Heather..looking for your opinion

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2004
Heather..looking for your opinion
6
Fri, 10-08-2004 - 6:09pm
Thank you for you welfare posts. I am someone who is guilty of believing that most people who are on welfare could get off of it if they really tried. Your posts put things into a different perspective. That said, I am wondering what your opinion is about how much should actually be taken away from families like mine in order to support those on welfare (I'm not criticizing your posts or opinion in any way, so please don't take it like that).

My husband and I both went to college on ROTC scholarships. We served on active duty after graduating (as commissioned officers) and then both left the active service when we decided it was time to have a family. Because of our military experience, we both were hired into management positions, both with good salaries. I quit my job to stay home after our first child was born. My husband works hard, and has been recognized with promotions and pay increases. Until last year, we both served in the reserves. I resigned my commission after DH was activated. I have a home based business that provides our "fun money".

We live a very good life. Our house is not huge, but it is nice. We live in a safe neighborhood. We both drive safe, reliable cars (DH bought a new truck when he got back from Afghanistan). We always have clean clothes that are in good condition (I mostly shop at Walmart, JCPenney, and Sears). Because we budget, we are able to take vacations, eat out, and do other fun things. Also because we budget, we are able to save a portion of each paycheck for the future. We regularly donate to charities that are important to us, many of them faith-based, right here in our community. We send our two sons to a private Christian preschool. Our daughter receives a host of services from the Early Intervention agency, which our insurance does cover, but it would be at no cost to us if it did not. So that is my life in a nutshell.

My question to you is... how much should the government take out of my life to help those less fortunate? This is not meant to sound snotty; we are not in the top 1% of the country in terms of wealth, but we do fall into one of the higher tax brackets that would probably be targeted for tax increases. I get the impression that people think that the ones who will have their taxes increased are the ones who are insanely rich because they inherited a ton of money and have never worked a day in their lives. Since we don't fall into that category, I'm just wondering if that makes any difference when you talk about who should shoulder the bulk of the responsibility for welfare and programs like it.


Anyone is welcome to throw their two cents in. Heather's post just really got me thinking.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 10-11-2004 - 7:22pm
grr...Lydia I had this beautiful post to you, and lost it. Sadly, I don't have the time to try and recapture it!

I thank you for your service, LBM too, to our country and know that I am so amazed at the offering up of yourselves like that. I am forever grateful to all who have/are/will served in the military.

Some other time when I have time I'll come back and retouch the things I tried to say!

;op

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2004
Mon, 10-11-2004 - 1:45pm
I thought that was a great message.

I was pretty much in the same boat as you. I knew in my heart that if I was activated I wouldn't go (I refused to do a family care plan) and in that mindset, I had no place being in the reserves anymore. I wish there were still things I could do to help out w/o the chance of being activated, but since there's not, I'll just be Mama for now.

Lydia

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2004
Mon, 10-11-2004 - 1:41pm
Heather,

I didn't expect you to have all of the answers. I respected your posts and was interested in your opinion. It's true that we've not had a financial catastrophe. The circumstances around CG's birth did impact us, but did not devastate us.

CG's therapies would all be free, financed by the state, if our insurance did not pay for them, so I do personally know how vital many of these programs are. Reading your posts really did open my eyes to the situation of others in our country. It's easy to be jaded by your own experiences. When I was in the military, there were many enlisted soldiers (not the majority, by any means) who would constantly complain about how much higher the officers' salaries were than theirs. These were also the first soldiers to complain when they didn't get to go home on time (officers are expected to work well beyond 1700, regardless of what personal commitments they have), the first to complain about performing additional duties (most officers have several additional duties in addition to their main job), and the first to complain about missing a meal because the training or meeting or whatever ran long. In short, they wanted officer pay without doing officer work. This is not to start a debate on whether or not enlisted soldiers are payed enough, because they are not. This is a just a personal example to show why I feel like if people would work harder, their lives would be easier. Although this may be true in some cases, it certainly should not paint the picture of everyone who is struggling to get by.

I look at my life, and I know I am blessed. My husband and I work hard to manage our money and grow our wealth, so that (hopefully) we will never be a burden to the system. I feel a sense of obligation to share our blessings, with regards to stewardship of time, talent and treasure. I don't know what the answer is, either, but I thank you for the time it took to respond to my post.

Lydia

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 10-11-2004 - 12:52pm

Thank you for your service to our country.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 10-11-2004 - 12:06pm
Lydia,

No offense taken from your post, I thought you were quite diplomatic and asking relevant questions and I respect that!

To be honest, I don't have all the answers, nor do I think that anyone person in the U.S. does. I'm struggling with what is the right thing in regards to welfares in our country. On the one hand, my dh and I make decent money, not great for our area, but not poor either. We are at 80% of the area median income, and b/c of this were able to qualify for a down payment assistance for the purchase of our first home. Some people may think that this is welfare. I see it as an investment that the local govt makes in helping its community realize the American dream. On that same hand, I've worked with several mentally ill individuals, some who don't have the capacity to work, some who just need vocational rehab to get back to work, who have depended on assisted housing and other welfares (cash assistance, SSI, SSDI) to get by. I do have cases where they have gotten off and gone back to a "normal" life. Some never will...should we just pull the plug on them? Institutionalize folks again? There are some members of my church who've been in the very same situations but b/c we know them people change the stance of where they stand on welfare for their situation, and condemn all the others out there on it. That bothers me. However, on a very different hand, I have experienced cases where families are so dependent on the system, either via learned helplessness or personal laziness, they have no intention of getting any movement off assistance. For what it's worth, cash assistance for families does have a term limit of 5 years total assistance per person (no more "lifers" out there that collect welfare benefits the entire time their children are under age though it doesn't mean people won't try). This type of case is actually what prompted me to leave direct services social work. I now work for the City in the office that manages HUD/City dollars allocated to our community grants program for non-profit agencies and/or affordable housing projects (affordable, not assisted mind you).

Your life does sound great, and like a far cry from so many Americans' right now. This is in part b/c of your responsible actions, but also from what it seems, b/c nothing that has been a financial catastrophy has happened to you. (Now, I don't know if that is true, but from the picture you painted that is the assumption made). Bear in mind I'm not saying your life is *easy* at all, I know from the July board that your youngest was born very preterm, but from what you've shared in a financial sense, it is a smoother ride for you than for most. I agree with you that a democrat is likely to tax you higher as they want to tax anyone higher in general. I've never said that I agree with that. I just have a hard time living in a society where some of the richest individuals are those that are in the entertainment/sports industries. While they provide our society with leisure activities, they are not the ones enriching our lives like a teacher or nurse or even military protect us yet don't make fantastic salaries. I do have issue with the rich corporations getting all these tax breaks when they have the funds available. Sure I know that people argue they are the job developers of our nation, but what about innovative small businesses that get taxed out hte whazoo? Thus continues corporate monopoly in our nation.

I wish that there was a large third party, one that was an actual contender for leadership and not one that takes important votes away from the two powerhouses as is the case right now. I'd like to see such a party tackle the social issues like welfare/taxes, healthcare, education with a balance that neither party has before. I'm not looking for a redistribution of wealth to where we're all the same, but perhaps the obscenely rich might come down into a more "common" lifestyle and we could raise the minimum wage to a living wage (the $5.15/hr that it is right now wouldn't even get you a month's rent in a tiny aprtment here, let alone the other requirements such as food/clothing) so that those in poverty, those who work for their money and still can't make it, those who are afraid to even try working can do so and make it work.

Personally, I've leaned more towards Bush the entire campaign. I don't necessarily like everything about him, but I get a sneaky feeling when Kerry is talking, like we are not getting the whole picture. Personally someone who tapes his conversations in a war 30 yrs before he runs for office for his own personal gain screams to me a character that will manipulate anything so long as it benefits him. Let alone the fact that his Plan has not been discussed nor do we know if it's theory or grounded in hard numbers that will actually work. IT's just these welfare issues that have been tugging at me that have me feeling betwixt. Call me wishy-washy I guess...I see it as having been a thought provoking fall for me.

I've a lot more to say on the matters but it appears I've written a novel already and haven't even been able to answer your question. The one thing I would ask you, is if your insurance didn't cover the early intervention for your daughter it would be available to you free of charge...How do you think they can offer services free of charge? Yeah, the gov't does help there too.

I hold nothing against people in your situation, in fact some day dh and I hope to be there. We've a bundle of debts to pay off and then we'll be there, and we're working on it. Again, in my ideal political world above, that upper-middle-class quality of life wouldn't be changed...it's the filthy rich that I have objection to, especially b/c their wealth (in the celebrity sense) tends to come from an exploitation of their talents/bodies and the fascination we have with them.

So is that clear as mud or what? lol....

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2004
Fri, 10-08-2004 - 9:05pm
Hi!

I'm not Heather, and I don't even have anything close to an answer for you. But this is what I found out yesterday:

Our insurance ran out September 30th. I asked the pharmacist if I could get a better cash price for my son's monthly prescription. Insurance price - $37 a month, new cash price - $10 a month.

I don't believe either candidate can, or will, fix this type of blatant overpricing. This is one of the many reasons that people such as yourselves will be in a higher tax bracket. I imagine the pricing practices are the same with Medicaid and Medicare. And it's also why so many of us simply can't afford health insurance.

Rebecca