I have a confession
I'm a 47%er "welfare queen." Well, I'm not on welfare per se, just food stamps. What's even worse though is - I'm on food stamps for the third time! Talk about a serial moocher! Here's how I've stroked my sense of entitlement.
The first time was during my first marriage - which just happened to coincide with Richard Millstone Nixon's 1973-1975 recession. Now, I'm not going to place all the blame on old Dicky. The fact that my first husband was a lazy-assed mama's boy didn't help matters any. He'd had a good job when I married him, but he managed to get himself fired two months after the wedding. Thankfully we lived in his mama's house because his folks had retired from their union jobs and lived in Florida. Outside of the fireplace we didn't have heat much of the time, but by God we had a roof over our heads!
Actually we were only on food stamps for a couple months because lazy-ass thought the newly required work program was "beneath" him. Besides, it tied up too much of his job-search time. That was a joke, he didn't spend a lot of time looking for a job because there weren't very many, and the gas crises kept the car parked much of the time anyway.
Oh, were you surprised that the Work for Welfare program pre-dated Clinton? Well, yeah, it's been around for a long time.
Anyway we got kicked off the program and subsisted on lazy-ass's hunting skills. Proud to say I have fifteen recipes each for squirrel and rabbit. I've kept them all these years just in case the Republicans eventually achieve their ultimate goal. If that happens I'll post them here before I lose net service. Don't worry they're for both conventional and open-pit style prep… just in case (I've learned to think of everything).
After three years of hearing "no wife of mine is going to support me!" I told him somebody obviously had to and reentered the workforce. Stayed there for the next twenty years. I dumped lazy-ass the next year.
My second Gummint-Moocher foray was in 1994, during the logical conclusion of Reagan/Reagan/Bush the Slightly Classier's 12-year trickle down mugging. Truthfully that one takes a lot of 'splaining, so I'll just hit the high points.
In 1994, my second husband and I had been self-employed for eight years in an aviation parts business. It was an industry we'd both worked in for years for pretty low pay and we thought we could do better on our own.
Those of you who are old enough will recall that the first thing St. Ronald did upon achieving his Oval Office was fire the striking PATCO employees. This was a harbinger's call regarding Republican sentiments toward unions in general, and the aviation industry in specific.
An industry rife with evil, 'Murrikan destroying UNIONS, aviation as we knew it must be driven to its knees and opened up for good, bootstrap jerking red, white and blue innovators! Okay, that was another joke. Reagan just wanted to bust the union. Oh, and do his corporate cronies a big old favor in the process. That's where I, and my basic moocher instincts, came into play again.
It all came down to the practices of the corporate parts manufacturers in preceding decades. They'd originally set up distributorships years before, and they'd required their distributors to take X amount of their product line - usually 1 each of everything they made. Simply put, there are certain parts on your basic airplane that don't tend to break down very often. This meant that these distributors would have the same part they took in their initial deal STILL sitting on the shelf fifteen/twenty years later. In time, they'd want to get rid of this stuff to reduce their inventory taxes. This gave rise to a thriving surplus parts market. That's what we primarily dealt in - old, but never used, surplus inventories.
For whatever reason the big boys decided this was putting an awful dent in their bottom lines. "Some people" were buying old conooter valves they'd produced and flooded the market with years ago for a fraction of the price of their brand new conooter valves! It was so distressing to them that it took several years to figure a way to put a stop to it.
Enter the US Military. A helicopter went down somewhere and, when the inspectors began inspecting, they made the damndest discovery. The blades had the name of a major manufacturer on them… but it turned out that manufacturer hadn't really manufactured those blades at all! Those blades were counterfeit! They'd come from… get ready for it CHINA!
Whether that story was true or not is still being discussed, but it was enough of an opening to give the big parts manufacturers what they needed to shut down surplus parts businesses. Daddy Bush happily rubber stamped the requirement that ALL surplus aviation components, sold as never used OEM parts, be accompanied by the original receipt to verify where they'd come from.
Well, seeing as most businesses aren't in the habit of revealing their cost to a customer, you can see one problem right off. The larger problem was that those original receipts had been long gone for years. The result, or should I say the desired result, kicked in almost immediately. Absent the receipts needed to verify their stock, small surplus parts suppliers began laying off their employees, auctioning off their inventories and shutting their doors. By 1994, most of the places my husband and I had done business with were gone and there weren't enough private aircraft owners to fill the void. The original receipt thing only applied to parts sold in the good old USA, so we liquidated our small inventory to a religious organization with overseas missions.
We applied for food stamps in May of 1994. Since we didn't qualify for actual welfare, and food stamps may buy food but won't pay for lights and heat and all those entitlements I was used to, my husband beat the crap out of the local bushes and found a job by August. So I suckled the gummint tit for four months that time.
Throughout the Clinton years, things were outstanding. For the first time in my adult life there was money that wasn't already spent. We even managed to put together a small annuity fund for our retirement. Guess what happened to that in 2008.
Now this latest episode is another really long story, and it's of a highly personal nature. So forgive me for being stingy the details. The gist of it is, my husband developed some personal problems about ten years ago and in 2008 they came to a head. He walked away from our 31-year marriage in 2010.
I was 60 years old and lived in a high unemployment area of Ohio. The employment climate didn't really matter though because nobody hires 60-year-old woman anyway. He'd all but depleted our bank account. What was left in the retirement accounts went with him, were cashed in early, and has all been spent. I was left with about $8,000. In our property division agreement I accepted our aging pick-up truck only because it had a recently replaced engine, transmission and carburetor with less than 3000 miles on them. The following summer a broken fuel pump on that truck went un-repaired. The mechanic said he wouldn't feel right fixing it because it would be a waste of my money. The frame was so badly rusted it was hazardous for me to drive. It's been parked ever since.
Last August I applied for food stamps for the third time in my life. As I said in the beginning I'm not actually on welfare because I'm not qualified. I'm not 65, my back problems have never been deemed a disability, and I don't have dependant children. So I can't sit on my lazy entitled ass while Obama "just sends a welfare check."
Also last August I discovered the local senior center has a transportation program, subsidized by the state - WOAH! A MOOCHER'S TWOFER! I rely on that to take me shopping twice a month. I'd go more often but each trip costs $4 and I have to watch my money.
Unless I miss my guess I'll probably stay on food stamps this time. I'll be 62 next spring and eligible for "early retirement." Social Security will be less than $500 a month because I'm taking it early, but at least it's there. My generation didn't honestly believe it would be. I have a plan for a home-based business to supplement that, but I've been waiting to see how this election goes before committing to a structure for it. I won't be eligible for Medicare, and I'm not eligible for Medicaid for another three years. So I sure hope nothing goes wrong on that front.
This diary started out as a comment, but it grew legs - sue me. I'm not crying in my beer. Who the hell can afford beer? I'm actually better off than many and that's by design. Reagan scared the shit out of me and I took steps starting in 1987 to stay out of the fallout as best I could. We sold the house in 1992 and bought a place we could pay for in full. It's remained paid for ever since. So I have a roof over my head, and I don't have many expenses. That's how I've managed to hang in there on that pittance I was left with.
No, this diary grew because I started thinking about how I came to be where I am. I've always known what the lion's share of the reason was: Nixon, six years. Gerry Ford, almost three years. Reagan eight years. Bush I four years, Bush II eight years. Twenty-nine out of the last forty years I've been pummeled by the right-wing wet dream.
I worked my ass off and I played the games and I've tried to think ten steps ahead of where they wanted to herd me. Now, something came flying out of left field and I'm too old to bat it away like I used to. I needed a hand, and I accepted the only one on offer.
Now I get some over-privileged bastard who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth suggesting I'm a slob with a sense of entitlement. Assholes who couldn't have kept up with me on their best days say I'm a parasite.
And they still aren't satisfied with their rapine and plunder.