Friday, September 12, 2008

Cousin Doug

I’ve never told you about my cousin Doug, but because the presidential race is as much about our economy as anything else; I think he’s worth mentioning.

I got to know him when I was a kid and we were living on Indian Lake in Manistique, Michigan. He and his family were from Illinois and vacationed there during the summer. He’s a shirttail cousin, but yes is related.

Doug’s a blue-collar guy through and through. His education has been through a variety of jobs. He’s had the same girlfriend for years. Both of them worked at Kohler in the Sheboygan area for some time. However he took other jobs in that city and she stuck with Kohler.

Recently I talked with him. He and his girlfriend, Allison, bought a home in Sheboygan and a cheaper cabin-like home on Indian Lake. They had the same dream as Doug’s parents who retired to a home on the Lake. However out sourcing caught up with them Doug trained for about three different jobs and only months into each lost them when the jobs were shipped overseas. She lost her job too.

The home they had in Sheboygan was razed and they are waiting for the real estate market to rebound before they sell that property. That could be a long time. Meanwhile they had to move into the small home on the Lake and are in danger of losing that too. The 14-year-old pickup truck he’s been driving is being repossessed because the payment they sent in wasn’t processed in time.

Doug says the company is welcome to it. It has 250,000 miles on it and isn’t worth the $325 payment. Now he’s training for a truck-driving job out of Manitowoc. He’s pretty sure that job won’t be shipped over seas.

Oh yeah recently he found out he has diabetes like millions of other Americans. At least he has that in common with many others.

A friend of mine last week told me too many Americans were living beyond their means and deserve what they got coming to them. She says she doesn’t know anyone who hasn’t bought a new car since 2000 and most families have two vehicles or more.

She wasn’t impressed by my story about cousin Doug. He’d give you the shirt off his back, but the problem is everyone wants a piece of it.

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