Friday, September 14, 2012

30 years of Poverty - Finance Friday
They say misery loves company.

I wonder if that is true about the numbers represented on this map posted recently by USA Today. It's worth clicking over and sliding the bar and watching the change in poverty rates in our country since 1980.

In an odd way it comforts me.

I know our decisions, our own, have created this situation we find ourselves in. And often I refrain from complaining because of that very fact.
We chose a job three years ago that relied on our ability to raise our own salary.
When that failed we chose to send hubby back to school rather than reentering the workforce.
And yet,
and yet .... is it right that a person works 3 -sometimes 4- jobs and still can't make ends meet?
Is that ok?
Is it right that in this day and age a full time, minimum wage job keeps an individual living in below poverty status?

Is it right you can work your fingers to the bone,
work until you develop Planters Faciitus and
miss tucking your kids in bed
so that you can take your paychecks,
stretch them
and still fall short?

Then, after all that hard work and all the hours on your feet an away from home you are still subjected to criticisms from individuals who either flippantly spew their beliefs about "people on welfare"
or worse, treat you differently.

Why should you treat me differently if you find out about my financial woes?
Because you're embarrassed?
Shouldn't I be the one worried about being embarrassed?

Or is it because you're against welfare, food stamps and free insurance?
If that's the case I can only hope that you or someone you love never falls into financial difficulty.
I really hope you don't.
'Cuz this?
This is embarrassing.
This is a heavy burden.
This is painful.
I'm weary of looking over my shoulder at the grocery checkout wondering who will see me.
I'm angry at the school for sending home a letter with confidential information about my free/reduced lunch status with my child.

But, hey! according to the map I'm not alone.

Despite the fact that in 2008 1,532,238 (or 12.2%) of my fellow Illinoisans are living in poverty (www.policyarchive) I suggest misery doesn't really love company.

Because I imagine other poverty stricken families are, like me, too busy trying to make ends meet to fraternize, sit around on our lazy butts and cash in our checks.

It is Finance Friday on my blog. The day I dedicate to documenting our family's difficult financial season. Thank you for reading.

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