Are We in the 47 Percent?

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I normally ignore politics.  I followed the Obama campaign four years ago because I thought he would be good for America, but ever since then, my following has been just about non-existant.  Well, until the last couple weeks that is.

Dave and I have been working on a couple (BIG) projects and in effort to get our name out I’ve been working on developing a presence in social media.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, we’re on them all.  Twitter has been my primary concentration, however, because I’m realizing that in order to build a presence over there, you have to be consistently active.  As such, Twitter has become my news source.

Although not always the most reliable source for the latest news story, I was looking through the posts of those I follow when the video of Romney and his 47 Percent leaked.  Having just come back from laughing my butt off when hearing his interpretation of “middle class” income, my jaw dropped.  I HAD to watch the video.

In case you missed it, you can either click above or read what he said:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Again, my jaw dropped.

When I left my ex-husband, I was unemployed.  Feeling it was necessary to get my sons and I into a safer environment, I looked to the state for public assistance.  Did I expect help?  No.  But I was EXTREMELY appreciative when I received it.

In order to qualify for Ohio’s Cash Assistance program, I needed to be actively looking for a job or be employed.  Let me preface this by saying that it was not my choice to be unemployed.  I am a college graduate with my bachelor’s in interior architecture.  I am an artist, or at least I would like to believe I am.  Two years prior to leaving my ex I lost my job.  While I tried to secure another job in the industry, finding an interior design job in the midwest was, and still is, like finding a needle in a haystack.  I applied at gas stations, fast food restaurants and local stores.  For TWO years I applied to all of these places just so I could contribute to my household.  The response I got was always somewhere along the line of, “You’re overqualified,” or “We don’t want to put time into training you when you’re just going to move on to something better.”

Finding a job after moving out turned out to be a whole lot of luck.  I was in the right place at the right time with the right person, when I secured my first job in more than two years.  But I didn’t get a job because somebody was telling me to.  I was doing it because that’s what I needed to do for the boys and I.  I didn’t believe anybody owed my a job.  I simply hoped somebody would give me a chance.

Every Friday morning, recipients of the cash assistance program were required (I’m not receiving the assistance anymore so I don’t know if it’s still the same) to attend an open interview session at our local job office.  Upon hearing about this I was excited.  I thought it would be my chance to get a job.  I was wrong.  Walking into the office, I was visably one of the very few attendees who cared about getting a job and getting off the program.  First, I had bathed.  My hair and teeth were brushed.  And I had worn a suit.  Looking around, I was surrounded by unkempt people wearing pajamas and sweat pants who looked as though they hadn’t showered all week.  I was flabbergasted.

But it got worse.  The employers, knowing this is how people were approaching the mandatory open interviews, had stopped attending.  There was ONE employer there, a gas station, and they were looking for somebody to work third shift.  As badly as I needed a job, I couldn’t work third shift with the boys.

I’m digressing, so I’ll get back to my point…

I work full-time now and Dave is in college full-time.  The cash assistance and food stamps are long expired, and yes, we struggle.  But no, we don’t believe the government “owes” us.  I don’t EXPECT them to give me housing, healthcare and education.  I didn’t even apply for housing assistance when I left my ex.  What I do expect, however, is that all Americans be given the same opportunities for equal care.

I have been employed by the same company for the last 17 months and have been a great employee.  I get my job done and don’t create drama at the office.  I get paid every week and pay for health insurance out of my paycheck.  I repeat, I pay for health insurance.  With that said, paying for health insurance doesn’t provide me with the same benefits as somebody receiving public assistance.  Example: Dave and I found out we miscarried earlier this year and I had a D&C shortly thereafter.  A month later the bill came in the mail.  We owed $8500.  Out of the $9000 bill, our insurance had covered approximately $500.  Does this sound right to you?

When I had the boys 7 and 10 years ago, the entire pre- and post- natal bills for each boy equaled $500.  This included monthly-turned-weekly check-ups as well as delivery and the hospital stay.  For the youngest, it also included an extra week in the hospital for me when he tried to come two months early.

Following our miscarriage earlier this year, Dave and I had two more (miscarriages).  During the third pregnancy, I found out that women who met specific (low) income guidelines could apply for pregnancy health care through the state.  While I didn’t want to apply, I did.  With a bill of $8500 from an out-patient procedure, it scared us to think what the labor and delivery would cost.  Would we be shelling out the cost of a full-year college tuition to welcome this miracle into our life?  Bah!  When I started miscarrying the third time, however, the fear of cost played into my health decisions.  I went through three days of excrutiating pain and dizziness before finally going to the ER.  That bill has yet to come, and I’m sure it’s not going to be pretty.

I can’t say who I’m going to vote for, however I can say that I don’t like being generalized.  Dave and I DO take personal accountability and responsibility for our lives.  Can we always pay the bills we have?  No.  But we’re not applying for assistance we don’t need.

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