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Not my kid - Not my problem

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This dismissive saying is a far too common belief among many Molalla area residents.

The questions of: “Why should I pay more when there is nothing in this for me?” and “I am on a fixed income and can’t afford to pay anything more,” were common themes in the negative feedback we received while campaigning for the school bond.

Like Columbus before me, I will attempt to show you that the world is round, and what goes around comes around.

On the issue of, “a fixed income,” the term ‘fixed’ implies that it cannot change. With regard to our government entitlements, they may not be fixed at all. The country of Greece, in order to satisfy creditors, has cut benefits by as much as 40 percent for some people and has dramatically increased mandatory contributions into their social security system.

Greece’s new retirement age for benefits is now age 67.

Both our social security and the medicare, systems in this country have long ago spent the funds that each of us has paid in. Each individual will cost these systems far more than they ever pay in.

So how are they still paying me my fixed amount that is periodically increased for inflation you may ask? Well it is the deductions from a larger population of currently employed, higher wage earners that keep those checks coming your way.

In economic decline or with gluttonous government spending, the U.S. resorts to borrowing the money needed to pay you, from other countries like China, which surely has your best interests at heart.

Our national debt and spending are out of control. Our creditors could demand a cut in benefits as they gain more financial control.

So what does all of this have to do with a school bond? The national census statistics show that the unemployment rate for high school drop outs is 4.1 percent higher than those with at least a high school diploma.

They also report that the average annual income for non-graduates is $10,386 less than a high school graduate.

In a publication ‘School or the Streets”, it is reported that dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than high school graduates.

According to a study by researchers at Northeastern University, when compared to the typical high school graduate, a single dropout will end up costing taxpayers an average of $292,000 over a lifetime, due to the price tag associated with incarceration and other factors such as how much less they pay in taxes.

Whether they are dropouts or graduates, all will be eligible to vote. Now that is something to think about. Will they vote to take care of me?

It stands to reason that if my future financial security is dependent on the earning power and character of our current and future students, then it makes sense to invest in these students the cost of a cup of coffee a day.

The key to keeping our support systems solvent is to maximize the earning power and the social character of our youth who will be repaying our debt. The more we inspire them, the more secure our financial future becomes.

Let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment. In a few years, today’s student could ask:

‘Why would I care to vote an increase, or even maintain the current level of benefits to retirees and elderly when they didn’t care about giving me a school environment with my safety in mind? When they didn’t care to provide enough space to keep class sizes small, and provide the learning environment that I will need to thrive and compete in the world? Why would I invest in them, when they didn’t invest in me?’

So what is in this school bond 3-504 for me? Places that will help secure my own financial future by helping those who will be paying for it to succeed. A place that if a natural disaster strikes, is built to the most current code, so I can take shelter and be safe. A place I can drive by and say, “Wwe built this with our money that we kept at home, and didn’t send to Washington. A place that only cost me a cup of coffee or two a day, and that I can be proud of.”

That is the place that I call home. Please Vote!

— Neal Lucht is a member of the Molalla River School District Board of Directors, and the Molalla FFA Alumni.