted, and begin to contribute to society in a real way. Without it, it may have been another 5-10 years, if I finished at all, during which time I would've had to take a job to get by, and I likely wouldn't have made enough to have to pay any real taxes anyway. Now I pay a lot of taxes - and I don't whine about it. I gladly support the programs that made my life possible, so someone else can do the same.

    It sickens me when fools like Jean talk down to the 47% of people not paying taxes like they're a bunch of lazy freeloaders sitting on the couch contributing nothing, when the majority of them are not paying any taxes because they don't make enough money. They've all settled for those s****y jobs that barely pay enough to keep food on the table she's so generously served up. Why not just go ahead and say "Let them eat cake"? Today is really no different than those glorious times of yore harkened to in this letter - save that in those days you might actually be able to support a family in one of those back-breaking manual labor positions, whereas today the division of wealth is so disparate that those families don't stand a chance.
  3. andyg
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    andyg - September 28, 2012 7:07 pm
    I do know why DeFazio voted against it, because he said so in an email to his constituents. The reasons for the right-wing opposition to the stimulus bill have been extensively reported. What's sad is when people behave according to stereotypes (like signing their brains over to Grover Norquist).
  4. corvallisite
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    corvallisite - September 28, 2012 4:24 pm
    So, you know the exact reason why every single person voted against that bill? Or are you just relying on your usual stereotyping? Very sad.
  5. bella
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    bella - September 28, 2012 3:56 pm
    Hand-outs? What hand-outs? You mean the programs into which working people paid for years? Or church programs that help the needy? I guess you belong to the school of social darwinism. Sink or swim. Hungry? Too bad, starve. I guess we need the second coming to remind people what Jesus preached about helping the poor and suffering. Or do you think a modern Jesus would be more like Gordon Gecko? Like Trump? Or a phony like Romney?
  6. andyg
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    andyg - September 28, 2012 11:08 am
    Um, nice try, but DeFazio voted against it because the stimulus bill had too many tax cuts and not enough infrastructure spending (which were in there to appease the right-wingers in both parties). The right-wingers opposed it because it wasn't all tax cuts (or, as some have stated, they wanted to prevent the President from accomplishing anything).
  7. curious one
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    curious one - September 27, 2012 9:20 pm
    The letter is only partially correct: gas rationing was during the war only - along with rationing of certain foods and leather and such as well. As to low cost housing, it was there. You could buy a house in some of those years (right after the war and on) for nothing down and pay 10 to 15,000 for them (3bed/1bath/frpl).

    There were years when many went hungry enough to become sick, and died. There were soup lines and bread lines, and the fit survived. I doubt you would want to see that return.

    As to the 47% who don't pay federal income taxes: Many of those are corporations who make billions (remember Romney says "corporations are people my friend"), many of those are rich folks with good accountants who also make millions. Many are the retired who don't make enough to pay federal income taxes, and only pay gas taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, in some states, transfer taxes on sales of homes. Many are the working poor who pick what you eat, but don't make enough to pay federal income taxes, but only pay payroll taxes, gas taxes, etc.

    If you want to drag in left vs. right, it seems it is more a rich vs. poor now as most of the income is now held by a very few - like other 3rd world countries!

    When you start to remember the "good old days", remember, we had county hospitals (free for the poor), we had people who died on the streets, we had many elderly destitute people, we also had many relatives who had to live with family or die. Families weren't so spread out, and it was common to see the elderly aunt or grandmother living with the family (often the men didn't survive having had to work too hard). Yeh, it was just such a fun time!
  8. corvallisite
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    corvallisite - September 27, 2012 8:01 pm
    Last I heard, Peter DeFazio voted against the ill-fated stimulus plan of Obama's It isn't just conservatives who opposed it. The Republican vs. Democrat/conservative vs. liberal bickering on here is really getting old.
  9. andyg
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    andyg - September 27, 2012 12:38 pm
    Yes, Jean, FDR, with full Democratic majorities in Congress, got huge deficit stimulus spending going that built many large and extensive infrastructure projects (like Bonneville). For some reason, conservatives are vehemently opposed to that kind of stimulus, yet apparently have no problem handing out yet more unemployment checks (or blowing cash on weapons the Pentagon has no use for). What's up with that?
  10. corvallisite
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    corvallisite - September 27, 2012 9:09 am
    Excellent letter! Thank you so much for reminding us of how we all can be self-reliant and take care of our own without government handouts!
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