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One of the nice things about the Internet is that you can learn quite a bit about everything under the sun. And this is such a case as a friend of mine sent me some very interesting Internet information: http://msn.com/family-money/the-richest-counties-in-america. This website pointed to the areas in America where the 15 richest counties are located. The top 15 counties listed have median incomes between $119,000 and $87,000 per year and 10 of these counties are in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Would you like to guess where most of these counties are located? The highest median income in this list was Loudoun County, Va., and 15th was Charles County, and this is the order of ranking of all 10 local counties: Loudoun, Fairfax, Howard, Arlington, Strafford, Prince William, Montgomery, Calvert, St. Maryís and Charles.

This letter will focus on the counties that are in Maryland and Virginia and the economic prosperity and disparity of the citizens as determined by their proximity to the District of Columbia. All the following information was based on facts gleaned from the 2010 census.

There are 93 counties in Virginia where the median household income is $61,000 dollars per family. This, folks, is a misleading number. There are only 23 counties in Virginia that are at least at this level. The other 70 counties do not. Median household incomes for these 70 counties go from the low of around $29,000 to a little over $60,000 dollars per household. In addition, on average 86 percent of Virginia residents graduate from high school and little over 33 percent have an undergraduate degree. Sounds good doesnít it? Again, this is a misleading number. In most of the poorer 70 counties in Virginia the high school graduation rate is less with the undergrad rate thus following the same course. So, for the most part, the educated gravitate around Washington where federal jobs are the prime indicator for their economic station in life. Donít think so. More than 97 percent of high school students graduate in Loudoun County and undergrads comprise more than 70 percent of the over 25 crowd in Arlington County.

There are 23 counties in Maryland where the median household income is $70,647 dollars and 11 counties actually fall above this threshold. Howard is the highest over median and comes in with an income more than $100,000 dollars and the 11th on this list is Prince Georgeís where annual household income is a few dollars above the median average. The poorest of the poor live in Allegheny County where the median income is a little more than $37,000 per year. The city of Baltimore ranks second lowest with median household of a little more than $39,000 dollars per year. Again, proximity to Washington and federal jobs is the prime reason fore economic prosperity.

We as citizens are in the environs of the federal government for the most part are insulated from the hardships and the economic realities that are prevalent throughout the rest of the United States. In areas of Maryland and Virginia where the federal government does not have a direct impact on the economy there are many citizens who experience stark financial realities that are quite different than the more affluent Cavaliers or Terrapins who live in counties close to Washington, D.C.

Finally, the point of this article is not to admonish Calvert County citizens for being affluent nor do I believe many of us are fat cats as our president suggests. I believe that most people near Washington deserve their station in life; however, we must remember that the people in Allegheny County and Dickenson County, Va., still have to buy milk and gasoline and because of their economic status are at risk. The purpose of this letter is to remind all of is that economic hardships are quite different throughout the country and that we in Calvert County are really blessed to be where we are. We do know that everyone is not equal, and the share of the county is in many ways predicated on an individualís education. We do not need progressives in both parties playing the class warfare fame (folks, fair share is a joke). Fair share would not be a part of the discussion if only these politicians would have done their jobs promoting educational success. After all, isnít it their responsibility to ensure that their constituents are educationally represented in a fair way? Many of these politicians will say they have very little influence on this educational malaise. To these unworthy politicians I say that the last I looked the Department of Education was still part of the federal government. What we donít need is a pipe dream from both the Republicans and Democrats; what we need is an educational system that provides students in all areas of the country with necessary tools to complete to an equal playing field. If we do this I then believe that failure or success will be predicated on an individualís ability to use their knowledge in a fruitful and constructive way. There will always be the poor but the many more citizens will at least have a shot at success. My grandparents came to this country seeking the chance to succeed and I am betting that many of your ancestors did the same. Let us dump the unworthy federal politicians as they have not fairly promoted education. Remember knowledge is power. After all, we are the people.

John Petralia, Sunderland