Barely Making Ends Meet

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"Not Making It Like Mom and Dad" [July 7-14] dealt with the difficulty of maintaining a reasonable standard of living in view of the high costs today for just about everything.

It seemed to make a fair amount of sense until it got to the last paragraph.Then came the call for the government to solve all our financial problems. Are we not responsible anymore for our financial difficulties? Should the government save us from our financial blunders? The article concludes with the thought that intelligent and articulate people should "demand" more federal support for education, housing, child care, health care, and retirement. Wow. Welfare for everyone. I think it is time we all strive to make our own way in this society and stop looking to the government to take care of us from cradle to grave.

Charles A. Gibb


Boiling Springs, Pa.  

Nan Mooney's ideas expressed in her Q&A session reflect her out-of-touch attitude. How her parents (people my age) made it was by working harder and smarter. I am now retired. To get where I am, I always worked at least two jobs. Almost every house I owned was a fixer-upper. The sweat equity accumulated over the years allowed me to own a nice, comfortable new house in my retirement years. My personal contributions to an IRA and retirement supplement social security. Long, luxurious vacations were not for me and still aren't. My college education was not on loans, but pay-as-you-go. Mooney and her generation may be articulate and political savvy, but intelligent not so. Who does she think is going to pay for her demands of more federal support for education, housing, child care, healthcare and retirement? Federal money is that which is collected from working tax paying individuals. When those individuals stop working and paying taxes, there is no more money.

Bess Carnahan


Fort Laramie , Wyo.  

Nan Mooney forgot the biggest "fixed" expense of all: government taxes. I have done all the right things you mention you're supposed to do: graduated from college, got an advanced degree, got a good job, lived with the parents to save to buy a house. As a single man my expenses look like this: 50% of total income: taxes (federal/state income; social security; state disability; property; sales including federal/state gasoline); 35%: the fixed expenses you note, including an occasional vacation, a few frills; 15%: the (largely failing, with only a handful of years to go) attempt to save for retirement. Your solution: demand more government spending on education, housing, child care, healthcare, and retirement. I already pay 50% of my total income in taxes. If you want the last 15% I have, who will pay for me?

John L. West


Pasadena , Calif.  

I would like to welcome Nan Mooney to the real world. Our country has always been about making life better for the next generation. Immigrants suffered and struggled to make a better life for their children, this was the "American Dream." It was possible for everyone. Something changed, I am not sure when, and the younger generations are faced with just surviving. However, as she has discovered, bigger is not always better. Wanting what you have is less stressful than always wanting more. We all have too much stuff and not enough tranquility in our lives. Expectations need to change, perhaps wanting less quantity and more quality is a great place to start.

Mary Watkins


Ludington , Mich.  

The interview with Nan Mooney was right on! Her description of expectations of the "middle class" and the realities of the 2000s, plus her advice on how to cope were excellent. But the last paragraph blew it. Her policy recommendations are at least socialist even border on the communist. We already have a plethora of the population dependent on the "government" and she doesn't seem to have a clue that that is us! Who does she think (if she does) will pay? As a retired history teacher and politically active independent of 77 years, I fear for my children (and Ms. Mooney) and grandchildren, plus a year-old great-grand baby. Taxes will go out the roof. Plus, we have a population of over 360 million and can't do any better than these candidates?

Marianne Ernhart


Greensburg , Pa.