Economic Issues: Out in the Trenches, Part 1

by CJFosdick on December 16, 2009

Nancy Pelosi spent $35,000 in three months for incidentals such as flowers and donuts. She spent $3000 alone for one funeral. John Boehner spent $24,000. All together, Congress spends a total of nearly 1 ½ billion dollars a year for such trivial items. Meanwhile, out in the trenches, folks are hurting. For every job lost in America, and last month, there were nearly 500, 000 such losses, there is a tragic story of worry, panic, and outright fear, not for the wage earner alone, but for his or her entire family. Such job losses, in addition, affect friends and neighborhoods with a ripple effect that is putting a blight on entire communities and the whole American economy.

Take Family A, as an example. A typical family of a mother and father with two young children, they both have Master’s Degrees with thousands of dollars of unpaid collage loans. He works with troubled youth in a county-paid position. I am sure that everyone reading this would agree, although there are better-paying jobs he could have aimed at, he is doing his choice in his life-work and what he is doing can make a difference. She, by choice, is a stay-at-home mother who baby-sits and who keeps a special needs client, again paid for by the county in which they live. This client has been a part of this family for years; they think of him as another child. For her to quit keeping him to try and find a better-paying job (assuming there was anything available) would be cruel to both the family and to this special needs special client. Yes, Family A is lucky that they both have jobs and are not unemployed. They can’t complain. But:

The county program that pays Husband A’s wages has had severe cuts in funds on which they run their programs. Several of his co-workers have been laid off and he and those still working have had to pick up the slack, which means that he puts in several more hours a week than previously, with no over-time and far less time with his own family. Nor does he have the time to really address the concerns of the kids he works with. He is spread way too thin, and is frustrated, because he knows he cannot give his best under the circumstances in which he has to work.

Wife A has the desire to quit the babysitting and expand her many talents in another direction. However, the county program that pays for the special needs client has had its funds cut also and therefore, she is paid less each month to keep him. Family A is having trouble paying their mortgage and their bills. They spend hundreds of dollars a month for health care. Yes, they are in a panic, not knowing what comes next.

The mother of the kids she baby-sits is having severe financial problems herself, and often finds she is unable to pay all, or sometimes, even part of her monthly babysitting bill.  For example, last month, she was not only unable to pay any of her bill to Wife A, but she was overdrawn in her bank account and did not even have money to buy milk or food for her own kids. Keep in mind this is going on while Congress squanders thousands of dollars on flowers and donuts. So what became of this sad tale of trouble in the heartland? Family A went to the store and bought her milk and food with their own money to help her out until she could get her finances more in order. And yes, she still needs to pay her babysitting bill.

Hey folks. This is America. This is what Americans do — reach out and help those more needy than themselves. The Washington-bigwigs should do the same. Put up a sign, “Bring your own donuts and snacks. Money saved will be donated to the Good Will.” For funerals, they should send a card saying, “A donation has been made in your loved one’s name for $3000 to the Salvation Army (or any worthwhile cause) to help those more needy than we. Then of course, Nancy-et-all need to make sure they send the money. Aren’t they Americans, too?


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