Dear Editor:

Could you handle an unexpected $500 plumbing bill? Are you over 66 and your Social Security check never lasts the month? Did you forego filling a prescription recently to pay a bill? Do you work two jobs that pay a fraction of what you once earned with one? Does your job provide health insurance and a pension or a 401K? 

Are you a single mother wanting to work but can’t because childcare devours your paycheck? Do you realize Medicare doesn’t cover nursing home care and what’s keeping your elderly parent in a nursing home is Medicaid? One-third of us working in a manufacturing job are on food stamps or other federal assistance programs. This is our current reality.

The president says the U.S. is in an economic boom, “the likes of which the world has never seen before.” This isn’t true for us.  

Our country had stronger growth during Obama’s last three years in office than we’ve had since 2017. The last three years has merely continued a modest and steadily improving economy that started back in 2009. 

Yes, we have record low unemployment and a record high stock market right now but neither are a predictor of long-term economic security for us. Buried inside this president’s proposed $4.8 trillion budget are safety net cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, student loan assistance, affordable housing, food stamps and public education.

The 2017 tax cut bump put a little money in some pockets and lots of money in a few pockets. Most of us didn’t benefit at all, our national debt is out of control, and the hard-working lower and middle class see their pocketbooks empty while being told everything’s great. We know it’s not.

The people struggling to make ends meet try hard but keep falling further behind. Candidate Trump said he would never touch our benefits and social services, but we just learned that he is. 

Soon those of us living on the edge, paycheck to paycheck, who’ve been chastised for not working hard enough or being ambitious enough, may be falling behind, too. 

Most of us are just one emergency expense away.

Jacqueline Elsner


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