Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Keepin’ your head above water, making a wave when you can

A few years ago, following a full-blown crisis in my journalism career, I had to live off unemployment benefits for a little more than six months.

It wasn't much money. If I remember correctly, it was $632 every two weeks. But I was grateful for that steady paycheck while I sorted through the rubble and tried to find something meaningful to do with myself.

In the end, my benefits ran out the week before I started a new job in Louisiana. By that time, I had burned through all of my savings. All of it and then some. Had the money run out any earlier, it would have been really tough.

But I was never in danger of losing my apartment or missing a meal. My parents wouldn't have had it any other way.

So as far as unemployment goes, mine was a best-case scenario. I was young, single, childless, college-educated and buffered from epic fail by my family. Not everyone is so lucky.

In recent months, two of my good friends - each married with two young children and a mortgage - have found themselves out of a job. Both are college-educated, both have done well in their respective professions and neither have a criminal record.

But things happen, you know?

And it's useful to remember this when the clowns - we know who they are - are spouting off about losers wasting taxpayer dollars or launching into a rant about "entitlements." There are real people with real problems out there who need this money, no matter the political posturing of Southern GOP Govs. Jindal, Barbour and Sanford.

You never know. It might happen to you.

h/t TNC


Jack T. said...

Gov. Sanford promised to pray for those who lost jobs, so that's something, right?

I liked the point Sen. Schumer made on MSNBC today. He basically said that this big stand that the three southern governors (all in contention for the right to lose the republican presidential nomination to Sarah Palin) are taking amounts to a very small part of the money they're getting. Louisiana is still getting a lot of freakin' money. Bobby, quit frontin' on that last 2% of the money.

Clown shoes. All of them. And in 2010 if they get smacked into irrelevance, it will be moments like this that will be the cause.

Anonymous said...

wow. great of you to share your story. and it kills me when that happens to ordinary, good, working ppl who don't deserve it. not that anyone does, but unemployment aint jack if you have real expenses and mouths to feed. yikes.

Librachick said...

I meant to comment on your last post about this, blackink, but AMEN!

And AMEN to Jack T. too!

I'm telling you, this is one of those times that makes me so embarrassed to be from the South, much less a Louisianan. I think it's disgusting that governors like Jindal are willing to sacrifice the welfare of their constituents for political posturing in such a critical time like this. I swear... Makes me wanna pack my bags and just run up outta here... And they wonder why they can't solve the brain drain in this state...(*sigh* rant over)

blackink said...

@Jack T: Amen. Gov. Sanford was pathetic. And I love Schumer for calling Jindal out on that. The stimulus isn't an a la carte deal.

@Cami: Much thanks. Yeah, it's gotta be scary out there for thousands of folks. My friends will do alright, I'm sure. But for folks with less-promising prospects, they're going to need more than Jindal and Sanford's brand of "compassionate conservatism."

@Librachick: Lol. Don't leave. There's still lots to love about your home state. And Jindal won't be around forever. You could help change the tide, dig?