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  • Click to view Wyldfae's profile
    Posted December 23, 2011 by
    Chantilly, Virginia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What does $40 mean to you?

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    Grateful for every dollar

    My husband currently has a federal job, which we wonder every day if Congress will decide that he will not get to keep. He has been out of work twice since he retired from nearly 30 years of active military duty. The first time was for 4 months. The second was for 6 months. Both times his position was downsized for financial reasons brought about by the worsening economy.

    The second time we were terrified of losing our very first home, which we had bought less than a year before he lost his job. We used up our savings staying afloat. Now, we are grateful for every month he has a job, and every dollar he earns.

    His commute is nearly 4 hours both ways. $40 a paycheck would buy two very necessary tanks of gas. But the meaning of the money goes beyond that simple need.

    When you have experienced the fear and gradual loss of hope that comes from being without work, it does something awful to the human spirit. The days and months of tweaking resumes, searching for positions, making calls, and sending in applications, only to have NOTHING happen because 280 other desperate people have applied for the same jobs. When you watch every dime, and wonder if the day will come when you will have to leave your home. When you WANT to work, and can't find a job that will pay your mortgage and still provide for the other needs of your family. After this has happened to you, EVERY dollar becomes important. EVERY dollar stands between you and the loss of that sense of security and peace that you once had, and are afraid that you will never have again. How is it America has come to this point?

    This payroll tax cut is important to a lot of struggling Americans. But I would personally be willing to give it up to avoid giving the Republicans any of what they have demanded in return. Everyone is focused on whether or not we get it. Nobody is paying attention to what it cost. Even the current version is connected to smoothing the path for a pipeline that may devastate our waterways and increase our carbon footprint. And they are paying for this by increasing the fees for Americans who qualify for federally backed mortgage loans (like us, the military). Rather than tax the rich, they will once again take from lower income citizens. Our housing market is bad enough, raising fees will help how?

    How much more can we give? How long will this rape of the middle class continue? How can the GOP look at the cameras every day and claim to stand for the people of this country? I am outraged, discouraged, and I have never felt so helpless as an American.

    Where has my country gone?
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