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Are you Randy?

September 28, 2015

While covering President Obama’s remarks at the U.N. the TV news alert banner announced that Donald Trump had made his tax plan public, and Randy made a rude comment under his breath.

Randy is a mid-level manager for a large international business management group. He’s 47, married, two kids, doesn’t own a home, and travels a lot overseas.

Randy makes pretty good money but he’s not exactly rich, except by political standards. He says he grosses about $165,000. His net after taxes is about half of that, averaging right at $87K so he’s solidly in the middle class. For that he works about 60 hours a week, counting the time he has to answer work-related calls from home and travel for business.

He’s pretty conservative, but certainly not a constitutional hardliner. He believes in sending his kids to college, but is doing so on his dime, not the governments. He believes too many people are on the dole, but acknowledges that with the employment challenges to both business and workers, thinks it may be something we have to live with for a while.

When asked which candidate for President he’s likely to support, he said it didn’t matter. One’s about as bad as the other in his view.

Asked what things personally bother him, his list went like this:

  1. Government is job security for politicians, not people or the country.
  2. He’d like to know that the bridge he drives over every day isn’t going to fall onto the freeway below and that the armed services can protect the country.
  3. He’d like to keep more of his own money.  Adding up all the city, state and Federal taxes he pays, it takes about 51% of his income. Taxes on airline tickets, groceries, gas, motel rooms, and even the interest on his savings and small investments amounts to well over 20% of that amount, so he isn’t sure how shifting the taxes from the Federal to the local levels is going to help. He notes that since people are used to being supported by the government,  the money is going to get taken and only the tax collector’s face will change.
  4. He’d love to own a home, but sold his last one ten years ago and says he won’t buy another until he retires, and then only if he can pay cash for it. Asked why, he noted that the only people that made money on his last home were the bankers and tax collectors.
  5. He thinks people have way too much time on their hands to make mischief. He’s for taking away a lot of the subsidies, everything from college tuition to food stamps, noting that it took him six years to get a bachelors degree, but when he had it, he didn’t owe a cent for it.
  6. He’s no longer sure that having a central government in Washington DC is good for the country. He notes that all government has done in the past 20 years is provide more jobs for people whose justification for their paycheck is to make up more rules and pass stupidly restrictive policies to get votes. Despite that, he still thinks the U.S. is the best country in the world, and coming from a man who has worked and lived in 27 countries, that says a lot.
  7. Asked if he considered himself a Libertarian, he said he didn’t know, but says he’s “sure as hell not Rand Paul or Ted Cruz.”
  8.  He voted Republican in the last  presidential election, but scoffs at the process today and actually didn’t vote in 2014. After all he notes, the Republican frontrunner is Donald Trump, and the Democrat’s best current up-and-comer is a 74-year old socialist, which to him shows that the whole thing is just one big Hollywood marketing gig.  He isn’t sure if he’ll vote in 2016, saying he’ll look the field over in September or so that year and then decide if it’s worth his time.

Randy is the modern uncommitted voter.  He’s pretty informed but highly cynical.  He knows he should vote, but doesn’t think his vote will matter.

He laughs out loud when asked if he ever calls his congressman or signs petitions to get the government to take some sort of action, noting that he doesn’t have a few million bucks  to make all that talk count in Washington.

Randy’s old enough to remember when things weren’t like this, but wired in enough to know that the collective conscience and values he grew up believing in don’t matter so much anymore.

Are you Randy?

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