Feeling The Hurt Of The Recession
Wednesday - October 20, 2010
When the news media reports the nation’s unemployment rate - still about 9.6 percent - it fails to account for the many others personally impacted by that impersonal statistic.
I have four close family members who are out of work due to the economy. One just lost his job last month and is looking at a family outlay for health insurance coverage of $2,300 per month. Another, age 40, has been looking for work for more than two years in the tech field, has gone through bouts of depression, had to declare bankruptcy and move in with his mother, and has a stomach ailment exacerbated by the stress.
Another was laid off, but fortunately his wife is still working to meet financial obligations.
Still another lost his job just a few days before being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease with no known cause or treatment. His wife’s job disappeared two months before. Talk about a cruel triple whammy. I’ve just spent two weeks with them in Texas lending a hand. Now, two years after diagnosis, the disease has progressed as it normally does, debilitating his body one muscle at a time, including those that enable breathing, swallowing and talking. His wife found part-time work, but times are really tough.
And this is just my family. Imagine how this scenario is being played out in families all across America. The more impressive - no, depressing - statistic would be the percentage of husbands, wives, children and parents affected by unemployment, which also includes all the retailers and service companies patronized by families that aren’t having cars fixed, lawns serviced, dining out or buying newspapers.
My unemployed nephew, the mid-level tech worker, says he can’t even get hired at a fast food restaurant because it inevitably comes up that he’s still looking for a job in his field, meaning he probably won’t be there for long. Why train someone who will be leaving soon? Mid-level $30,000- to $50,000-a-year employees are very hard-hit by the jobs crisis. They’re dispensable when business budgets are being crunched to survive. But aside from the bailed out “too big to fail” companies, not one single worker or industry is immune when it comes to hardships.
It’s especially disconcerting to the hurting to hear recently that the Social Security Office sent more than $22 million in $250 checks to 89,000 dead people or prison inmates through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though half has been recovered, according to the Inspector General, the other $11 million will be written off. This is the same government that claims it can fix the economy.
Our great country was founded on the principle of free enterprise. That doesn’t mean getting free stuff or free checks from a government that exists solely from the sweat of its citizens’ brows. Free enterprise means free to succeed or fail on a fair playing field without high tax burdens, onerous regulations, or union or governmental agencies mandates.
Just about everybody with half a brain, with or without a job, gets why the job market is in the toilet. Businesses aren’t hiring in anticipation of higher taxes and regulations from Obamacare and this administration’s philosophy that higher taxes and more government spending can create a robust economy. Spending on roads to nowhere, studies on nothing relevant, bailing out Wall Street cronies, poorly conceived make-work transportation projects, and special interest needs adding trillions more to our national debt is a crime, Mr. President.
It’s all about jobs. Americans want to work, not receive a check for not working. Americans are independent, not dependent. Americans are known for a strong work ethic and problem-solving through free enterprise. Americans, not government, can get this economy working. Just quit spending money we don’t have, get the “monkey” of tax and regulation off their backs, and watch.
Real lives are at stake here. Ask my family members. Ask the millions more.
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