Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why don't we want better?

(click on picture for video)
This absolutely broke my heart. It doesn't matter how many times I watch it, it brings me to tears. Especially at the end when she says "Please help." And our President walked over and gave her a kiss on the cheek and took the time to find out who she is. She is the face of what this economy has done to families. No one should have to live out of a truck because they've had the bad luck to lose their job.

Really this makes me angry. To have so many people criticize the social programs that give people down on their luck a chance to get by until hopefully something better comes along. Forget Welfare programs, food stamps, food kitchens, shelters... Don't you all see we NEED these programs? It can happen to anyone! We need this safety net.

And the argument that people on welfare are lazy and suck off the system... I DEFY anyone to try to live on welfare money. No one is happy to be on welfare. No one dreams of living off the system. For the life of me, I cannot understand how intolerable of human suffering we can be. How if we truly are the richest country... that we can treat our very own citizens like trash that can be discarded. Why don't we embrace programs that help our citizens get back on their feet, invest in our weakest members?

It just breaks my heart...


Monkey Girl said...

Thank you my Dear for this post. I get so riled up when I hear people constantly bashing those that live on welfare. I've studied and volunteered with social services for years, welfare isn't living. And if people truly believe that people are living high on the hog, eating bon-bons and lying around watching Jerry Springer I challenge them to try to live/feed/pay your bills on welfare. It doesn't work.
I've wondered for years why we, Americans, don't push our government to enforce a 'livable' wage...not a 'minimum' wage. A wage where a parent (single or not, male or female) can live and raise their family. As far as I know only the state of Vermont pushes companies to provide a 'livable' wage. A CEO shouldn't be making $38 million/year and his company's workers $30,000/year...there can be a fair balance. It can be done, it works in other countries all over the world. We are turning our country into a third world nation...and it's all of our own doing.

I want more.
I want National/Universal Healthcare.
I want a livable wage.
I want good schools for my children.

Everyone deserves these things. Everyone.

I don't think these things are so unattainable.

Ang said...

Love this post. I think we all want a better world for our children, don't we.

Quick diet question. My daughter is Autistic and we started her on something called the GAPS diet a few months ago, we have seen huge changes. Just wondering if you have ever heard of it?

Jen said...

MG- I get so mad when people defend the rich people. Like they are SOO smart and they DESERVE it. Everyone deserves to have their basic needs met. I'm constantly shocked by the lack of compassion we have in this country. Often times we are more compassionate about poor/sick people in other countries than our own.

Jen said...

Ang - Welcome!

I am slightly familiar with that diet concept for autism (I think). Is it the same thing that Jenny McCarthy talks about? There has been good research about diet helping to reverse a lot of the problems that come along with autism. Celiac free diets are a big part. My coworker's nephew is autistic (Asbergers). She tries to give advice with regards to diet but it's not received well.

Are you trying this diet? I'd love to know more about it.

cancer mommy said...

I am married to a very successful man, who grew up for a time on food stamps and government cheese. His mother just didn't have the income after her divorce to feed all 3 kids. It was a short-term help, and eventually things worked out and she could do things on her own. I don't know what would've happened if she didn't have that help back then.

I have seen the other side of welfare, however. Working in a pediatric dental office, we saw many children on state aid. It was heartbreaking to see the condition of their teeth, and this reflects the health of these kids in general. Most of the parents were glad to find someone who could help. But there were a few who came in with fur coats, driving a brand new Cadillac, while they're kids had holes in their shoes and rotten, painful teeth.

I wholeheartedly agree that these programs are necessary, and we should be so much more compassionate. I think some people are changing their minds about these programs in these times. But unfortunately, my latter example is what sticks in people's minds. And there is no real way to eliminate the abuse from the system completely. It's hard for some to accept that there will always be a small amount of abuse in any program that aims to help those less fortunate. I think that's reality.

I was sad watching that poor woman tell her story. It is becoming more and more common, and it was nice to see the President acknowledge her in a compassionate, humane way.

MG-- I don't understand why America has allowed the CEO's to make sooooo much more than their workers do. It has never been more of a discrepancy than it is now. The free market is supposed to check itself, and not allow that to happen, but as we've seen it doesn't check itself and it does allow it. Crazy.

PunkyBean said...

I'm with you dude. I'm getting laid off because my job is going to India (no comment there.) If my husband looses his job, we're screwed. We will be living in my parents' basement. Bottom line: I'm lucky in that my mom and dad own their house outright and that they would have enough room for us.
Did you read that? I'm lucky. I know it. The people who are lucky and don't know it are countless. They are the right (to be fair, not all of them.) Social programs are necessary. If you don't like them, find a way to fix or refine them, don't come at people and say they should be scrapped to save you cash. You are lucky too! Share the wealth! I have for years and am happy to continue (when I go back to work.) It's how things work...

PunkyBean said...

BTW! I have heard many examples of people skirting the welfare system - I live in Minnesota, we have the most liberal welfare systems out there! If you don't like it and you know everything, then you should figure out how to plug the holes in the system. You can't get rid of social programs.

Do you know what happens if the social programs are gone? The people who need them have no choice but to turn to crime. Then you will just be angry at the taxes you have to pay to police the crime and imprison the criminals (or victim of the times as Johnny Cash would say.) You are either preventing and helping or punishing on the back end.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Jen said...

Punky Bean - No problem, vent away!

CM - I used to work for the WIC program. I'd have to say that maybe 2% of the people that used the program, probably shouldn't have qualified... but the big hitch was that anyone that had Medicaid automatically qualified for WIC. And so, with the Medicaid fraud out there, so goes WIC fraud. I think that women would "live" with the boyfriend but say that he "stayed" there, and therefore didn't count them in their income. It's a shame... but I do think that politically it's made to seem like there's more fraud then there is.

We have all these great programs in place and then when the GOP gets in office, they cut funding... and then it appears as if the program isn't working.

Monkey Girl said...

Cancer Mommy,
The free market has never regulated a thing except big fat salaries for the uber-rich. The middle class has no representation, no voice, no POWER, and that's the middle class don't even think about the old and the poor. We truly are turning the US into a third world country, trust me I've visited many 3rd. world countries, they've no middle class...

Red said...

I see your heart is in the right place. I bet you were one of those kids always asking your Mom, " It followed me home. Can I keep it?"
I want to feed the world too but the reality is so much different.
For the handful of people that government assistance truly helps (my mother's family was one of them), there are slews of dregs sucking that teat dry and bitching about the flavor.
The crookedness and lack of structure and discipline and dealing with abusers is what has people so fed up and ready to take back their tax dollars. Social programs largely rest on the shoulders of the middle class tax payer and like Monkey Girl wrote, the middle class are facing a dwindling representation and what they have as representatives now are at best passively attentive. It's depressing.

Red said...

BTW, while your heart is breaking there's always more to the story...http://www.winknews.com/news/local/39518252.html

cancer mommy said...

MG-- I totally agree, free market hasn't regulated anything. I was just trying to sarcastically point out what the free-market supporters think happens. We know now it doesn't work that way. It makes me sad to see what's happening to America. I hope things do change soon. I hope.

mommapolitico said...

Thanks, Jen, for bringing this story to light. The Hubby and I were discussig this the other night, and we couldn't help but compare what the reaction of The Shrub would have been to the same situation. (Of course, this woman would never have made it into the parking lot of the last admin's town hall meetings, let alone to throw a question that isn't a softball to the Prez.)I agree that there are holes in the system. There will always be people who try to abuse any system. But I see the kids that are trapped in the system every day. The ones who have no control over the shape of their little lives. Sometimes mom and dad are trying their best. Other times, mom's back on junk and dad's in jail. But the kids are the ones that really pay the price. That's why we have the social services we do. MG's four-line creed above should be sent to every elected official in the U.S. We all want more, and starting by getting rid of the CEO's unlimited wealth on th baks of the working class is a great place to start. or example, I've always said that taxing the top 1% of corporations by 1% of their growth could send a lot of kids to college, and provide those same corporations with a well-educated workfirce ready to face the challenges of the 21st century. I'll step down off my soapbox now...
Great post, Jen and terrific debate, All!

Jen said...

Hi Red... nice to meet you.

I agree that there needs to be more done to fix the programs.

I think we should invest a little time into reworking the programs, so that they are more fraud-proof.

Jen said...

MP- I agree. It's the kids that get hurt in the long run. That's why SCHIP is so important. You can't take healthcare away from kids because their parents may not be able to afford it.

I think about single moms too. They really need these programs.