By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
I had a great college experience in West Virginia. I had a good job as a journalist in West Virginia. I made some special friends in West Virginia. I nearly fell in love in West Virginia.
I won a few bucks at the dog track in West Virginia. I learned white water rafting in West Virginia. I hit a home run in Babe Ruth Baseball in West Virginia. I took my first ride on a commercial airliner in West Virginia. I had my first amusement park experience in West Virginia.
West Virginia is a beautiful state, almost as awesome as Kentucky, especially along I-64 on the way to Virginia and the Atlantic Ocean. I like most of the people I’ve met in West Virginia.
I’m sharing these positive feelings for West Virginia to make the case that I am not among those folks who constantly bash the Mountain State for its enduing poverty, coal dust and strange politics.
In fact, I believe John Denver was right on target when he sang about West Virginia being “Almost Heaven” in his hit song.
Based on what I’ve already written here, I have the right to suggest that U. S. Sen. Joe Manchin do a better job of not embarrassing West Virginia in Washington by criticizing legislation that fosters an “entitlement society”.
His battle cry is not surprising for a senator from a state that prides itself as proudly self-reliant. However, West Virginians are older, sicker, and poorer than most of our country and more dependent on the federal government than any other state.
According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, about 32 percent of West Virginians’ personal income last year came in the form of government checks that include retirement and disability benefits, medical benefits, welfare payments, veterans’ benefits, unemployment compensation and education and training.
Sadly, West Virginia already is an “entitlement society”. Now it’s time for the state’s senior senator to stop his political grandstanding and get busy working with President Biden to solve the problems of his home state.
Keith Kappes can be reached at email@example.com