Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Visited Members Of The Entitled Class Today

Or, as I like to call them, my family.

People who know the price of everything and the value of nothing like to moan and complain all day about how expensive PERS retirees and the poor are and how they're destroying the state and how maybe they don't deserve what they have coming to them.

I'd like to introduce you to a couple of people.

One's my mother. She worked for more than two decades with the developmentally disabled in the Oregon State system, at Fairview. Now, the system assisting the mentally and physically disabled is and was flawed, to be sure. People are still arguing over whether or not closing the Fairview Training Center and Dammasch State Hospital was a good idea. But for the majority of her working life, my mother was in the thick of it and she did a lot of good, not only caring for people in the State's charge but also taking her own time outside of work and helping foster a child or two as far away as Coos Bay.

Thing about my mom is, she can't stop mothering. Some of our most vulnerable citizens are maybe a little better off because of what she cared enough to do. She was paid adequately for it and now lives on her PERS pension. She is far from getting rich on it. They have enough to keep from being homeless and live in an excuciatingly-modest, cosy, well-maintained manufactured home.

She wouldn't feel comfortable in a mansion anyway.

The other person is my nephew. He's a nice, smart fellow with a blazing quick mind but a lot stacked against him. He was rescued by the state foster care system which has placed him with my mom who, as I said, can't stop mothering. After a great many alternatives have been tried to help him get a grip on his emotional problems, he's on a medication and counseling program that have given him real hope. He's as happy today as I've ever seen a kid with so many odds against him.

And how can he do it? The Oregon Health Plan. Without which, I might add, at $800 a prescription, we'd have no chance of getting on it, and he might well eventually go into the state system as a problem, not as a potential success story.

So if anyone wants to come at me with how spending for state retirees and the OHP is a waste on people who don't deserve it, you'll get a deaf ear over it from me.

Do you think I'm too close to the problem? So what? I'd argue that you are too far away from it.

I like to think of it as my tax dollars at work.

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