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Forum Post: Screwed by the govt again....

Posted 12 years ago on Nov. 12, 2011, 2:53 p.m. EST by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

My g/f and I have been on food stamps for about 2 years. This was do to the collapse of the housing industry collapse as i am a carpenter and then a nasty workmans comp case my g/f went through. We have been trying to get back on our feet.

She has worked since getting hurt and it never affected our food stamps. She just got another job two months ago making less than what she made at her last job. Now our food stamps are being reduced to barely anything.

This is really putting a money wrench in our struggle to get back on our feet. Instead of getting back to a position where we can start getting ahead now we are going to be forced to cut back even more. It was actually more beneficial for her to sit on unemployment and get the full benefits then attempt to get on her feet and support herself. We get penalized for trying to pull ourselves up.

This is the problem you face at the bottom. You get penalized everywhere for being at the bottom. The system works AGAINST poor people which only makes them stay poor longer.

This entire country's economic system is designed so that once you enter the bottom 20% it becomes extremely difficult to get out of it. The entire system works against you.

But then if you are a banker you get a golden parachute and a multi billion dollar bailout as a reward for the disasters you cause and the lives you ruin.

Just for reference, we own our house( as in i have the deed) and we own our vehicles.Our monthly bills including food/clothing/etc. is around $1300-$1400 a month depending on the time of year So its not like we are trying to live high and mighty on the govt dole. Our household income atm is $800/month net.

This is what it is like to be at the bottom. Every time you try to get up someone with a big foot steps on you and pushes you back down. You are constantly stressed and constantly worried about how you are going to overcome even the slightest unforeseen problems that may rise up.

At some point you lose all hope of ever getting ahead and just stop caring anymore and thus trying. This is what is wrong with this country.

I have consider a few times to moving to the UK or Canada where the govt was a bit more friendly to its citizens. I really dont want to leave my native America, but this country has nothing to offer me and takes everything from me. Ironically if i had the money to go and start over i probably wouldnt be as interested in starting over somewhere else as i could more easily pull myself out of the hole i am in thanks to the bankers greed and housing market crash.

Before this recession i was lower middle class and luckily i decided to pay off my loans instead of upgrading like everyone else did.



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[-] 2 points by JonoLith (467) 12 years ago

Live in Peace Brother. I hope things improve for you and we'll continue to fight for that goal.


[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 12 years ago

To the 1%, people are profit centers and leveraged assets. When they can no longer by used to generate profit, they are discarded.

It is time to reverse that philosophy and practice.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 12 years ago

Thanks for your post. I haven't been where you are for a long time, but I remember it well. I got lucky. It's pathetic how much luck remains a factor.

As Warren Buffett says, we've had a class war for a long time, and his class is winning - at the expense of people in the middle and especially at the bottom. I'm sorry for your trials. Try to have some faith, though. In yourself, yes, but also remember Churchill's statement that Americans always eventually do the right thing, after exhausting every other option. I think we'll eventually get back to looking out for each other, and valuing people as much as we do money.

This selfish, greedy, hedonistic, apathetic, divisive phase is coming to a close. Again with Churchill: "this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Things are looking up - if only we can turn it around before another great collapse...

[-] 2 points by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL 12 years ago

I am hoping we come out of this come the new year. My g/f has a shot at a good paying job in her field. The boss is one of those bosses that are like 1 in a million.

She wont fire her current help because she feels bad for firing people during the holiday season. Her current employees spend their day talking bad about her on facebook instead of working. She pays well, has 401k, health,etc and she works her help 40 hours a week even if their is not 40 hrs worth of work.

As for me i do small jobs here and there. Mainly people do not have any money to spend so i do not expect my field to pick back up until people start having money to spend on their houses again.


[-] 0 points by steven2002 (363) 12 years ago

What kind of carpenter are you? Are you a finishing carpenter, framing carpenter or a general carpenter?

[-] 1 points by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL 12 years ago

Pretty much all but finish. I can do finish, but i lack the patience for it. I tend to become to much of a perfectionist with trim and such and often get frustrated with it.

Also i have been considered self employed for years. Though i use to work with friends. I still do work but not very much. Most people that want work done do not have any money to spend and those that do have 20 people bidding the same job.

[-] 0 points by steven2002 (363) 12 years ago

Google carpenter jobs,I just did and there were plenty. NYC is also looking for carpenters. You could also regester with Service Magic. Your best advertizing will be word of mouth.

[-] 1 points by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL 12 years ago

I live about 900 miles from NYC. I routinely read the local papers. Construction companies here always advertise there. I read the two big papers on Sunday then a i get a local paper the middle of the week. I try to stay away from St Louis and stay on my side of the river.I also stay away from the union. I hate the union here though it may be better elsewhere. Plus i do not like their motto of get paid more work less. That is a huge problem in this country. People want to be paid silly wages to do virtually no work because they think they are special.Unions dont really fit in with my work ethics. I am someone that if i go to work i want to work not f* off 1/2 the day. I can do that at home.

I still do work just not very much. Competition for jobs is fierce. You have to bid very low and you have to compete with over 10 bids on nearly every job. Usually you have a max of 4 bidders for one job and the average is 2-3 bidders per job.Many times it is two because carpenters are often booked for months and dont have time to get to the job. Ive known some people during the boom to have to wait a year to get work done by their preferred company.

The whole point of my post wasnt really me bitching about my situation but about how poor people are treated. Businessmen get bailouts for being greedy. But poor people get screwed for trying to climb out of a hole. For each step of success to climb out of the hole you get penalized. The system is rigged now so you get penalized for being poor and working your way to middle class while it is more beneficial many times to just stay poor.

Climbing out of the hole kind of defeats the purpose if the govt stops helping you out of that hole 1/2 way up.

An example with food stamps. You should not start to lose benefits until about 150% of poverty level. And this should decrease to about 300% of poverty level. As it is now the slightest change in income affects food stamps in the biggest way. 4-6 hours a week more at a min wage job can make a difference as much as 33% of your benefit. So an $80/ month income change net can cost you $100 in food stamps... Assuming you have to work an extra day a week for this time and it takes $10 to go to work a day you are at $60 a month loss for working more.( $40 more in gas a month and $20 extra you have to spend on food because you lost more benefits than you gained in income).

The system is completely geared against poor people. Instead of helping people out of the hole it actually helps them stay in it. They also become frustrated because they see that they are working more and making more but they are getting even further behind. Thus making them want to give up.

[-] -1 points by RicoSuave (218) 12 years ago

I don't see anywhere in your post where it mentions your employment status. Do you have a job?

Don't give me the B.S. that there are no jobs. There is always something you can do. It might not be in the industry you used to work, but there is always something you can do.

[-] 1 points by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL 12 years ago

Their are no jobs where i live that i can do/would be hired for. Some construction companies are hiring but i know all the construction companies where i live and their reputation. They do shody work and are shady at best. The bigger construction companies are all union and the carpentry union here sucks, i been in it before. The union is like politicians. Got their hands in both pockets but only listens to the guy who writes the biggest check and that be the businesses.

I cant do traditional stand up jobs because all those jobs require you to stand on concrete floors. I have bad ankles that cant handle long periods on concrete.

This is also why i work for myself. Most employers wont let you sit down when you need too. I need to take routine breaks off my feet or my ankles get knots on them the size of golf balls and turn purple and brown. If you want to know what that feels like come over to my place and i will shoot you in the ankle with a framing nail gun so you can see how it feels.

I go through a lot of Bengay and Aleve just to work. I guess i could sit at home and cry about how i cant work cause i got bad ankles. But not working is kind of boring to me.

And i cant afford to go to the doctor. I require a specialist and he requires an MRI which requires cash upfront of about $2k

So i do odd jobs when i can waiting for the market to pick back up in my area. But not many people have money to spend on fixing their house right now so i am kind of stuck.

And dont EVER even imply a carpenter is lazy. Most people cannot handle the job for 1 day little lone 1 week. I been doing it for nearly 15 years. The work is hard and it takes a toll on your body.

I have bad ankles and bad hips. I have a disk in my back that slips once or twice a year. I have had large objects fall on me, had concrete burns, splinters that where bigger than nails, nails stuck in me and my hands typically look like i got in a fight with a sticker bush and lost. All while enduring temps of 95 degrees with heat indices in the 100s and as cold at 10 degrees with windchills near 0.....

All so people like you have a nice warm dry place to enjoy your holidays. Oh and im only 33. By time im 50 in this field my body will be nearly completely shot.

I do the work because i love building stuff and i am damn good at it not because it pays well and is financially rewarding. In this way i guess i am like a teacher.