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Letter to the Editor: Everyone needs to pay their ‘dues’ to live here

By Steve Hanson, Charles City

A few years ago I read a piece that compared living in the U.S. to belonging to a country club. The writer was saying that, like members of a country club, people paid their dues to belong; likewise, as Americans we pay taxes (dues) to belong to the “country club” that is our nation.

The problem has become, however, that many “members” don’t like paying their dues. Many of these people happen to be wealthy, corporate types who are only concerned with themselves. They seem to say, “I’ve got mine. Screw you.”

What they seem to forget is that because they live where they do, they have had the opportunity to gain wealth and prosperity. There was a system in place for them to do this: roads, electricity, water, airlines, banks, shipping, communication, military, police — many built on the public dollar.

The point is, they did not achieve on their own. They had help. It is therefore fitting that they should pay their “dues.” And when they don’t, they are screwing everyone else.

In Eisenhower’s day, tax rates were fair. The wealthy and the corporations paid their share, and there was a healthy, vigorous middle class. Sadly, those days are gone.

The wealthy, the corporations now control the very government that makes decisions regarding taxes (dues), and guess what? They look out for No. 1. If America is ever going to be great again, the middle class must be able to thrive. And if things continue the way they are, this will never happen.

We are becoming a society of two classes, the Haves and the Have Nots. And how can we have greatness when so many live in poverty and fear, when there is plenty to go around?

Some will call me a socialist. I don’t care. I am simply advocating for a return to fairness. A growing economy should not only benefit those at the top, which is how it is right now.

Corporate profits have never been higher. But that doesn’t do much for most of us. Adjusting for inflation, wages have fallen, or at best remained stagnant, for decades. Those at the top however have made out like bandits. This is morally wrong.