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I always say this and sometimes I sound like a broken record when this topic comes up. I don’t like bringing too much of my family life into this blog as it’s not about them. They might occasionally read this blog and are likely aware of its existence but I always found it to be rather unfair to them to write behind their backs.
However, certain times I feel the need to relate my life to almost use as a segue into what is actually going on in the world of politics.
I’ve written about this before so I will hurriedly catch everyone up into the past few years of my life. At the beginning of my junior year of high school, the car dealership (a GM one) my Dad worked at for almost 20 years (or slightly over, barely can remember the exact figure) announced it was closing in May. Thanks to the then-struggling auto industry, this wasn’t a huge shock to my family and we were rather prepared for the news that broke.
No worries though, my Dad was highly experienced, well-connected and had another job lined up at another GM dealership. About two weeks after the closing of the old dealership, my Dad made the longer commute to the new one. The travel was slightly weary, as it was a 45-minute drive, but at the beginning of my senior year, we were covered.
Then the car dealership’s owner went through brief financial difficulties and the newer employees had to be let go and that unfortunately included my Dad.
So here we were, a family struggling along with the rest of the nation with the youngest (yours truly) having collegiate ambitions. My Dad then had to make the choice to file for unemployment benefits.
My Dad would find another job, this time one that had to see him work nightly (often from 5:00pm till 2:00-to-3:00am) with a maintenance company as a supervisor and a cleaner. It wasn’t a pretty nor glamorous job but it was one that could (barely) pay the bills but I was in college and life continued.
The stress of the nightly job clearly weighed down my Dad. The nature of the job required heavy-lifting and it was making its physical and emotional damage. There was a case of plantar fasciitis, problems with the boss, and the late hours were just almost too much.
Yet we still carried on and I was even able to help out the company by doing some small summer part-time jobs that helped me pay for my books, my housing and even my running shoes.
However today the bottom fell off. My Dad was laid off again. I got the news immediately following my run.
Now, we’ve been down this rodeo before so it’s not like we are facing the great unknown by re-applying for the benefits we were sure to be done with. But that’s how life works, even when you know what you are facing, you are never quite sure what’s happening next.
My Dad though is applying for jobs and immediately jumped back into the job pursuits. Sadly though, I’m sure any one of my conservatives friends would call my Dad “lazy” or “a welfare queen” by doing what he possibly could to help out his family. We have yet to receive a single check from the government but what if my Dad doesn’t immediately get a job?
Families across the country however are in far worst shape than we are. Just go anywhere and ask anyone you know and you will hear stories from what it really is like on the unemployment line. No, we aren’t savagely guffawing as we fist-bump each other and saying “thanks” to the “hard workers” across the country for giving us their hard-earned money. We are not yet suffering at all, but soon we might be. Or we might not. Who knows?
I’ve made it my new life mission to dispute the stereotypes that surround welfare, the unemployed and the working class. We are all in this together after all. I will be (finally) graduating college this next December and look forward to making my own income while eventually maybe starting a family one day. I know it won’t be easy but that day is coming and I have to admit the government played a role in that.
No, we aren’t subjecting ourselves to the “nanny-state” mind complex. It’s not that simple. I see it as a family man doing something to earnestly help his family and immediately trying to rise above the “assistance”. My Dad will find a job somewhere and eventually, we won’t have to be living this way.
But this new development in my life definitely puts a sour taste in our mouths when you consider the so-called “fiscal cliff” discussions. Yes, we are all sick of it and the ad nauseam reporting of it can drive a normal person bonkers. Is there anything more irritating than hearing multi-millionaire representatives, who are essentially being bankrolled by billionaire SuperPACs, debating the taxes for those making $250,000 per year? Granted, I know some of those families and they are good, hard-working people.
Still my face is cherry-red from the slaps my face is receiving.
If we don’t receive a deal to stop us from going over the so-called cliff, then families across the board will have a tax increase. For families such as my own, we simply cannot afford that. Sure we have about a week or two before we really start feeling the effects of falling off the cliff. But can we stop playing hardball over people’s incomes who have taken enough of a beating?
It’s not just taxes, Medicare, and Social Security that’s on the table it’s people’s livelihood. It’s the student who may not be able to go to college due to his families suffers, the small business around the corner that may not be able to handle the lack of business or the newlywed couple who just started their lives together that might be hurting. It’s you, me and us that are going to eventually feel some pain.
Yet Speaker Boehner may not totally feel that way. Of course, one thing that matters to a congressman that will later (likely) be some corporate lobbyist and that’s his job and his legacy. The American public has been held hostage by not just the Tea Party but the establishment figures that have no idea what to do with the people that they once eagerly brought in with open arms.
John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Tom Price, Kevin McCarthy; you name them, they are doing this to us. Of course, President Obama may be in this boat as well too but it’s damn near impossible to negotiate with a group that’s not willing to concede on any of its failed talking points.
But just remember, when it comes down to it; it’s us who will suffer from this. Not them.