September 18 2013
Man Makes It to Middle Class Without Obama
Below the headline Keith Koffler tells the story of Ibrahim (not his real name), who repairs appliances. Koffler met Ibrahim when his washing machine broke down. Ibrahim was the second guy to tackle Koffler’s machine—the first did a lousy job and refused to wait around for a cycle to see if he’d fixed things.
Ibrahim, a clean-shaven young man from Pakistan, was the next repairman on the scene. He took the time to figure out what the problem was and then fixed it. He waited through a cycle to see if the machine was truly repaired.
Ibrahim came to the U.S. a few years ago, friendless and at first unable to tell which buses went south and which went north. He did not have a college education and he had very little money. His first job was a menial trainee job for $210 a week and then he went to work at a Walmart.
Here is what happened next:
Finally, networking through the immigrant community, he spoke to someone who was making a decent living fixing appliances. He was able to hook up with the owner of an appliance repair company, who told him he could train at his place of business while taking classes at night to get an appliance repair certificate. All told, Ibrahim said, he was working seven days a week and taking classes weekdays from 6-9 pm after working from 8 am until 5 pm.
After a year, he got a certificate, and with that a position with the company as a repairman. Married now with a baby girl, he and his family are already living a comfortable life, he said. Meanwhile, he’s sending money home to support his retired parents, siblings and even a nephew or two. He recently gave his nephew $6,000 so he could attend graduate school in Europe.
I noted to him all the social welfare programs that he avoided, mentioning things like Food Stamps – at which point he interrupted me.
“If I take Food Stamps, then I am like a beggar!”
Really? Would any America say such a thing? Imagine saying that in polite society.
But that’s the attitude that ensured that Ibrahim, without any of the benefits of being raised in this country, came here and within three years had found what President Obama likes to call “a better bargain” for himself. Even while Republicans are “holding the middle class hostage,” as Obama likes to say, Ibrahim found his way into it.
Ibrahim has the one thing that helps somebody become and remain middle class: a job. He is the man who became middle class without President Obama. He is, in point of fact, the anti-Julia of Obama’s “Life of Julia” infomercial, the saga of a woman who lived cradle to grave on government assistance. He sees food stamps for what they are: he knows that they are morally crippling.
My highlighting, by the way.