I remember hearing through my rushing to get ready in the morning haze, that the President was speaking in Arizona this past week, and that one of the subjects that he was going to touch on was encouraging people to start buying houses again.
Was he kidding with that?
I don't know what his economic advisers are telling him, but the Americans he was reaching out to are so afraid of losing what they have that they dare not take on any other expenses for fear of ending up in bankruptcy court, sorting out the financial wreckage of their lives.
I have nothing against our current President, in fact, he definitely seems like a nice enough cat, but like most people in high political office, he is so far removed from the issues that affect the least of his constituents, that he doesn't realize that trying to encourage people to buy a home, especially right now, is so outlandish it almost borders on farce.
Let me tell you, Mr President, where I, who voted for you twice, stand right now.
I am a 43 year old single mother of a 22 year old son, and a soon to be 11 year old daughter. I live paycheck to paycheck, like so many people in my position. The salary from my low level civil service job is barely able to keep our heads above water, and sometimes not even that. I made the mistake of turning to payday loans to cover critical bills I couldn't pay to keep them from getting disconnected. Of course I got further behind during this process. I believed that learning a trade would allow me to obtain a better job to support my kids, so I did that. Of course we were advised during trade school that a degree would make us even more marketable, and subsequently make us even more money, so I've run myself into almost $50,000 in student loan debt during my various and sundry attempts to get a degree.
Mr. President: do you realize that there is an entire generation of people with destroyed credit from just trying to keep their everyday bills paid? People with extremely low credit scores cannot buy houses, and extremely low credit scores are now the order of the day, since salaries haven't kept up with the cost of living for decades now, and no one who lost a well paid, middle class job has replaced it with anything other than a job making half or less than they were making before. If they found a job at all.
I can't speak for everyone, Mr. President, but I can tell you that surviving this current economy has left me tired.
I am tired of living just above the poverty line although I work a full time, seemingly decent job. I am tired of having to decide exactly which bill to pay, and trying to figure out exactly how long I can wait to pay a bill before it goes to collections, just to ensure that the kids have food. I am tired of finding a semi-decent neighborhood to live in, only to see it gentrify, and find myself priced out of anything even remotely nice-ish. I am tired of the non-stop financial juggling just to end up in the same place I thought I had left.
Financial exhaustion does not make for ideal home buyers, Mr. President.
What it does create, however, is a large population of burned out citizens who wonder where their recovery is in this economy. These are not the wealthy, who were able to contribute large sums of money to either one on your elections, nor are they the much mocked poor, who voted for you hoping that they would finally be rewarded for their efforts to improve themselves with jobs that allowed them to live adequately, if not necessarily well. These people might have been middle class once, but now they are just hanging on.
We are the working class. We are the front line clerical staff, the construction workers, the contractors, the voices on the other end of the phone at the random call center you call when you need to discuss a billing issue, or need technical support. We are barely getting by, holding on to the jobs we have with our fingernails because we know that there may not be another one to replace it. We are taking care of our families to the best of our ability, even to the extent of working multiple jobs, to the detriment of time spent with those same families.
The same families we would be tempted to put in a house, if we could afford to buy one.
Which we can't.
Sorry Mr. President. We can't help you out with this one.