, Muskogee, OK

October 8, 2012

THE PEOPLE SPEAK – Romney out of touch with working class

— Presidential candidate Romney’s recent comments show he is out of touch with reality in the lives of the working class of the U.S. I don’t consider myself, nor most of the people from my part of the country, deadbeats expecting handouts from the federal government.

I am an 83-year-old disabled Korean War veteran, and my wife and I have many health problems. We are able to get by and get health care and medicines with the help of our Social Security (not the maximum), the VA allowance and medicines, Medicare, and our small retirements from years of hard work.

Many others we know are not as fortunate. Most of the people we know have worked hard all their lives, often like me, starting as even pre-teenagers. I picked berries and sold them, and caught grasshoppers for fishermen before I was 10. I mowed lawns all over town with a push mower at 12. I painted houses and all kinds of other jobs while a teenager. I joined the National Guard in high school, was mobilized and sent to Korea during that war. Afterwards I used the GI Bill and worked to support a family while getting degrees in college. I worked hard until I was able to retire on Social Security and a small retirement from my company.

My wife and most people we know have similar stories. The hard part is seeing many older people, especially women, simply not getting enough even for medicines and health care. Until the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) disparagingly called “Obamacare,” too many people were barred from this care because of “pre-existing conditions.” Being ill and missing work for a few days got them fired from their usually minimum-wage jobs. In reading PPACA carefully one finds other things it corrects even though it may not be perfect. I consider one other important condition it did eliminate. That is it eliminated the additional charge that insurance companies selling private health plans were charging for women, about $100 extra for being a woman.