I would like to pose a few questions to fellow readers. These have nothing to do with any specific party or candidate, but rather personal experiences with our government's service to the citizenry....All that I ask is that you review the queries, and give a serious look to your experiences, after which, if you can still call the government your friend, I would greatly like to know your rationale. I am certainly not being facetious, argumentative, or even trying to ferment discord. I guess you could say that I often wonder whether I am the only one, the unlucky soul, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are those who have tried to tell me, over the years, that my musings are just sour grapes because I haven't benefitted from government programs, so consequently, I don't want anyone else to benefit either.
I was raised in a single parent household. Not by choice, but by death of a parent after a sudden and unexpected illness. Ironically, unlike those of my peer group who were in single homes due to divorce or the option of never having married, there was not court ordered support. Social Security benefits to survivors didn't begin to cover the expense of living in the most meagre of apartments. So my mother returned to work, and was paid alot less than the men who worked in the same capacity, but that was OK...And because of her return to work, the Social Security survivors benefits stopped, so we weren't in a much better place than before, unless you consider the self esteem of taking care of your own life and your own family. I never got free meals at school. My mother still had to pay at registration, buy books and school supplies, put clothing on me, pay for insurance to cover medical expenses...none of that was given for free. Perhaps my mother didn't know "how to work the system", but the bottom line is that all these wonderful safety net programs were never appropriate for my situation, and my mother, who didn't have sufficient, was paying taxes to support these special programs for the "poor kids"
Time for college, and somehow, I didn't qualify for any of the "need based" scholarships, but they would certainly be willing to load me down with loans, and to have my mother take even more loans on my behalf. And as scholarships awarded for ability, merit, hard work, good grades went out of fashion in the name of making higher education "accessible to all", well, I struck out there as well. Graduating in the top 5% of my class, ACT and SAT off the charts didn't really help with the higher education thing. All kinds of government aid out there, and there was always some obscure reason that I didn't qualify. But, my tax money does go to education funding, doesn't it? And today, my kids aren't eligible for any of that free money either, even though we earn no where near what our current administration considers "rich"-not even a third of that $250K per year amount combining all of our income from all sources.
Graduate college and there are not jobs...The placement center at school is cancelling appointments with students. Student loans come due whether you have a job or not, BUT I didn't default, but rather worked in poorly paying jobs with no relationship to my studies in order to honor my obligations....no grace periods, extra deferments, or forgiveness. Threatened with ruining my credit rating and wage garnishment, garnishment of tax returns, but no mercy. Our administration announced that it was going to reduce, extend, forgive student loans...I certainly didn't benefit, and now my children, who are of school age, conveniently don't fall into the magic categories of loan forgiveness. They will have to scrimp and pay, just as I did. It took seven years to clear my student loans, time when you didn't buy a home or a new car, or any luxuries really, just paid your loans faithfully. And what really did happen to those who walked away from the responsibility? Many are Doctors, Dentists, Engineers, Lawyers, business executives, highly placed and well paid. I often wonder if they got the same nasty letters which I did, informing me of all the vile things that could happen should I default on my student loan payments. Maybe they missed the memo?
I am supposed to feel compassion for those who are addicted to illegal substances...my tax dollars paying for counseling, halfway houses, medical treatments for those breaking our societies laws. I have to pay extra insurance for being a smoker - a legal activity. My car insurance can up my premiums-even if I never smoke in the car. My health insurance can limit my benefits or charge me more for a legal activity, but those violating the laws with illegal substance can have it all for free. I am supposed to excuse violent behavior, that threatens my community, my family, because people are not in control of their own bodies and minds due to illegal drug usage. The same can be said of free birth control, family planning counseling, and yet I seem to still have to pay a great deal for unmarried woman and their children in terms of entitlement programs. I am allowed to claim two children on taxes, but I would like the government to tell me exactly how many I have raised.
Like most folks, I have been out of work. Unemployment services was somewhat like the Spanish inquisition for a weekly payment that didn't even approach the money I was actually earning. I was made to feel under constant scrutiny. I had to find work, and I had to devote all my time for it. (Like I wanted to live on beans and mac 'n' cheese). Oddly enough, I was never qualified for the services....like free help constructing a resume, like referrals to specific jobs, like coaching on interview techniques, like educational grants to train me for something useful and different than the job which I lost....I was always a technicality. I took whatever job presented itself simply to not be embarrassed and harassed about looking for a job. I didn't want to be scrutinized, but offered no practical assistance. I will concede that they let me use their fax machine to fax applications and cover letters, and they did allow me to make extra Xerox copies of my amateurish resume, but that is all the services that I received. And then to add insult to injury....had to keep track of the pittance that they paid to make sure that I paid the IRS come tax time. So, in actuality, those who don't work at all, don't look for work, don't seek education and training, but rather, sit at home and watch the flat screen TV and play computer games, collecting welfare are in better shape, because they don't have to declare the welfare at tax time....
Like many, I have had elder parents in declining health. I have watched American citizens who have devoted decades to working and paying taxes to support our system being humiliated and broken down by that same system.....and for my mother, a widow, with limited resources and a minimum social security payment alone, it was more than humiliating. She was condemned for an insurance policy taken out when she was a child, that she carefully tended and paid into throughout her life-we aren't talking huge-maybe $10K when all was said and done, but that was considered being wealthy and disqualifying her for medical aid, pharmacy aid, housing assistance, utility assistance, food programs, subsidized transportation etc. An illegal alien family, living in the same state, receives about $3600 in various aid and assistance programs, perhaps more if they have dependent children in school. My mother was expected to live on, pay medicare, pay for medicare supplement, eat, pay rent, clothe herself on about $1000 per month.....saved resources do not last long at that rate. There were no Swiss bank accounts, securities, bonds, stocks, or any other tangible asset, but they told her that she had to sell her 17 year old car, and even the grave lots that she purchased when my father died some 40 years earlier....She was supposed to sign over her burial policy to them and then they would make sure that she got some of the program benefits. And when she passed? Who was going to see to her burial? Social workers would get rude and argumentative with her, often reducing her to tears with threats of what would happen if she didn't do as they said. They promised her all sorts of aid, which by technicality she never received benefit of. And, we even reached a point where hospitals and doctors were shuttling her around like a hot potato, being attentive to needs covered by Medicare, but shifting her to another facility whether it was good for her condition or not, because the Medicare threshold had been reached. I suspected that alot of treatments and tests had nothing more to recommend them to her situation, other than Medicare would pay for them.
Modern history....Has anyone here qualified for the mortgage help? I know several people who went through the process. Many got scammed by false agencies claiming to be part of the government program, and people who could least afford the loss, suffered even more. Others who went through the process found themselves with a mortgage that was only a few dollars smaller in payment than before and with a much more rigid payment schedule that doesn't include any sort of grace period at all. And how about cash for clunkers.....a 17 year old car with over 150K in mileage didn't qualify, a 10 year old car with over 200K didn't qualify, because both were considered to be fuel efficient when brand new....there's logic for you. Rebates and tax credits for energy efficient appliances. I had the experience of spending the extra for the qualifying appliance, only to discover that the program has run out of money for the rebates, and I don't earn enough to itemize and get the credit on my federal taxes.
I work every day. I pay taxes. I don't get raises, because my company is telling me that I have to understand that their costs due to government compliancy etc have gone up and their profits haven't. I am supposed to feel so grateful to have a job that I will accept any level of work without increased renumeration for the privelege of working. Those on entitlement programs will scream if you don't give them cost of living raises, let alone cuts in benefit. Many people I know have taken pay cuts to keep employment. Why do government programs never experience cuts? My taxes increase to pay for even more social programs. I pay into a school district which is substandard, so I also pay for private tuition...my tax dollars are educating and feeding other children. My kids cannot use the public library without paying a separate fee, because township isn't in a specific library district, yet the public library is housed in the public middle school in our district, which I am paying for. So exactly why is it that I don't want to see entitlement programs corrected, adjusted, cut down?????? People in my neighborhood are out on the front lawn playing with expensive toys, RC cars, ATVs.....and they are out of work...I work full time and wonder how to pay my just obligations.
So, I ask you to really think about it. Government is all about promising everyone, everything, and when the election is over, there are so many strings attached, that it seems that few are actually able to capitalize on those promises. Another election season is upon us, and I am sure that they are all ramping up to promise us the moon....I would just prefer not to be taxed for viewing it.