The Traveler Welcomes New Contributing Writer – Mark E. Lampkin
Editor’s note: The Traveler is honored to announce that Peoria native, Mark Lampkin will be a contributing writer for our publication. Please enjoy his very first article.
It is with great pride and humility that I submit this article, my very first, as a contributing writer for the Traveler Weekly. I grew up in Peoria and read a number of Traveler Weekly papers before moving to California in 1977. It is a testament to the Allen family, and to Angela, that this important link to our community is still around. To be asked to provide content is truly an honor for which I am grateful.
The world in which we now live is immensely different from what we have witnessed over the past 10, 25, and 40 years. A number of my fellow Manual High graduates began working at the Big Yellow tractor maker, Caterpillar Tractor Company…in the hopes to provide for their growing families and, if all went well, would have a decent pension after having given 30 years to that publicly traded corporation. It was not a choice that I made and, as many who have continued to make their home in and around Peoria knows, Caterpillar is a shell of the 24 hour-a-day company we knew growing up.
In too many communities around our Nation, gone are the living-wage employers that provided security and a decent life for so many in your neighborhood, church and greater community. Replaced by global, multi-national organizations that import products we purchase at Wal-Mart and the Dollar Stores…made in China.
What can we do to rebuild our ever gentrifying communities? The answers are obvious, yet not easy to embody. We must create and support locally owned businesses.
What is not taught in our schools is that the United States, and its Internal Revenue Service (IRS), favors those who are in business. The tax codes are tilted towards those who have some type of business; whether a retail/storefront or home-based entity. Most of us were raised to go to work for someone else…as W-2 taxpayers, while the CEO of the company filed as some sort of corporation. She/he received as many tax write-offs as the law allows, and likely paid a smaller percentage of state and federal taxes than the people they employed. Fair? Maybe. It depends on knowing the rules of the game.
As I embark upon making meaningful contributions to the Traveler, I shall bring forth information that I have witnessed and experienced in my own life, as well as the insights of those whom I have at my disposal. The journey we’ll take together will shed light upon new roads and, if all goes well, will create new and better opportunities for future generations and us.