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I had this brilliantly worded reply, full of facts and figures outlining the various expenses in relocating a family in their old jalopy as they did from the Dust Bowl during the 1930s, but I lost it. argh.
Suffice to say, the cost of gas over thousands of miles, the cost of feeding the family (I won't go into the cost of motel rooms, as they would probably end up sleeping in the car if they're poor enough), the cost of first and last month's rent and a security deposit, all add up to thousands of dollars that too many families do not have.
Jay, I say this with all respect for you, but I have to say it ... you really don't seem to have an understanding of what it is to be poor, to have to worry about keeping a roof over your family's heads on a day to day basis, to go without food yourself so your children can eat - usually cheap, crap food because that's all you could afford to buy, to decide what's more important - the heat/electricity (because usually, that's one and the same thing) or transportation to the job that pays you too little. And if you have experienced this, then I apologize for saying you don't seem to really understand.
It is a truly viscious cycle and our governmental systems seem designed to keep people down, instead of helping them get up out of the cycle. Are there some people who abuse these systems. There certainly are. But not as many as you might think. Most are just honest joes trying to keep their and their families' heads above water in a world that demonizes them for being where their society has placed them. Sometimes, someone gets a boost up and is able to rise above it. Most don't. Truly, read something like "Nickel and Dimed". It is a sobering read. The woman who wrote it did have an income, did have savings, and wasn't trapped there like the people she met and worked with, but in having made the choice to try to live on the wages that the working poor make for just a few months, she found it horrifyingly difficult and demeaning.
These are the people you say aren't worth spending healthcare dollars on when you ask why you should pay for someone else's healthcare. It's not just the migrant workers and ne'erdowells, it's people like some of our own KA family, perhaps like people you meet when you go to doctors appointments or run errands in town. That grocery clerk probably has two other jobs just to stay alive. How does she go to school and further her education? Between 3 jobs, two kids and a household to run, where does she find the time?
And I don't think anyone is saying that employers are downsizing just to keep from paying out benefits, they are downsizing due to the economic times. Getting rid of fulltimers to hire part-time contract workers who get no benefits is just one of the perqs of the financial bottom line. And if you think those benefits are going to come back enforce once the enconomy heats up again? I doubt it. Because the corporations who will be raking it in hand over fist will have discovered that they can make even huger profits by sticking to the measures they undertook to weather the recession. And their CEOs will get even bigger bonusses for having pillaged their employees. (And yes, I freely admit, I am cynical when it comes to big business.)
Anyway, enough of that. It's Christmas Eve and I think I've said enough for now.
A life lived in fear is a life half lived. "Strictly Ballroom"