Note: This is an edited version of an email response to a commentary that ran in the July 15 issue of our paper, “It’s a crime to be rich,” by Ruth Bayang, which opposed a Seattle City Council 2.25 percent income tax for individuals making over $250,000.
To the Editor —
No, it’s not a crime to be rich, but rich people sure make it a whole lot tougher for us ‘broke people’ to even afford to live in Seattle. Housing in Seattle used to be affordable to working class people, but now it basically costs us 40 to 50 percent of our income just to rent a one-bedroom apartment! That doesn’t leave us ‘broke people’ with much for anything else.
Without us ‘broke people’ to wake up, get on the bus, and ride to your businesses, which barely pay a liveable wage, you wouldn’t be rich and successful.
Many of us Asians who migrated legally to America (Seattle) between 1975 and 1990 are not like the current Asian immigrants/investors who are pouring into Seattle/Bellevue, buying up properties left and right and driving up the housing market and cost of living to the point where Seattle has lost most of its original charm and character.
Let me tell you a little about what Asian immigrants from my parents and my generations were like.
My father was a veterinarian and my mother was a school teacher. The genocide in our country killed half of the population and caused us to flee for our lives to America. At 4 years old, I only saw my parents arriving home at 8 o’clock at night, after picking tomatoes in the fields. They later got better jobs at the City Kennel and cafeteria work at a university, but they struggled and made sacrifices like riding the bus and shopping for clothes and furniture at garage sales and thrift stores just to make a better life for us.
Now at 42 years old, I am disgusted by Ruth’s pompous article, calling people ‘broke people,’ highlighting her ability to manipulate the tax system, and trying to warn the middle class to further demonize ‘broke people’ and working class people.
There is no need to sprinkle salt on the wounds of people who are less fortunate.
— Kara Em, Seattle