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Scraping by on a quarter million

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, October 30, 2008

Like countless Notre Dame students, I started off my Tuesday morning by zoning out in my 9:30 and perusing The Observer, where I discovered a viewpoint entitled “Barack the Socialist” (Oct. 28). In her article, Christina Pesavento draws a contentious connection between Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s opinions and socialist tendencies. How original. I was on the verge of not completing the column based solely on the banality of the argument until I read the section in which she provides three reasons why Obama’s intention to increase taxes for Americans that earn a net income of over $250,000 is unwarranted.

First, Pesavento declares, ” … English philosopher John Locke … states, ‘government has no other end than the preservation of property.'” Yes, Locke’s views greatly influenced Thomas Jefferson when he drafted the Declaration of Independence. However, Ronald Terry Constant, a historian, claims, “Next to the Bible, Locke’s writings were the most quoted source in revolutionary literature.” Furthermore, the Bible asserts, ” … when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.” This is not an argument against separation of Church and state. It simply emphasizes that Christian ideals truly inspired the framers of the Declaration, indicating that the government is obligated to support the impoverished.

Secondly, Pesavento compares Obama’s tax policies to exam grades, where “A” students would have to give some of their points to students that “have slacked off and are receiving lower grades.” Well, how about students who could not even afford books to study for this exam? Pesavento makes it seem as if all Americans are provided with the necessary resources to succeed monetarily in this country. False. Individuals who live below the poverty line are lucky to have a “Where’s Waldo” book during their youth.

Lastly, Pesavento asserts ” … for those Americans who live in areas where the cost of living is very high, $250,000 a year is next to nothing.” … Seriously?

For the record, I am not arguing Pesavento’s belief that Obama supports socialist principles. While I strongly disagree with her on that conviction, I do not have the time or political knowledge to debate that topic. Nonetheless, Pesavento’s column fails to comprehend the atrocious financial conditions in which a great amount of Americans live. In fact, no one, including myself, can truly understand the horrid environment that these unfortunate people must experience daily.

Clearly not someone making over $250,000.