Humble Rants 7 December 2011

Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2011 in Opinion

Humble Rants 7 December 2011

by Robert Skoglund aka The humble Farmer

We read in the newspaper that many people are up in arms because some Maine county employees got pay raises.

I can't knock pay raises for state or county employees.

I only feel bad that more state and town and county employees didn't get pay raises.

Just because I'm going to have to borrow money to get through this winter — the $481 I get a month in Social Security doesn't even buy a tank of heating oil — doesn't mean I don't think my neighbors who are town or county employees should not get decent wages comparable to what is found in countries in Northern Europe.

I have discovered by listening and reading that it is the affluent people who have incomes much higher than mine (in the $40,000 to $50,000 a year bracket) who complain the loudest when one of their state or county employee neighbors gets a raise that might enable that town employee to make the mortgage payment or trade up from a truck with 294,000 miles on it.

I don't have the answer.

Perhaps old people in this country are going to have to move in with their kids to be able to eat and stay warm in the winter. We lived with grammie when I was a kid.

Perhaps any bright Maine kid without rich parents who wants to stand a chance of earning a living wage and then retiring is going to have to remove to Northern Europe. Or at least go there long enough to get a college education that they won't be repaying to the bank for the next 15 years.

Northern Europe is where most of our people came from years ago — back when things were better here than they were over there.

Any young person who backpacks in Northern Europe for a summer would discover very quickly that things have changed 180 degrees and it might be time for those of us who can no longer survive here to think about moving back to where their ancestors came from.

My father came from Sweden. My great-grandparents came from Scotland. Aberdeen. You can still hear it in my speech. A great-great-great-grandfather, Dennis Fogarty, came from — you know where. My buddy, Red Minzy, who was in the Coast Guard with me, retired in Ireland with his CG pension many years ago.

Another great-great-great-grandfather was Peter Hilt, one of the Waldoboro Germans.

Yup. If I had great-grandchildren I'd borrow just enough money to buy them a 3-month backpacking-Eurail trip through Northern Europe. Open their eyes by letting them talk with their peers from Holland and Finland and Denmark. Let them see our country and what is now happening here through a clear and certainly unclouded lens.

I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time in Northern Europe over the past 50 years and when I’m visiting friends and relatives over there I don't remember hearing them complain that one of their neighbors was getting more of the pie than they were.  

Because they don't spend money on endless wars and they actually tax their largest corporations, there is enough of the good life for everyone.

The humble Farmer can be heard Saturdays at 5 on WERU Blue Hill, Sundays at 7 on WRFR in Rockland and Tuesdays at 2 on WMPG Portland.

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