Thursday, October 16, 2008

Slaughtering the American Dream

Several years ago, when my husband got injured on the job, the money stopped.

Poof - just like that - no paycheck, no income, not even unemployment benefits or worker's compensation... nothing. It was a soft tissue injury - next to impossible to file claims for benefits - and impossible to do the job he had done for 22 years.

I couldn't go to work... even if I had wanted to do so. We were still waiting on the long slow process of getting my permanent residence card. (In all, that took us 6 years. Long story.)

My husband had "made too much money" the previous year for us to qualify for any assistance.

So... there we were.

It wasn't too long before what little savings we had dried up. And in no time at all beyond that when the creditors began calling. And very soon after that when we couldn't afford to put gas in our tank to heat our home, heat our water, run our stove...

A dear friend helped us with 4 mortgage payments.

A close relative helped with 1 more.

Have you ever tried to cook spaghetti on a campfire in your backyard?

A little tip for you... you'll need a LOT of wood to keep the flame hot enough to keep the water boiling.

Six months, the coldest spring in years, we went without heat. We had a 2-1/2 year old child as well... and heating water for his baths became quite a trick. I'll leave it up to your imagination.

There is a saying that goes like this:
"Necessity is the mother of invention."

Without my residence card, I might not be able to work as an employee, but I could write... and I had a great deal of experience on the Internet. So, out of necessity, I began my Internet writing career... our first online business began.

The first year, we made less than half what is considered "poverty" by Government standards. Less than $13K for an entire year -- for a family of three.

Working 12-, 13-, 14-... up to 18-hour days, the second year brought in $60K -- but a mountain of debt hanging over our head sucked that up right quick. More long days -- 7 days a week -- night and day -- day and night... and the following year was our first 6-figure income year.

It was a time for celebration.

Then the tax bill came.

We're still paying that one off... it's a long process.

But we did it. We didn't declare bankruptcy. We didn't walk out on our mortgage. We didn't walk out on our debts. In fact, here we are, 6 years later, and we've finally managed to pay off the last of the largest (and highest interest) credit card debt.

It was a long struggle, doing what most people will not do. We lived on a budget so tight that even a pack of hot dogs was a luxury.

Cell phone?

Forget it... one more bill we were not willing to add our month.

A couple old computers, a cheap dial up connection, and a huge dose of dogged determination.

Those were the days, and not so long ago...

Flash forward to today. My husband is back at work doing the job he loves. Plus I'm still working on the business. Plus, just last month, I've expanded into joint venture ownership of 3 more businesses based online with partners on the East Coast... and with the economy in shreds, it's actually looking really good for us next year. I had even had plans to add 3 to 5 new work-at-home employees next year.

It's the American Dream.

The rags to riches story.

It's our story.

We lived it.

We suffered.

We struggled.

We sacrificed.

Yes, we even starved for a bit.

No Government handouts. Very little help from family and friends... a drop in a very large bucket if you would have seen the load we were under back then.

And Obama thinks that people like me should "share the wealth" with others who are not willing to make the kind of sacrifices I and my family had to make to survive ...and at long last... finally thrive?

He's like a vulture circling high over our heads...

We're just finally getting out from under a mountain of debt.

We're just now finally paying off that first whopping tax bill.

We're finally starting to breathe easier, even thinking of adding carpeting to our bare floors and finish remodelling the kitchen that has had to remain half torn apart prior to my husband's injury more than 6 years ago.

So now you know...

You know why the recent bailouts have angered my husband and I so much -- why Obama's plan actually makes me physically ill at the thought -- snatching our success away, the rewards for hard work, negating all the sacrifices we made to finally reach this point ...stealing our American Dream to give it to so many others that I know for a FACT would NEVER EVER go through the sacrifices my family and I had to struggle through.

Imagine that.

Based on polls I'm seeing, he'll be your next President.

Imagine that.

No more rags to riches stories for America.

No sirree... just households all across America lining up with their hands held out, waiting for their Government handouts.

Imagine that.

Work hard to succeed?

Well, maybe if you're a so-called non-profit like A.C.O.R.N. where you fall under far different tax laws.

Oh, and let's throw even more money into education and pay for all those who want a College or University education they can graduate and work for...?

I had to struggle, paying for my education as I worked two full time jobs, taking a course here and there as I could afford it. I have no "degree" or fancy certificate -- but I do have a business built from scratch out of need and a strong desire to face down our challenges.

And because we were willing to sacrifice.

Imagine that.

You think the financial picture is grim when you look at the Stock Market?

Check this out.

No less than 10 states are facing insolvency for unemployment benefits in 2009.

Indiana is one of those 10 States... here's a few others.

"California, New York, Ohio and Michigan are among populous states projected to deplete their unemployment insurance funds this year or in 2009 to cover the cost of benefits." [link]

"Michigan, which has the country's highest unemployment rate, at 8.1 percent, is already borrowing from the federal government, even though it is not in the red just yet, according to a spokesman." [link]

But here is the rub...

"The federal government is required to loan states money when their trust funds run short. In the short term, bailouts increase the federal deficit. In the long term, businesses pay higher unemployment insurance taxes to replenish the trust funds." [link]

Imagine that.

So, under Obama's health plan, how many businesses are thinking about hiring new employees next year? Under Obama's tax plan, how many will expand their businesses next year? And under Obama's plan to extend Unemployment benefits, how many new businesses will be eagerly starting up next year?

Restore confidence? Indeed.

Inspire economic growth? Puh-leeease!

And then he stands there and says we all will have to tighten our belts a bit.

The ultimate slap in the face.

Imagine that.

Spending is furiously out of control at the Federal level. Wealth is being redistributed every day... ...but who are the recipients?

Here's another little newsflash for you.

"On Monday, I said that the total cost of this bailout could scale up to $3 trillion -- I just didn't imagine it would happen by Wednesday. We learned yesterday that the size of the bailout just tripled, from $750b to $3T." [link]

All that to get credit into the hands of conumers, to build even more debt on top of debt on top of debt....

Imagine that.

Take it from one who has been there -- debt is no fun.

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