State of my economy

Americans respond to President Obama's State of the Union address.

'I never felt the recession'

real people sotu robert dee
  • Name: Robert Dee, 34
  • Place: Dickson, Texas

I'm not really in favor of redistributing wealth -- but I do agree with the president that if corporate profits are high, I think workers should reap the benefits with better pay.

Maybe it's because I live in Texas, but I never felt the recession at all.

In 2008, I made the most money I had ever made in one year. Every year since then, I have increased my annual income.

It wasn't always this way though.

In my 20s, I served in the Marine Corps. Later, times were pretty tough. I was bartending for $2 an hour plus tips and my wife (who was then my girlfriend) was also working at the same restaurant as a waitress.

We had one child at the time, and that baby was on Medicaid. We received $200 in food stamps each month. There were times when literally we didn't have a dollar to spend on anything other than day-to-day necessities.

Meanwhile, I was working on earning my associates degree in process technology.

I finished school in 2007, and soon after, the bottom started to fall out of a lot of companies. But it wasn't hard to find a job here in Texas, due to the shale gas boom.

I now have a job making more than $30 an hour, working for a basic plastics manufacturer. We make styrene, which is a building block for a lot of different stuff, including styrofoam, Legos, Tupperware and auto parts.

It was a turning point in my life, and things have never been better for me. Now we have a second child and my wife is a nurse.

That said, I know a lot of people who have been unfortunate. People who were in jobs that were outsourced. My father, who is 60 years old, is working overseas because he can't find work here.

I'm also keenly aware that just like in Michigan, if things were to go south, my job could be on the line too.

I feel blessed, but I still see other people struggling.

- Last updated January 28 2014 11:39 PM ET
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