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Silver has a background in Hinduism (Vedanta) and Buddhism, culminating in her adoption of Catholicism. She has spent most of her adult life as a monastic, in one form or another. When health and finances permit, she advocates for the poor, disabled and elderly, through her blogs and through her personal service projects. The foundation of her artistic expressions are found in her spiritual life. Since childhood, she has been producing sketches and paintings in oils, watercolors and acrylics. In her 20's she was a clothes designer and had her own shop in Hollywood, where she designed and made her own creations. She also worked in the motion picture industry as a freelance writer, selling 9 stories to the episodic television show, Charlie's Angels. For some years she worked in ceramics, making primitive boxes from slab worked clay, as well as more finished pieces in the raku firing technique. For fun, she makes and sells jewelry and crochets items for sale and for donation to local charities. She is also an expert genealogist, worked with Ancestry.com as one of their online Experts, and has traced her family lines back through kings, colonials, saints and pioneers to several Holy Roman Emperors.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I AM PART OF THE 47 %

Prom Night - 1971
Copyright (c) Silver S. Parnell
All rights reserved.



A few months after the above picture was taken, I escaped from a lifetime of violent physical and mental abuse and left home, barely 17 years old, with nothing but the clothes on my back.  My mother, a sadistic, malignant narcissist, called after me, “you’ll be back in two weeks, crawling on your hands and knees, begging me to take you back!”  It would be 12 years before I would see her again, briefly, out of pity for her weakened condition due to multiple sclerosis.
 
She looked at me during that last, short visit, made a derogatory comment about my weight and then said, “I will never be fat again!”  She was vain to her last moment, even as her disease crippled her prematurely aging body.  I never saw her again.

Despite being homeless, on and off, for several years, I resolutely pursued independence and managed to keep myself employed.  I was proudly self-supporting for more than 30 years.  Over time, my body gradually broke down as a result of chronic, inherited illnesses and two automobile accidents in which drunk drivers hit my car at high speed.  The post traumatic stress disorder that I got as a result of a brutal childhood also became more intense, despite years of therapy.  By the time I was 50 years old, I was completely unable to work and had to apply for social security disability.

Even though I am disabled, I have continually attempted to engage in various types of work that I could do at home on my ‘good’ days.  So far, I have not been successful, but I am still trying to drum up genealogy research business.  Why?  I like being independent.  I like supporting myself, paying my own way, and not being a drain on anyone.  I am on disability because I have no other choice.  I simply cannot meet the demands of the modern workplace.

You can imagine my surprise when I learned today that I think of myself as a victim, that I believe the government has a responsibility to care for me, that I do not take personal responsibility for the care of my life, and that I believe I am “entitled to health care, to food, to you name it.”  This is what Mitt Romney said about me during a fund raiser at financier Marc Leder’s house in May of this year.  That one dinner cost each attendee a minimum of $50,000.  The cost of one dinner at that man’s house amounted to about 3 years of my disability income.  A videotape of Mr. Romney making those comments has recently been released.

Those who know me would be quick to say that Mr. Romney is not talking about ME or people LIKE me, but what many people do not realize is that the 47% of people who do not pay federal taxes in America are just like me.  They are too poor to pay federal taxes.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities [February 2012] "more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households — not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work.  This figure has changed little in the past few years."





"Federal budget and Census data show that, in 2010, 91 percent of the benefit dollars from entitlement and other mandatory programs went to the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households.  People who are neither elderly nor disabled — and do not live in a working household — received only 9 percent of the benefits. 
"Moreover, the vast bulk of that 9 percent goes for medical care, unemployment insurance benefits (which individuals must have a significant work history to receive), Social Security survivor benefits for the children and spouses of deceased workers, and Social Security benefits for retirees between ages 62 and 64.  Seven out of the 9 percentage points go for one of these four purposes."  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]


Since 1973, wages have only increased 26%, while CEO salaries have increased 435%, and corporate profits have increased 250%. [Dept. of Consumer Affairs]  During those years, the wealth of America was gradually shoved up to the top of the socio-economic ladder.  




Today, thanks to the redistribution of wealth that has been going on since 1973, we have a disparity of income that rivals almost every other country of the world.  Here is a map that shows countries with lower and higher rates of income disparity between it and the United States.  This map shows red countries with GREATER inequality and blue countries with LESS inequality.  [Map created from CIA data.]







"Income inequality is more severe in the U.S. than it is in nearly all of West Africa, North Africa, Europe, and Asia. We're on par with some of the world's most troubled countries, and not far from the perpetual conflict zones of Latin American and Sub-Saharan Africa. Our income gap is also getting worse, having widened both in absolute and relative terms since the 1980s. It's not a problem that the "Buffett rule" would solve on its own, but at least the U.S. political system is starting to acknowledge how serious things have become."  [The Atlantic, September 19, 2011]


Mitt Romney is one of a group of wealthy individuals who benefited from the redistribution of wealth to the top, the widening of the disparity of income in America and the thinning of the middle class.  Now he is saying unflattering and untrue things about the people whose poverty he helped create.

It doesn’t seem right, does it?

In the Bible, Jesus tells us to do good to those that harm us and to pray for them.  I will be praying for Mr. Romney.

Copyright © 2012, Silver S. Parnell
All rights reserved.

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2 comments:

  1. That means a lot to me, Jennifer. Thank you for your generous spirit. I only wish more people would research the facts and find out the truth instead of spreading nasty rumors about the poor, accusing them of being too lazy to work, etc. Most of us don't drink, smoke or take drugs either! We can't afford it. The image of the tattooed drug addict trading in the food stamps for drugs on the black market is nearly an urban myth, the percentage is so small, yet that is the image promoted by many so-called 'religious' people. They are misguided and malinformed but do nothing to ascertain the truth. I pray for all of them.

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