An economic history of my family: Facing a future without pensions and health insurance
By Ann Krantz
I was prompted to think about this history when I heard a young woman remark, on NPRs Marketplace Money, We will be the first generation without pensions, the discussion being about wise investing. Thats true, and if the current politicians have their way, this may also be the first generation in modern times without health insurance and Social Security.
My fathers parents were immigrants from Sweden at the end of the nineteenth century. They both worked as cooks in lumber camps. At some point they met, married, and bought or homesteaded a subsistence farm in Menominee County in the Upper Peninsula. My father was the youngest of three children born between 1900 and 1908. When my Aunt Vera finished high school, she went to Michigan State College and became a teacher. But the boys had to become wage earners to support themselves, their families-to-be, and as the years went on, their parents. This was before the days of Social Security which was instituted in 1935.