Richard La Motte | The Secret to Success: Be Honest, Work Hard

Letters to the Editor
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Gerald Staack’s letter (“Poverty: Nemesis of American Dream,” April, 6) runs a bit counter to my life experience. I’m 75 years old and a minority. I grew up in a moderate-income household. When I started school, my mother told me that I would probably meet racism one day, but to ignore it, get an education, be honest and work hard and never feel sorry for myself. 

While I generally vote Republican, I never blame the poor for their condition. I’ve found that being “Lucky” isn’t a sure thing. I’ve seen “Lucky” people go broke and minorities succeed in business. Blaming President Trump for economic inequality is ludicrous. Under his economic growth plan, the U.S. has a higher year-over-year GDP and stronger stock market than the last eight-plus years, and lower unemployment, especially for minorities and women, than anytime in the last 50 years (and real wage growth of 3 to 11 percent). 

As for making wealthy Republicans richer, anyone paying higher taxes gets a bigger break as a straight percentage of tax relief. And some of Trump’s harshest critics are on the right, because his renegotiated trade deals with Europe, Asia and NAFTA have made doing business in those areas more expensive, so many a manufacturer has moved BACK into the U.S., which, when combined with tax cuts for business and a cutting of Obama-era regulations, have stimulated a resurgence in American productivity and employment, but cut into many a rich business investor’s bottom line, which was based on shipping jobs overseas. 

Also, for the first time in history, the U.S. is a net exporter of energy and not dependent on foreign oil resulting in more jobs there. 

As for helping the wealthy political aristocracy, not so much, as I’m sure many on the left would agree, including: George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, Jeff Bezos, the Clinton family and even Nancy Pelosi who’s worth in excess of $75 million. 

Comparing the U.S. to a country like Norway seems uneven. Norway’s population is the size of a medium U.S. state and it doesn’t support half the world with foreign aid or maintain a military to protect itself from international nuclear threats. 

Society will never be poverty-free for a variety of reasons: Some people make bad life decisions, some make life-altering mistakes, some suffer from a lack of education (some of that self-imposed), addiction, single-parent households, or being raised in a culture that promotes “victimhood” as an excuse for indolence and failure. Even the idea of a $15-an-hour wage has depressed the lower end of the job market, forcing small business to decide between paying more than a job is worth or not hiring. (That $15 results in about $20-plus when you pay “employer’s share” of FICA and taxes). Having owned a couple of businesses in California, I have experienced the state-mandated rigors of: taxes, licenses and compliance fees, which dictate a narrower margin of investment return over a longer period, resulting in many a dream going bankrupt. 

P.S. I have traveled and worked all around the world for 50 years and this country IS the greatest. Funny how people who think someplace else is better never move there. My summary: Quit wishing life were different and follow my mom’s advice.   

Richard La Motte, Santa Clarita

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