Wednesday, December 06, 2006

An American Girl Trying To Find Her Way

I have been a stay at home for the last ten years, not a job I ever envisioned myself doing, but a job I have done pretty well and have taken great pride in.  Financially speaking, choosing to stay at home and not go back to work after my daughter was born was a tough call and we definitely had to make sacrifices in order to make it work.  Through the Clinton years, we were able to take advantage of government programs that enabled us to claw our way into the middle class, even if it did take 10 years to get there.  I was able to go back to college, and by scrimping and saving, we were able to take some of my student loan money and pay for computer classes for my husband so that he could get a job that would support our growing family.  

Things were tough back then, but we knew there was a way to make it though and there was even hope that we could come out the other end better off than before.  While I’m thankful that we were able to reach the promised land of middle class America, I can’t help but think of all the families that have had the bad luck to be struggling while George W. Bush is President.  Over the last six years, those programs that helped us find our way have been slashed or done away with completely and hope for a better future is in short supply.  Walking a tightrope without a net has a way of wearing you down and the stress of it all can eat you alive.  We had a net, young families today are not quite so lucky.

GOP domestic policies have not only made upward mobility virtually impossible, they have also made hanging on to middle class a constant struggle.  Like most good Americans, once we had enough money, we moved out of our rented apartment and bought a house of our own.  It’s great to have a home and a yard for the kids to play in, but holding onto it (again, without a net) is a whole other story.  One income is barely enough to get by, forget about putting money into a college fund for the kids, or luxury of luxuries, a retirement fund.  Good thing we’ve got Social Security right?!  Man, the future looks bleak.

So here I am, at the end of my stay at home mom years, at least as a full time gig, and I’m an unpaid blogger.  Not exactly an ideal situation.  I need to make money, but I also need to do something that I feel makes a difference in this world.  I’m struggling with trying to figure out how to make it all work.    Since there’s no money in blogging (at least not yet), I’ve had to start my own business.  Getting a job after being out of the workforce for 10 years, especially in this economy, simply wasn’t an option and the amount of money I would have had to make in order to pay for before and after school care for my kids and still come out ahead just wasn’t going to happen.  Besides, I want to be here when my kids get home, it’s hard to stay relevant in their lives as they get older and the best way I know to do that, is to be in their face as much as possible.  If they’re tripping over me, it’s harder for them to forget I’m here.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because what I have is a high-class problem and as much of a struggle as middle class is these days, at least I made it, and all because I had the benefit of a government that worked at a critical time in my life.  Without it, I honestly don’t know where I’d be.  

As much as the GOP likes to trash government, it has a role to play in our lives.  When government works properly and when it works for the people, it can mean the difference between hope and despair.  The Bush administration and the corrupt GOP controlled Congress have broken our government, just as they intended to.  It is bloated, inefficient and ineffective.  This administration has reorganized our government in the most dangerous of ways.  George Bush’s government has more authority than is legal in monitoring and restricting the rights of the American people while simultaneously giving up authority to regulate business (can you say Enron), protect the environment and serve the people of this country.  I hope we never again give the keys to our Capitol and our White House to men and women that have no respect for our government.  We’ve seen the damage they can do, I just hope we’ve learned from this horrific mistake.


Blogger Howard Martin said...

I work at a local cog in a very large retail wheel and I see examples every day of people (mostly female) who are in the situation you describe.

7:18 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Howie--I started to respond to your comment, but it ended up too long, so now it's on the front page. Thanks for getting me going, I was having a hard time writing but you appear to have cured my writer's block!

11:12 AM  
Anonymous drm said...

What a bunch of hooey, I don't even no where to begin.. Let's start near the end. I will summarize, the Bush government gave up on keeping watch over the big bad businesses, Enron was cited. Just a quick question. During what years did Enron do everything that brought about its collapse? Question 2, under what justice department were the crooks from Enron brought to justice?

Also, government is bigger today than it ever has been. More money is being spent on education than at any time in the history of this country. Please identify which "crucial" government programs have been cut? Just what program that you utilized last decade are no longer available?

Given your honorable decision to stay at home and make due with one income I am sure the extra $500 per child tax credit was not helpful to you are the lowering of the lowest marginal tax rate cause you more economic pain... Also, since you joined the "homeowner club", a club that is the largest it has EVER been, I am sure the booming housing market and the rise in your home equity also was another "near death" blow to your financial situation.. Quick, you better go back to all those wonderful government programs and go back to renting, sounds like you cannot take all this good economic news

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Skippy said...

I'm with David in exhibiting some caution on the Samoa minumum wage issue.

I used to live in the CNMI and, believe me, the minimum wage application to the CNMI is absolutely the right thing to do as the increase will absolutely reduce the labor abuses there and put many more American citizens to work in an economy that is overly dependent on easily-abused and underpaid alien labor.

However, American Samoa, excuse the bad pun, is a very different kettle of fish. The two canneries there employ nearly 75 percent of the employed work force in Samoa.

The canneries have clearly said that if the minimum wage is raised, they will shut down and move to Thailand, th ePhilippines or Nicaragua, where the local legal wage is about $1/hr. This is not an empty threat as the worldwide tuna packing industry is migrating to those places. the samoan operation sar ehangin gon by athread because of wages well above globalized rates and high fuel and transport costs.

So folks, let's not be so hasty about minimum wage increases in Samoa or the place will most likely diintegrate into abject poverty and outmigration to Hawaii and the West Coast after the main source of a cash economy goes away.

12:22 AM  

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