I was lucky to have entered the work force in the early 1960s when labor unions were strong, thanks mostly to legislation passed during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency.

I made good wages, benefits, and had job security for most of my 37 years on the railroad. Although, job security deteriorated after Reagan fired air traffic controllers in 1981, signaling to businesses across the country that he would support a war on labor unions.

I now enjoy a good railroad retirement check every month, thanks to President Roosevelt’s support for the Railroad Retirement Act of 1935. Since then, contributions from railroad employees and employers have been invested wisely in a safe defined pension plan.

Thanks to the recapture of our government by some of the wealthiest people in the country, beginning in earnest with the Reagan presidency, most of today’s young people in the bottom 90 percent of income will probably never enjoy the good wages, benefits, job security, and a pension comparable to mine.

I don’t see things getting any better anytime soon, especially now with an extreme right-wing president and Republican Congress in control. As long as millions in the top 10 percent of income vote their financial interest regardless of social and economic pain inflicted on the rest of us, and millions more vote their anti-abortion and anti-science agenda regardless of all other issues, these extremists will likely remain in control.

I recommend that today’s young people not have children. They’re going to have a hard-enough time just taking care of themselves. Besides, there’s a good chance that children born today will suffer environmental catastrophe in their lifetime due to a Republican party beholden to climate-change-denying, fossil-fuel companies for financial support. 

 Ron Adams, Decatur


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