My financial situation at the moment is not fun. I lost my job a couple of months ago because, in this economy, people just aren’t interested in paying several hundred dollars for senior portraits for their children. So, we began to economize in earnest. We had a little bit of savings to pad out our budget and my boyfriend is still working, so we’ve been managing. It’s tight some weeks, it really is. But we are current on our rent, my baby is always fed, my car has gas, and no utilities have been even been in danger of being shut off yet. I’ve been looking for a new job, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities in this area for me.
I work very hard at not coveting what other bloggers have and are doing. Very hard. I know when I saw several bloggers participating in a No Spend Month, I had to bitterly chuckle just a little. I really am happy for people who have the luxury of being able to do such things as an experiment. For me, this is my life. I cheered those people on, of course, because being able to abruptly curtail extraneous spending is a useful skill. And sometimes I think Americans as a whole forget the little luxuries that we indulge in everyday. I wasn’t really aware of that until our second income was gone and I was left to mercilessly cut our monthly budget to fit the income we had remaining. The only “luxury” I really feel we have left at this point in our internet and there have been times where I wondered if it was worth it.
Regardless, this post isn’t meant to be a sob story. Just a reaction I have seen to various things lately regarding the economy. It started with my best friend’s parents, who are lovely people. Really. But they are also staunch conservatives that fall right within the income range that Obama is proposing carry the burden of financing his economic programs. They aren’t happy about it and have made a number of comments to the effect that it is a bad idea. I always have to bite my tongue because in reality, I want to yell that the person Obama is trying to help is ME. I don’t want a hand out, but we do need help because the day is going to come where, eventually, we aren’t going to be able to meet that insurance payment or the rent or whatever. It terrifies me everyday.
Then, in the course of watching various news programs, I see a number of governors speaking out against the state bailout package, particularly the unemployment portion of the package. I understand that this sort of spending flies in the face of Republican “ideology”, though I wonder where that “ideology” was when they agreed to give George Bush TRILLIONS of dollars for his war. I have to say that hearing these governors, especially Bobby Jindal, talk about how they’re going to turn down money that would go to the most vulnerable people in their states boils my blood and sends me into a rage. To these governors, poverty is just a statistic. They aren’t the ones that had to go hat in hand to request state health care for their kids because they lost their job and don’t have insurance for them anymore. They aren’t the ones that pray every night that their car doesn’t break down because they don’t have the money to repair it if anything major goes wrong. They aren’t the ones that desperately apply for jobs they are over-qualified for just because they need a paycheck THAT bad.
It kills me how unempathetic most Americans can be. Most of us that have lost our jobs don’t want a hand out. We aren’t asking the government to take care of us. We just want a job! We just want the security that comes from knowing that our family is cared for! There is a very real human face to this economic crisis and it isn’t the corporate CEOs that put us in this mess. It’s me. It’s your neighbors. It’s the friend that doesn’t talk about how bad they have it right now because they are ashamed.
So, when I see bloggers (several in fact) talk about how this is “all our fault for overspending and using credit”, it infuriates me. Does our economy have to change? Absolutely. Is bailing out the banks and auto makers going to help? I’m not sure, but my gut tells me that it isn’t going to work as well as our lawmakers hope. Is the price tag on the bailout packages staggering? Indeed and it makes me uneasy that my grandkids might be paying for all of this. But, before you decry these programs and dismiss the fact that the stupid actions of a few are killing our economy, remember that those “repercussions” have a face and a life. It’s just rude to dismiss the fact that so many of us really are living the frugal lifestyle so many of us bloggers espouse, not out of desire but out of pure, desperate necessity.