As I campaign, the most important thing to me is meeting the people of New Jersey’s 2nd District. I’ve already met so many wonderful people. I recently learned something very interesting about one of them. I already knew he was passionate about making sure the economy works for ALL Americans – especially those who need help the most. But I did not know the following, which he shared me and others:
Some of you that I’ve known professionally may know my story. I grew up on welfare in a housing project. If you were making a bet, sociologists would have said I wasn’t a great bet. Thanks to the investment America made in me, I was able to go to an Ivy league college & enjoyed a 40-year investment career. I’ve been able to send 3 kids to colleges, 2 to some of the best graduate schools in the country. As best my siblings can recall, my Mom received about $250 a month for about 20 years or $60,000. I’ve saved my tax returns going back to 1971, I graduated HS in 1970. I’ve paid over $1.7 million in federal taxes. I haven’t run those numbers through a calculator that would take inflation into account & the time value of money, but I think it’s been a pretty good investment. My mom raised 3 other kids while on welfare. They have all worked & paid taxes for 30-40 years.
The economic statistics paint a very clear picture, as great as our economy is, the rich have gotten much richer while the poor have fallen behind. It is as bad as the Gilded Age. There are multiple factors behind this, but tax policy has played a part. The Trump tax cuts, cutting corporate taxes by 40% from 36% to 21% (business publications recommended 26%) and cutting taxes for people making over $500,000 exacerbated the trend.
This trend is unhealthy. I would suggest that it is partially responsible for the Trump phenomena. History suggests it is dangerous. People who feel discarded or cheated, react.
It is time to even the scales. Economists say we can unleash productivity if we can engage more people into the economic system, pre-K, college education. They have talents that if nurtured can benefit us as well as them. They may have ideas, inventions, cures, that can help us all & help them. If we invest in them, like America invested in me, WE WIN, WE ALL WIN.
We need to get President Biden’s Build Back Better program through.
Investing in our PEOPLE will always pay good dividends.