A political conversation with my auto mechanic.
I am fortunate enough to have both Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after off with pay. This year, I took Monday off as a vacation day for five glorious days in a row away from the office, and took my car into my local mechanic for an oil change and general check up for any future mechanical needs. There is one–a tie rod is loose, but it can go on for awhile until I have the $150 to spend on the part, labor, and necessary alignment.
Anyway, it was just me and one of the co-owners of this garage that’s been in business since the 1970’s and has a real good local word of mouth reputation for honesty and savings. This guy’s a white guy, 60’s, with a middle-aged girth about the size of mine and a black beard shot through with white streaks. White small business owner in a suburb. Conventional wisdom says he’d be a Trump supporter. CW is often dead wrong.
We mentioned our similar ages, and he asked me how things were going with my huge car payment. I told him I filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to keep the car and lower the payments, and that it had worked out well. He related that he and his wife had both had to have gall bladder surgery last year and had $60K in medical bills, so they did the same thing. “Why not?,” he said, “Our president has done it what, 6 or 7 times?”
I laughed and said that maybe the best thing about Trump is that he and the majority in Congress are so incompetent they have trouble getting anything done. That did it.
This 60 year old career auto mechanic and small business owner proceeded to go on a well-informed tirade about the Republican tax plans and how they would hurt people like him. He said he nets between 35 and 45 thousand a year, depending on business, and their assault on middle class deductions and changing the tax rate would actually increase his taxes while lowering those on millionaires.
He talked about his grown kids, their crushing student loan debts, and how nobody knows how his grandkids can afford to go to college. He talked about the outrageous cost of health care, and how if any business owner couldn’t afford to pay an employee a living wage, well then he either shouldn’t be in business or should do the work himself. He talked about spending gazillions overseas to fight wars against people who probably wouldn’t bother us if we didn’t mess with them.
Then he said, “And when you watch the talking heads on TV, they just don’t understand why Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America. Well, what the hell do they expect? He’s the only one talking about fixing any of this stuff! My whole family will vote for him if he runs again!”
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