Yesterday I took a much needed drive down my block, thinking back in time as to how I got here. I take notice of this beautiful neighborhood we live in, large single houses on aome tree-lines streets, several cars in people’s drive-ways. Going from lower class to middle class took me several hard-working years to achieve. Several years of working hard just to catch a piece of this american dream.
What would it have been like if things were different here in the US? Thinking back to when I was in high school in my senior year and having my parents tell me they could not afford to send me to college. I worked 2 jobs to help put myself through college and buy text books, working as a waitress at I Hop in Center City Philly and working other part-time jobs at the same time. Also taking student loans in order to cover some of the cost. Knowing in other countries education is very valued and college is free of charge.
After five years of hard work and graduating from Temple University. Being too exhausted from working all the time, I was too burned out to go to grad school. I wanted to study speech pathology and work with stroke patients, but did not feel like borrowing anymore college loans and working late nights again.
After graduation I went straight to work making $8.00 an hour at my first job in customer service. By this time, I was on the way to making a half decent living and paying back my college loans, an even starting a savings account hoping one day to actually purchase my first car and get a drivers license.
My parents by then were in their 60’s; I was in my 20’s. At that point my parents were getting ill and they were on several medications they could not afford. So I had stop paying my college loans back to the government and start paying a fortune for medication. I wrote to every single pharma. company back in the early 90’s to try and obtain information on prescription programs for seniors; not one single response came back. Knowing Canada has universal health care for their citizens and prescriptions cost 70-80% less. In the US, HMO’s can tell us what kinds of treatment we can or can not get. After a few years of shelling out hard working money and my savings account for prescriptions here in the US for my parents, I started ordering prescriptions over the internet at a pharmacy in Canada.
Eventually after getting married my husband and I were able to purchase out first row home in Philly, my husband worked a second computer job at night to save for the down payment on our first house. After having my daughter, we had to deal with child care. The cost of day care ate up a large percentage of our salary, just for one child. In other countries such as France, child care for working parents is free, plus you get 5-6 weeks vacation time.
So imagine sometimes what life would be like if things were different here in the US, we had free universal health care, a free college education, free or very low cost for child care, and 5-6 weeks vacation at our jobs. After all, charity starts here at home. It is all about having choices here, that is if you can afford those choices. It is all about upper class who can afford those choices, and middle and lower class struggling and being controlled by our government unable to make those choices. Pretty soon the middle class here in the US will be extinct. No wonder why American’s die much earlier than people in other countries, perhaps it is the pressure and the stress level. Lower and middle class Americans spend most of their time working hard just to live a decent life-style, and then trying to maintain what they worked so hard to obtain.
And while I am quickly writing this article due to lack of time, working over 40 hours a week and raising a family, my eight year old daughter is behind me reading it. A funny thought, a few nights ago my daughter asked me why all of her toys say made in China. We sure hope things are easier for in the her here in the US when she gets older. We hope she does not need to support her parents, maybe social security will still be around, doubt it, so we all better start saving now if we can.