My brother wanted to be an artist, so for many years our parents gave him the money they would have saved for retirement. He promised to pay it all back in monthly installments when they actually retired. Now they both must retire and need their monthly pension, but my brother is still not very successful.
However his wife's father owns a business where he could work and earn enough to pay back our parents. He is trying to squirm out of paying all that he owes, saying he cannot afford all of it on his current income and does not want to do what it takes to increase his income. And besides, our parents are just being greedy by wanting such a big pension. And besides, he's already contributing 5 percent of his income and why should he pay more? And besides, he's already cut off his daughter's piano lessons and his son's car payments.
So he's already paying more, and his dependents are already getting less, so it's only fair that our parents sacrifice too. So our parents suffer because my brother is not honorable enough to do what it takes to increase his income so he can pay his debts.
My brother should remind Senator Harmon of himself.
He is the "brother" senator who refuses to vote for increased state taxes to honor the state's pension promises to state workers and instead supports legislation that strips them of the retirement benefits they were promised and many need to survive.
Of course he can come up with rationalizations. I know them all — I have a Ph.D. in Business and Applied Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
So I hope Don will look deep inside himself, and decide what kind of "brother" he wants to be.
Professor at UIC and an Oak Park resident
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