Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Bunch of Lazy Addicts

Since I've been unemployed, I've noticed more the negative view on government assistance programs such as welfare, medicaid and food stamps. I've never seen these things as negative. Many of the "jokes" which come in the form of memes, ecards and just generally ranting on social media are also very racist in tone, which to me is abhorrent. Much of it is also placing blame on Obama, which is just ignorant and uninformed.

According to CNN, the economy added 295,000 jobs in February. Also, we've seen 60 consecutive months of job growth with 12 million jobs created.  At 5.5%, the unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since May 2008.

 I know some people work the system, but of all the people who access these services, I would guess the majority needs them. I've never needed to use them before, but now, having lost my job, I do. I'm on medicaid once my insurance runs out with my employer, I've filed for unemployment (which is still being processed), and I've applied for Basic Food (food stamps). I have worked from the time I was 15 up until I was a stay at home mom. I've worked shitty jobs just to have a job. Not all of us are taking advantage of the system. What if we didn't have that system in place? Should we just let our people starve and become homeless because they lost their jobs.

Also, I've applied for 12 jobs since being let go and I've heard from 2, rejected by both. I'm looking. But I cannot look 24/7. I'm taking a class to better myself, I have kids to attend to and basic life stuff. The negativity I've seen about those who are unemployed is pissing me off. I have a few things to say about these memes.

Oh, yeah, this is funny. I have a smart phone and tattoos. I got them before losing my job. So, I have to cut off my phone service, which is the only phone I have, because I applied for government assistance? I have teenagers too, so I should have no way to get a hold of them and vice versa? Seems legit. And sometimes I get a pedicure...that my mom pays for when I drive her. You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. You have no right to judge.

There are limitations to things you can buy with foodstamps. You cannot buy alcohol or tobacco. I cannot even purchase my household products. But am I supposed to buy ONLY fruits, vegetables and proteins with my food card? My kids can't enjoy a popsicle every once in a while? Or some goldfish crackers or a bag of chips? Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Granted, I actually very rarely buy chips, but if you saw me buying them with my food card you would instantly judge me (I'm generalizing by using "you" I understand. You know what I mean though)? And if I want to buy a bottle of wine for dinner and use my own money since it's not covered by food stamps? We cannot have SOME of the finer things because I lost my job by no fault of my own? Screw you.

Really? Working at McDonalds is more respectable than unemployment. How about you lose your job, then we'll talk about this. I am in marketing. I'm a professional writer. Even unemployment says to look for jobs that are suitable for you. I could probably  not survive working at a fast food restaurant.

You see, not everyone using the system is working the system. There are good people out there out of work and it's not that easy to find a job. Would I buy rib eyes with my food card? No. But I might buy a cheaper cut. Lobster? No. But I might want some salmon or shrimp. Every once in awhile of course. Am I to be judged for that? What people buy with their cards are their own business. My money will last a lot longer than people who spend their money on stuff like that.

So before you good Christians go about judging people, why don't you take a walk in their shoes for a little bit. Put yourself in their place. Would you give up your cell phone? Would you not want your kids (and you for that matter) to have treats?  Would you really work in fast food if you were a CEO or basically had any job that was not in fast food? (I'm not dissing fast food workers, I'm just making a point about finding work for people with skill sets in other areas)? Wouldn't you try your best to make things feel as normal as possible?

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