Posted 3 years ago on Nov. 1, 2011, 7:56 p.m. EST by thebeastchasingitstail
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I grew up in a blue-collar middle-class family in Middletown, Ohio, once named an All-American City. My dad worked at the local steel factory as a machinist, and my mom was an office manager at the local orthodontist’s office. I had a good life growing up—we took vacations every year to Myrtle Beach, four kids and six suitcases crammed into a Chevy. We always had healthcare and didn’t really lack for anything. My parents were able to pay for me to go to a state college out of their own pocket. I worked only during winter and summer breaks, and that was basically so I would have money to spend on college life, not on college itself. I focused on my studies, graduated in four years and left college with zero debt.
Today, my story isn’t possible for a new generation. That steel factory, which once employed about half of the town’s workers, now has jobs for less than one-fifth. And the workers were locked out for about one year in the early 2000s.
College tuition at my alma mater has nearly tripled since I graduated in 1993.
My mom lost her job and now makes half of what she made before, and she was without healthcare for two years before becoming eligible for Medicare. Middletown, that once All-American City, was listed on Forbes’s Top 10 “Fastest-Dying Towns.”