Post Number: 239
|Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 6:33 pm: ||
Tomorrow I will attend another funeral of a woman who worked hard all her life and lived and died in poverty here in this land of plenty.
I met her when we were in our thirties.Children of the 1950s, we were both raised to believe that a woman's highest calling was to be a wife and mother. You pinned tour dreams to a man and hoped that he would take care of you, and in return you would keep house, cook his meals, and raise his children.
Connie,instead of pinning her dreams to a good man, pinned the tail on a jackass. He became an abusive drunk who beat her and left her to raise the two children on her own.
When they moved into our neighborhood, my daughter and her son became fast friends. They'd turn over every stone in the area looking for salamanders, tie ropes to a tree by the river for jumping, build bike jumps and did all the things kids did before video games and computers.
Connie worked long hours trying to make a life for herself and her kids. I was lucky and only had to work part -time, so the kids all spent a lot of time at my house. That was ok, though, they were great kids.
Some people don't have the same ability to learn that others do. College doesn't help if you can't pass the tests or get good grades, so you work in manufacturing.
At some point, factories started closing.Manufacturing was being done elsewhere. Connie tried to hold on as long as she could, but eventually, she was unable to pay her rent, and was evicted. She and the kids moved to another, smaller place, and thus began a slow but steady descent into deep poverty, unrelieved by a succession of temp jobs in factories that all ended up closing, eviction after eviction, relying on help from food pantries.
We kept in touch while the kids were young, and my daughter and her son are still close. The last time I saw her was about seven years ago.
Now she is gone .I had heard she was ill. I wonder how her medical bills will be paid. Her children have asked for donations to help pay for her funeral, but they've barely raised the $300. to pay for her obituary.
Once there was a proud working class in this country. A lot of them worked in manufacturing because they had difficulty with the processes and steps that it takes to become a professional, or they had children to raise and lacked the time or cash to further themselves. Employers valued their workers, and it was quite common for people to work at the same place until they retired.
I guess I am just sad, knowing there are so many good, decent people out there, the salt of the earth, and they end up like Connie and her children. They want to work, and are good workers, but there is nothing left for them.
Out of desperation, some fall prey to get rich quick schemes, while others fall into dealing drugs or other illegal activities to survive. So sad.
Tomorrow I will attend her funeral, and will hand her children an envelope containing what little we can afford to share. You see, my husband lost his job in manufacturing last year, and although he attended classes he was unable to learn some of what he needed to secure work ...computers are something he has great difficulty with.
I never understood this. I thought everyone who wanted to learn something could learn it simply by applying themselves, but watching him struggle has really opened my eyes.
Mark A. Foster
Post Number: 82
|Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 - 2:30 am: ||
Yep, in the U.S., there are a lot more working poor than underclass. People also commonly go back and forth between those two classes.
Post Number: 633
|Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 - 3:09 am: ||
It is sad not just on a personal level but an economic one. The CIA world fact book just released their economic list and the USA is dead last.
This is largely due to our manufacturing sector dwindling. We do not produce anything anymore, so our economy is largely hollow due to this, as well as the fact that we have one of the largest debts in the world. We need to start making things again!
And we need to burst the bubble that says College = getting a career. I and too many of my friends in our late 20s and early 30s have degrees and are intelligent but there are still no jobs out there for us... Nothing unless you count things that earn less than 13 dollars an hour which is not enough to live on even alone.
Observation convinces me that there are beings of intelligence higher than human and that the only chance for mankind to advance as a whole is for individuals to make contact with such Beings.Crowley
Mark A. Foster
Post Number: 85
|Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 - 4:49 pm: ||
The U.S. is actually manufacturing more than that 10 years ago. One of the main problems is that a lot of those jobs are white-collar jobs. Computers and automation have eliminated the need for a lot of blue-collar workers.
A more significant problem, however, is that the U.S. has a much weaker economic safety net (assistance to the poor) than most other industrialized and postindustrialized nations.
Post Number: 2376
|Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 - 11:29 pm: ||
Kathy, I'm really sorry that your friend, Connie, died. She sounds like a really special person....and, because I think I may be able to relate on a similar level, let me tell you that I think Connie was doing what she could because there was a more important issue to her efforts..
Bless Connie, Bless you, bless her children.
Hang in there, kiddo.
Post Number: 240
|Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 2:28 pm: ||
Mark, the jobs are not there for those who really need them. Manufacturing accounted for about 25% of all jobs in the 1970s,now it is down to about 9%.
These people are living in poverty. They don't know about safety nets, or where to turn for help, and many are too proud for "welfare ".
My husband's company was a well known dairy processing plant in the northeast. They were purchased by a larger company, one of the three major dairy businesses in the country. The new company is systematically closing all the union plants that they have purchased, while keeping open the non -union plants and using the name.
Fortunately, my husband qualified for his pension two months before the plant closed, so that was our safety net. It pays the rent on our apartment (we lost our house last year in a flood) and our health insurance. He is looking for work to pay the rest of the bills.
Bean, the funeral yesterday proved how special Connie was. It was standing room only. She had tons of friends that loved her. Towards the end, she had finally found a truly good man that loved her.She once asked him why he wanted to get involved with her since she had cancer, and he replied that it didn't matter, he loved her.
Although it was a sad day, people left the funeral home with smiles on their faces, recounting tales of a woman who just would not give up, no matter what the odds.
Mark A. Foster
Post Number: 88
|Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 7:11 pm: ||
Yes. The growth has been in white-collar jobs. Although manufacturing has increased in recent years, it is mostly automated. The working poor continues to be the fastest-growing social class in the U.S.