Americans who succeed with help: Let’s say so.

I am surprised how pleased and moved I was by the recent post of the Mayor of Minneapolis regarding Gov. Mitt Romney’s statement that 47% of voters are entitlement-expecting pseudo-victims.  But I see why Mayor Rybak’s essay is powerful.  It’s because Rybak is so specific.  He wouldn’t be where he is today without exactly the same sort of government benefit that he — and Rep. Paul Ryan — relied on for their college educations:

When Paul Ryan’s father died when Paul was 16, his widowed mother went back to college herself and used her Social Security survivor benefits to put Paul through college.

That rang very true to me, because that is exactly the same situation that my mother found herself in when my father died, when I was 10.

…Paul Ryan and I both got to go to college precisely because of the “entitlements” that my hardworking parents never expected they were entitled to.

This was powerful.  It’s one thing to say we all benefit.  It’s another to be specific.  So let’s do it.  Put it in your FaceBook status, on your blogs, heck, put it in your email signatures.  I know not all of you can actually spare the social capital of doing this in a way that alienates an employer, and times are hard.  All the more reason that those of us who can, should.  This is even more important for feminist reasons. Women are more likely to be poor, and more likely to apply for forms of aid.  Those of us with the privilege of being assumed to be successful and job-creators and whatnot have an obligation to say we have benefited, too.

I wouldn’t be here without food stamps and student loans.  I’m telling everyone.


2 thoughts on “Americans who succeed with help: Let’s say so.

  1. Without food stamps and government loans I would not have made it through grad school to complete my PhD (unfortunately the rules have changed so most grad students today cannot qualify for food stamps, that’s sad). With luck I’ve had a good career and sent loads of taxes to build roads, schools, etc. for the “job-creators” to use in their endeavors. I came from a legacy of poverty; I live and teach and contribute in the solid middle class. I owe much of it to government programs.

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