As part of our election-year project That's My Issue (launching today), we're gathering stories of an experience in your life that helped shape your politics. You'll be able to share your story, create a custom badge, record directly from your computer, and do lots more.
Below, some of the calls and stories that came in during the segment. Be sure to add yours at the That's My Issue homepage, and stay tuned for more open phones on the Brian Lehrer Show.
When President Obama brought up tax fairness that was always my issue, but he's only focusing on capital gains. He doesn't look at also the people that don't pay taxes because they use municipal bonds, triple-free municipal bonds or other loopholes to get around not paying any taxes. I always believed that people should have skin in the game.
--Bob from Staten Island
Fifteen years ago my husband and I were in the process of trying to have a child and in the 16th week we found out that the fetus had many difficulties and was not viable and that I needed to terminate. And at the time, though I had great health insurance, our finances were fine, I had to go to a clinic because in New Jersey that was my only option. My husband could not be with me because of the way the clinic was set up. There were guards at the door. I was in the room with 20 other people. It was not private and I had excellent doctors and they said, this is your only choice. This has absolutely impacted my political choices.
--Anne from Montclaire, NJ
I had my pension taken away from me about 14 years ago. I work at a public corporation and, you know, I was thrown into the fray having to invest on my own without any real financial education and I've sort of done well on my own, but the fact being I sort of resent the fact that I have to pay taxes for public employees and all their big pensions so that's my issue and that's sort of shaped my politics.
--Mike from Manhattan
I was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and was a member of a Methodist church where I sang in the choir, and I went to a summer camp that the church provided at Drew Seminary in Carmel, New York and was taught about Jim Crow. Now this is in 1945 and they showed pictures of segregated eating and other facilities, restrooms and so forth, and black men hanging from trees. And when I saw that as a young kid in high school I vowed then to make a change some day in some way to right that situation and 15 years later became a folk singer about civil rights, peace, love and so forth.
--Shirley from Pompton Plains, NJ
I moved here when I was eleven on my parents' H-1 visa..my brother and I were on H-4 visas. My father was a science teacher and it did take him quite a number of years to get his green card. During that time we didn't have any medical insurance, and although I was qualified for scholarships when I entered Rutgers, I couldn't be eligible for them due to the fact that I was on an H-4 status and then subsequently changed to a J-1 status which is a student visa. I sort of formed an opinion that leans toward the left due to the fact, because I do believe that individuals and families such as ours whose parents are working and paying taxes and providing public benefits such as working in a school system should get medical insurance.
--Parisa from Manhattan