Fred Eder Letter

Dear Senator McCain,

My name is Fred Eder. I just left you a voice mail, but I wanted to take the time to make my case a bit more clearly.

My mother is nearly 81 years old. She spent her life as a public school teacher. She helped raise not only my brother, my sister, and me, but also 52 foster children over the course of her lifetime. She has never been wealthy, but she has lived a life of which anyone would be proud.

While you are protecting the wealthy, who will always, regardless of what new taxes may be imposed on them, be able to make next month’s rent and health insurance payments, your failure to reach a deal that will ensure her social security check keeps coming will destroy my mother.

She lives off of the $1,284 she gets monthly from the Social Security into which she has paid all of her adult life. $531 of that goes to pay Blue Cross, so that she has some sort of health insurance. At her age it’s not a question of if, but when, she will get sick and need that, so she can’t just drop that bill. The remainder of her money goes to buying groceries and paying the few bills she can afford to pay.

When my father died in October, 2009, she also got some life insurance. She had $22,000 from that, but, since she makes so little money, she is left with only $6,000. When that is gone, she will have no more money.

My mother moved in with me when she could no longer afford to live alone. I’m a public school teacher, and, as Arizona is among the lowest paid states to be a teacher, I make well less than $50,000 a year. I supplement my income by teaching Defensive Driving on weekends.

So far, mom and I have made it. We have not asked the government to help us. We don’t want to have to use food stamps or any other form of welfare. We have always paid our own way, and we would like to go on doing that.

If, however, she doesn’t get her check next month, we will be unable to pay everything. Perhaps we can start by giving up cable TV, though our contract with them would cost us several hundred dollars to discontinue. We might also consider moving out of the modest home we rent and try to find something cheaper. But, if you’ve been in Phoenix, you know there are any number of neighborhoods which, while they are less expensive, are, in fact, very dangerous places to live.

I don’t think we’re being unreasonable to ask you to think of those in need before thinking of those who are wealthy. I understand that in order to keep your office you need the funding provided by the wealthiest Americans. I know that we will never be among those, and, therefore, what we have to say carries little weight. If we can’t make it, it really isn’t your problem.

Bob Schieffer said it very well on Face The Nation this Sunday:

“It has taken a while but we have finally done it. We have created a Congress incapable of doing what it was supposed to do, and that is improve the lives of its citizens…

“Today, compromise is no longer seen as a virtue but as selling out; and political courage … well, it’s given way to schemes to raise the money needed for the next election.

“So we keep asking, is the system broken? The short answer is yes.

“The larger question: Can it be repaired? Not without a large injection of political courage.

“Right now, I don’t see very much of that.”

I would like to ask you to show that you really do have political courage. I would like to ask you to do what is morally, if not politically, correct. I would like you to compromise. I would like you to help my mother and me continue our modest lives.

I thank you for your attention.


Fred Eder

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Posted in Letters to the Editor.