I applied for food stamps today.

I never thought this day would come. Every time I’ve been down to just a handful of pennies in my piggy bank, or opened a letter saying that my bank account was overdrawn once again, or had to explain to a landlord that my rent was going to be late, I never imagined it would come to this.

I had to apply for food stamps today.

My husband isn’t working right now. He left an OK job for a great job, one that paid double what he had been earning, and after 3 weeks they informed him that because of an old repossession in his credit report, he was no longer employed. He travelled to Illinois for that job, leaving me here with no transportation and no one to depend on to get me to work. It was alright, though. Once he was bringing in the big money, it would all be OK. We’d pay all the bills up and start saving.

He’s been looking for a job for a month now. He’s filled out countless applications and made endless phone calls. There have been no reasonable offers, and each lead quickly becomes a dead end. He’s trying, doing everything he can to get a job, but it just isn’t working. We’ve missed rent twice so far, and 3 car payments. I only make minimum wage, and even with 40 hours a week, I can’t pay half the bills on my own.

We are on the verge of being homeless. The landlord has already threatened eviction, and I don’t know what I’ll do if we get kicked out of our house. We have no family or friends to stay with nearby, and it will cost us at least $2000 to move back to Illinois.

There isn’t much left for us to do. My husband is still owed for the 3 weeks he worked in Illinois, but we don’t know when that check will come. I will go tomorrow to see if I can find a factory job in addition to the job I have now.

I hate that I need help. That we need help. I want to be the one who gives to the less fortunate, not the one who needs assistance. I work hard, but I still can’t pay the bills. My husband is eager to go back to work, but there just aren’t any opportunities.

We applied for food stamps today.

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I’d run for president, but there’s a sex tape…

I just learned about FDR’s proposed Second Bill of Rights today. I can’t help but wonder how different things would be right now if these rights had been enacted. I’ve listed them below, along with my own thoughts on how to enact these rights.

FDR’s Second Bill of Rights

Proposed in 1944, FDR suggested adding this second bill of rights to the US Constitution because the current bill of rights was inadequate to assure that the pursuit of happiness was possible for all Americans.*

* Employment, with a living wage,
* Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies,
* Housing,
* Medical care,
* Education, and,
* Social security

Many of these rights were implemented throughout Europe and Japan during their rebuilding and restructuring following WWII. **

FDR died before he could implement this second bill of rights in America. We need these rights now more than ever as the top 1% of the population is taking more of America’s wealth while the bottom 95% continues to suffer more and more each day.

Here are my ideas for making these rights available to every American citizen:

1. Employment with a living wage

Provide tax incentives for employers to increase their employees’ wages. Enact a plan to increase wages yearly, and reward employers who create more jobs. Set a minimum increase amount and punish those who don’t meet that minimum within a specified amount of time.

2. Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies

Encourage companies to lower the prices of their products while increasing employee wages. I would like to see profits lowered by 50% (if a product makes $1 for every unit sold, they would now make $.50 per unit.) and employee wages increased by at least 10%. Lower prices would mean more sales, and soon the difference in profits would even out. Initially, this would be hard to enact, but in the long run, it’s good for everyone.

I also wonder if it would be possible to put a cap on profits. For example, a company couldn’t make more than $5 million per year in profits. Anything above that must be paid to employees or in taxes. This would also be hard to enact, and I’m not sure it would be upheld in the Supreme Court. However, if this were possible, it would ensure that all employees are paid very good wages based on their work and that the extremely wealthy would pay a substantial amount of taxes rather than continue to get richer. There would have to be regulations in place to make sure that these extra profits are going to ALL employees, not just top board members and CEOs.

3. Housing

Stop the foreclosure crisis. Punish banks who have taken part in unfair lending practices. Let people who bought their homes with subprime mortgages refinance at fair, affordable rates. Many of these foreclosed properties are sitting empty– they should be occupied by the families who want their homes back, and these people should be given assistance as needed to afford their homes. This is by no means a “free ride”– homes should be bought and sold for what they are worth, and people should pay what they can afford. With guaranteed jobs and decent wages, people should only need assistance in paying for their homes for a few months. After that, they should be able to make their mortgage payments on their own.

4. Education

Education is good for America as a whole, not just the individuals who obtain it. Keep Head Start programs alive– give kids an early start to a great education. Make sure teachers are paid decent wages, and that schools are funded well enough to ensure reasonable class sizes, availability of supplies, and progressive programs. Make sure all students have access to extra help when necessary and programs that will help them graduate high school and move on to higher education.

Set a cap on college tuition for both public and private schools. Make sure education is affordable for everyone, and help those who need financial assistance. Students shouldn’t be graduating with $100,000+ in student loan debt. Offer programs to pay for all or a portion of college tuition to any person who wants to obtain higher education. These programs should be equal across the board– students should be offered the same amount of assistance for public vs. private universities based on their parents’ income. For adults who would like to go back to school, offer tax incentives for their workplaces to help pay for it.

5. Health Care

Sickness should not be a for-profit phenomena. Why are hospitals getting rich off people’s suffering? I think hospitals should at least be regulated by the government, if not owned by it. Tax dollars should cover the care any American citizen needs, and we should be trying our best to come up with new ways to cure and treat illnesses. Life or death shouldn’t be dependent on income, and no one should make a profit from someone’s poor health. Doctors and nurses should still be paid fair wages based on their work. Hospital CEOs and board members shouldn’t be getting rich, and the doctors and nurses who save lives and care for the sick every day should be able to pay all their bills and make a decent living.

6. Social Security

This is hugely important now as baby boomers reach retirement age and the companies they worked for are going bankrupt. All elderly people should be assured financial security as they age and are unable to work any longer. Personally, I’d like to see Social Security phased out and replaced with personal retirement savings and investment. However, there will still be people who, for one reason or another, need the guarantee of a paycheck after they retire. Social Security should remain available to those who need it, but retirement savings programs should be encouraged. Guarantee that even if a company goes under, their long-time employees will still be paid their full retirement benefits. Never let company pension funds be used for anything other than paying retired employees.

These all seem like utopian ideals that will never be accepted in today’s society. However, as the middle class continues to dwindle, we need the assurances this second bill of rights would provide. I know many people who feel that the government is already too involved in everything– I agree, but I feel that they’re too involved in the wrong areas. I’d like to see the government become more involved in regulating industry and making sure that huge companies aren’t getting rich off their underpaid employees’ backs. I’d also like to see the government create more jobs. After all, there are millions of people looking for work and lots of projects that need to be completed all over the country. Also, if these rights were enacted, we would need more government officials to make sure that these policies were being followed. Severe penalties should be enforced for any official or company who breaks the rules.

We can’t let the wealthy continue to control our country. Without a middle class, America will become a third-world country with most of its citizens living on the streets while only a small percentage of the very rich control everything. How is it that we’ve accepted that CEOs are making multi-millions every year while a teacher can’t afford to buy a home? When did it become ok for public service workers to lose their jobs while giant corporations are able to avoid paying taxes? This isn’t right, and we only have one defense: our voice.

While it may seem like the top 1% of America’s citizens have all the power, it isn’t true. Remember, we have 99% of the votes in this country. We can elect officials who will help make sure that every American citizen has the right to pursue happiness. We have the power to call our senators and tell them what we want. We are able to go to our state capitals and demand that our voices be heard.

Each day, more and more Americans are finding their voices. We’re seeing how unjust our current financial situation is, and we’re getting more and more angry. Profit has become more important than ethics, and that’s not right. It’s time to get pissed off and fight for change.

*wikipedia.org
** Capitalism: A Love Story (documentary by Michael Moore)


I don’t think that’s what Darwin meant by “survival of the fittest…”

I tend to shy away from politics. I love my rights, I love freedom, and I love government funded rest stops on long trips. What I don’t love is the generally jackassery that abounds in political situations and conversations.

However, so much has been going on this week that even I can no longer avoid it. And you know what? I’m mad.

Let’s go back to a vote not so long ago… Bush’s tax cuts for the rich were set to expire, and those who make more than $250,000 a year were terrified that they were going to have to start paying taxes on all that money. A consensus couldn’t be reached, because so many politicians pockets have been lined with some of this tax-free money. The cuts were extended even though all the extra tax revenue could have made a huge difference in the national budget.

The middle class? We still have to pay in the same amount of taxes on every dime we make. And if we get lucky and win the lottery or something like that? We have to give a huge chunk of our winnings to the government.

The poor stay poor, and the rich stay rich.

What about the idea of trickle-down economics? I see one huge problem with this utopian ideal… Rich people aren’t rich because they pay their employees incredible wages or spend their money frivolously, buying a new car every 6 months to keep the factories in Detroit running strong. They’re rich because they hold onto their money. This isn’t a bad thing– not at all. As long as these business owners are paying their employees fair wages, I don’t care what they do with their profits. The problem is that the rich have been given breaks because their money will “trickle down” to the lower classes.

Who ever thought that made sense?

Money isn’t what I came here to rant about, though. Oh no. There are much more important issues at hand.

Let’s talk about what Republicans are trying to do to women.

Read this list of 10 things they’re doing that will directly affect women’s health… and rights.

All caught up?

Good.

The item on that list that bothers me the most is the very real threat of all federal funding being cut from Planned Parenthood. I’ll let you know up front that I am against abortion… I would never have one, and even in a situation where I might die if the pregnancy wasn’t terminated, doctors and my husband would have to force me into letting them take my unborn child. However, I believe that abortion is a necessary evil.

Here’s the thing, though. Planned Parenthood isn’t just a place for a quick end to a mistake that could make a childless couple happy.

Let me reiterate: THIS ISN’T ABOUT ABORTION.

They provide health services to low-income women and children. I’d rather see my tax dollars pay for a woman to get birth control instead of welfare because she had a child she couldn’t afford. They also offer STD testing and free condoms. They offer mammograms, pelvic exams, and a wide variety of other services that keep women healthy.

They also offer vasectomies. There ya go, boys– if you can’t afford to help raise a child or just don’t want the responsibilities of being a father, you have a place where you can get a vasectomy for little or no money.

I wonder if all the politicians who are pushing this funding cut for Planned Parenthood have even considered the long-term ramifications of their decision. Think of all the low-income women who will no longer be able to get birth control because they can’t afford it, and who will inevitably have children they can’t afford. Welfare and food stamps will be provided to them for an astronomical sum of money for years. All they needed was the birth control that Planned Parenthood could provide when they had federal funding to keep from having a child they can’t afford. How much is that every year? $500? $1000? What about a tubal ligation? Now think about how much these women will get on average every month through federal assistance programs.

These women can’t afford to get cancer, either. With the early detection that a screening at Planned Parenthood could have provided, a cancerous lump could have been removed before it did any damage. But no, because this woman couldn’t afford the expensive test she needed, she waited until she could no longer ignore her symptoms and now the cancer has spread and it will take multiple rounds of chemo, surgeries, and a host of expensive drugs to save her life. Hopefully her benefit at the local bar goes well…

And guys? What about you? You know that girls lie, and that one of the easiest ways to get trapped in a relationship with someone you don’t really care about is for her to get knocked up. Maybe you already fell for that once or twice, and you’re already giving half your paycheck to your ex to pay for your kids. You don’t want any more babies, but you don’t exactly have the extra money to do anything about it. You could have gone to Planned Parenthood for a vasectomy… but nooooo, without federal funding, they have to charge you almost as much as you would pay at any other doctor’s office. Let’s hope the condom doesn’t break…

Talk of a government shutdown is in the air. I don’t think it will go that far… I hope some of these politicians will get their heads out of their asses and look past ONE ISSUE that has no bearing on the real issue whatsoever. Every person in America should have access to basic health care, whether it’s through federally-funded clinics or government-run healthcare. Life or death shouldn’t be a matter of rich or poor… Everyone has the right to live a healthy life.

This is Darwinism at its very worst. It’s no longer survival of the fittest, it’s survival of the richest. And that’s sickening.

If you’re as pissed off about all this as I am, click here to sign a petition demanding that Republicans stop the war on women.

*I’m sorry if my facts are skewed at all… I learned them from various articles I’ve read throughout the week, and I don’t have the sources handy. I’m just really angry that the government is trying to take away something that is so essential to women’s health…