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To the editor:

The American Dream was built on the promise that if you work hard you can live comfortably – buy a house, raise a family, and retire well. It was essentially a promise between our country’s rich employers and their American workers. Even today we still hold this promise in our minds: We tell people who are struggling to work harder and save more. We believe those who have fallen into poverty must deserve it, and we believe the rich have earned their billions fair and square.

But telling people to work more and save more is meaningless as the promise of the American Dream is broken. Employee productivity is at record highs, but wages remain stagnant – even declining when factoring in rising cost-of-living – and workplace retirement plans and healthcare offerings continue to be slashed or removed. Yet the economy is booming, companies are reaping record profits, and executives are going home with bigger bonuses. Despite this, our government continues to cut taxes on the rich and increase taxes on average American families.

This reveals something very telling: American workers are still keeping up their end of the bargain for the American Dream, but the rich have stopped holding up their end of the deal.

Quite simply: American workers are overworked and underpaid – “working harder” and “saving more” aren’t viable solutions. It’s empty rhetoric that simply upholds the status quo. The truth is that American workers have already given all they can to their employers and our country: We’re working longer hours, retiring later (or not at all), going thousands in debt for education, putting off having children or not having them at all, and sometimes even dying because we can’t get basic healthcare or housing.

Something else somewhere else has got to give: Either 1) rich employers must start taking less for themselves and giving more back to the employees they’ve built their wealth off of, or 2) the government must start taxing the rich more and expanding social programs to keep American workers and their families healthy and financially strong. Whatever method we choose to use, it’s the rich who need to pay up – American workers have held up their end of the bargain long enough.

Casey Rock

Logan