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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Cousin Vinnie

My cousin Vinnie has a beam in his eye. yet he is always telling others to get the splinters out of theirs.

He lives pretty comfortably in retirement mainly with rents from or sales of his many houses and with savings and his VA Health Care. He worked hard and spent 2 years inactive service in the military. And he attacks those who need a hand from food stamps or rent subsidy or unemployment insurance or income supplement. He feels he is paying for these freeloaders out of his high taxes and that isn't fair. It doesn't help that so many of them are black or Hispanic, even illegal.

He calls himself a conservative, but he isn't. Conservatives start with history and respect tradition and human values. He forgets how much his ancestors paid to subsidize the railroads and the robber barons in the 19th century who were granted land that belonged to the Indians to both build their tracks and to sell for commerce that helped open the West for the real estate investment from which he profited. He forgets how much we all paid for FHA and other housing programs that he used to buy and sell homes. He forgets how much we all paid for the roadways and waterways that made his land and housing valuable. Much less fire, police, and public health. He also forgets the GI Bill and VA that allowed a whole generation including him to get an education and prosper so they could get the homes he bought and sold. He also forgets the sacrifice of working men who organized to get a sustenance wage, end child labor, and ensure safe working conditions.  He only knows the "freeloaders" responsible for a pittance of the national budget compared to the billions for subsidies, insurances, and tax breaks for large farmers and for corporations, their CEOs and investors.

Cousin Vinnie is a self made man. He really thinks he did it all by himself.

But then again maybe he doesn't. Maybe he really knows how much he has been given by society through government programs and feels guilty.  Often what people protest too much about in someone else's character trait or perceived failing, they are seeing in themselves.

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