I'm confused. Some of this might be attributed to my being old, so let me explain my confusion and you be the judge.

The economy of these United States has never been better, the stock market is at historical highs, unemployment at historical lows. The current administration takes full credit for this and the opposition claims their guy really was the one responsible for getting this prosperity started in the first place.

But at the same time, the homeless population is reaching alarming numbers. Whole families are living in their cars or empty buildings. Veterans, the mentally ill and drug addicts are living on the streets. Working folks have to hold two or more low-paying jobs to just barely support their families. There are very few "stay at home moms" among working people these days. Middle-aged people are still trying to pay off their old student loans. They have college-aged children who need money for college themselves and can't afford to buy a house. It happens that we have grandchildren who are employed part time to raise money for college expenses so we know how difficult it is for families. Some families have serious medical problems not covered by insurance and are drowning in debt. In many cases, they are faced with foreclosure on homes that they have lived in for years. Many people have been unemployed so long they have simply stopped trying and have disappeared from the official jobless total.

I couldn't estimate what percent of the overall population these people represent, but I'll bet it's a lot higher than you may think. You can understand why I'm confused. If things are going so good, how come things are going so bad for all these people?

Another area adding to my puzzlement is money. We don't have that much of it but thanks to my wife, an excellent money manager, we have been able to become fairly secure in our old age. But our investments don't really produce much interest income. Some years ago banks and savings & loans would compete for our business. In order to get people to open simple savings accounts, they would offer 6.5% interest and throw in a toaster oven as an incentive. These days, they come close to charging their customers a fee to handle their money and don't you dare make an early withdrawal in an emergency because they will penalize you by taking a big chunk of your money.

Adding to my confusion regarding money is that most of the members of our U.S. Congress are millionaires. Some were already rich when elected. But a lot of them, if they manage to stick around long enough, become millionaires by the time they finally retire. What or who do they know that I don't? Can I get an introduction?

LES GERNERT

Ocean Park

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