This morning on my way home from the Italian deli, I stopped in at a corner shop that sells cigarettes, milk, candy – that sort of thing. Normally, I walk in get what I need and smile at whomever is around. It’s a place where working class guys hang out and truth to tell, sometimes in the morning you can smell the liquor on their breaths. But mostly, they stop for awhile to talk to each other and get back in their delivery trucks or construction trucks and move on.
I bought a 99cents bag of potato chips – it’s a real treat. Salt is not good for me but occasionally I’ll eat a few chips and throw the rest to the birds. I put a dollar on the counter and the female clerk (certainly not working toward any award for politness) said “That’s a dollar and nine cents, lady.” (Okay, for one wild moment I forgot I lived in Cook County, Illlnois.) and I said: “Oh right, got to pay for their Cook County pensions.” Now there is nothing wrong with government pensions but there are such a slew of stories of how many Cook County employees abuse the system – it’s newspaper worthy at least once a week.
And what followed was a chorus worthy of spectators at a wrestling match. Three men in the back started yelling about their years of working and how they expect SS payments. The woman clerk told me she tore up her voting card, mailed it to the WH and told the President to stick it up (well you know). Another man grabbed my arm and told me he sure as hell was entitled and spelled the word for me “e.n.t.i.t.l.e.d.” after working since 1970. The others in the back continued to yell about the Democrats – and some guys standing on the corner came inside and began a riff about government workers. Now this is a Democratic suburb – a working class suburb, though it is showing signs of moving up and I’m sure the slimy developers will be here soon.
I talked briefly to the guy who was hanging on to my arm. He had sketchy information and I shared what I knew. He was afraid Republicans would win elections because of the SS scare and they’d be worse than what we have now. And boy did I learn some new words and/or phrases from the guys in the back as to the political class we have now.
All told, there were about 15 guys in there when I left yelling about the system and their SS.
Okay – here’s what I want to know. Where the hell is the Democratic Committee of my suburb and the Democratic Party of Cook County talking to its base about what is going on. Giving them the proper information (if they even get it themselves) – making some sort of “plan.” A sensible plan to get these people to take the right kind of action – instead of their endless golf outings, cocktail parties and general ennui. Don’t they get it. These people need to be educated. I’ve sent a lot of material to the newspaper here in the hopes that a reporter I was dealing with on another matter would write a column about how it is going to affect our people here – elderly and boomers – and well, everyone.
Most of our elderly couples and women especially own their own homes outright and are making a serious effort to remain there ’til the end. We are talking about a suburb known for its beautiful old brick bungalows. That phrase: “They don’t build them like this anymore” – that phrase belongs in our suburb. I have considered myself would that be considered an “asset” if they do means testing. And from our Democratic Party here: crickets. (Caveat: our City does do a good job with its older population on many matters but apparently education is not necessary to their way of thinking.)