I’m a 62-year-old man who, by being cheap for 30 years of his life, managed to save some money. A lot of generic groceries and off-brand beer passed down this old reporter’s neck in order to keep funding the 401(k) and the mutual funds, but in the end, I wound up with about 10 years pay in savings, all of it busily, capitalistically making money for me.
Which is as I intended. Now, semi-retired, I draw a nice income from that money, money grubbed up in the darkness of night shifts.
So, like all good white-haired Americans, I’m terrified of socialism, by which I mean Venezuela, because that’s what everyone means when they say “socialism.” They never mean one of those Northern European countries that aren’t really socialist but are democratic socialist, which means guys my age can still cross-country ski because they’ve had decent health care all their lives.
So, with a pension, some investment income and a 15-hour-a-week job in talk radio, this newspaper retiree does all right and can sometimes afford cigars costing $8 each. When the revolution comes, will they let me have cigars? Probably not.
In fact, they may stop letting me have cigars even if there is no revolution. Cigars are bad for me, so the government makes them expensive and hard to get.
Apparently, health insurance is bad for me, too, because the government makes sure it’s expensive and hard to get.
I’ll be 63 in May, and like anyone who retires before the age of 65, I’m breathlessly awaiting the day I can get Medicare.
Welcome to America, a place where washed-out, washed-up, old shipwrecks like myself can’t wait to get two years closer to death just to get a good deal on health insurance. If that doesn’t make you sad, it’s because you’re under 50 and kinda stupid.
It’s just like working. I have a college degree (two of them!), and I knew how to do the job, but more than anything else, I traded my time to newspapers in return for money. I swapped ’em a good part of my 20s, all of my 30s, all of my 40s and all of my 50s. I did the swap for money and, of course, health insurance.
And now, if I can swap two more of my years to the devil of age, I’ll get health insurance. Apparently, my time is always worth something.
Of course, I’ll end up paying something. My mother, a workingman’s widow who lived on a fixed income of less than $1,200 a month, paid $300 a month for supplemental insurance. At the end of her life, I sometimes paid it for her. I didn’t tell her that, of course. I didn’t want her to feel she was trading the last of her time to me, as she had traded the rest of her time to other people.
I didn’t want her to be ashamed, either, and she would have been ashamed. “I pay my own way,” she’d said her whole life. And she did pay her own way, as did my father. So everyone stole from them, because everyone steals from people who are proud of their ability to pay. The first thing you do if you’re going to get rich is give up your pride.
And now, people who have maybe $10,000 in their retirement accounts pause from cleaning their guns long enough to tell me that I’m supposed to love President Donald Trump because the stock market is doing well.
And it is. I’ve made very good money during the Trump years.
So why doesn’t that make me support Trump?
Because there are some things I don’t sell.
— Marc Dion is a retired columnist at the Fall River (Mass.) Herald News and author of The Land of Trumpin’, a collection of his columns about the man who heads what was once the mightiest nation on earth. Contact hin at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter: @MARCMDION. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.