Jack Saturday

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 309-311

I am 65, socked away money in a 401k over a lifetime of work -- often working two or three jobs when I was a single parent (a status not of my choice). I never asked for a hand-out from anyone, parents, government, friends. I showed up for work, did extra, paid my taxes, helped friends and family when they were in need on occasion and kept an optimistic outlook even at times when there seemed to be little reason for it. Two years ago I quit my job, a job I had loved working with people I loved. Frankly, I was so burned out I was no good to anyone, including myself and certainly not to my fine co-workers. But after I quit full-time work, I took on three part-time jobs (including work from home, on invitation from my former employer), even eschewing SS because I wanted to retain that lifelong feeling of being self-reliant. I looked forward not to an elegant, glitzy later life, but perhaps a car to replace the 13-year-old one, maybe a few trips, even a first manicure (imagine). In these two years I've bought one item of clothing, a mother-of-the-bride dress for an amazingly lavish $120. The retirement money I had socked away was overnight halved by the stock market crash, despite my hawk eye on diversifying, despite the fact I had some in bonds, some in cash (Banks don't pay enough interest to make it worthwhile placing everything away there). But now I wish I had done so. Alan Greenspan, I trusted you. This was money I took out of my paychecks over the years for the time when I would continue to support myself rather than ever become a burden or worry to family. Now I'm on SS, which has limits for any income I can scrape together, jobs are tight -- especially for someone my age (a terrifically bright, lively, engaged woman), the industry I worked in (newspapers) has tanked, and I am kicking myself for not simply spending my lifetime up to my ears in credit, but wildly extravagant with cars, home updates, fashion, new shoes, good wine ... whatever. I'm totally discouraged and disheartened, each of these new feelings for me, who once believed (foolishly) that "doing the right thing" would matter. it doesn't. Trust me.
You've forgotten someone else
CommentPosted by:

Jan 13, 2009 7:52 AM

…we’re going to need an economic policy centered on the poor: more money for food stamps, for Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and, yes, cash assistance along the lines of what welfare once was, so that when people come tumbling down they don’t end up six feet under. For those who think “welfare” sounds too radical, we could just call it a “right to life” program, only one in which the objects of concern have already been born.

If that sounds politically unfeasible, consider this: When Clinton was cutting welfare and food stamps in the 90s, the poor were still an easily marginalized group, subjected to the nastiest sorts of racial and gender stereotyping. They were lazy, promiscuous, addicted, deadbeats, as whole choruses of conservative experts announced. Thanks to the recession, however -- and I knew there had to be a bright side -- the ranks of the poor are swelling every day with failed business owners, office workers, salespeople, and long-time homeowners. Stereotype that!
The Nouveau Poor Have Reached Numbers Too Large to Ignore
By Barbara Ehrenreich,
January 13, 2009.

The questions the corporate hog now asks hard-working ordinary people are: “Why don’t you work even harder to feed yourself and your family? Why aren’t you independent like you should be? Why do you want something free?”

Now the irony approaches absurdity. The giant hogs have eaten themselves. Nothing remains. Their lies and their frauds have been exposed. Their destruction of trust and their rejection of basic American values has now become rampant. And the hogs come begging to the people, ride their corporate jets to Washington, and beseech the people to save them.
Gerry Spence


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