Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Reality Bites

A letter to the editor in today's Wall Street Journal caught my interest this morning. It, perhaps, presages something fundamental happening in our society. There's no doubt that it's starting slowly, but with the economy continuing it's rather tepid and unsure "jobless recovery," there can be no doubt that this trend will continue. The question is whether it will contribute to society reaching a basic tipping point from the meanness of small-government conservatism to a more caring helpful-government progressivism.

Here's the complete letter - I think it speaks for itself:

Your article regarding layoffs among older executives and managers ("In the Lead: Older Executives Find Job Losses Often Mean Having to Retire Early," July 20) really hit home. I was 55 years old when I lost my job. After a one-year search and 14 interviews I landed a job at nearly the same salary but with better benefits with an institution, it turns out, that is an absolute joy to work for. But I am the exception. Many others who were terminated with me are still looking for full-time work three years later.

This experience and the recent wave of corporate corruption and executive greed have profoundly changed my attitudes. My previous obsessions with tax cuts, deregulation and smaller government have been replaced by concerns over maintaining Social Security and Medicare, providing medical care for the uninsured and efforts to curtail tax evasion by businesses and wealthy individuals. I guess reality got in the way of my good theories.

Kenneth Susinka
Elmhurst, Ill.

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