Monday, July 30, 2007

Crunch Time

There is a woman who receives a paycheck each month that's around $3000 dollars. To be fair, though, she probably only takes home about $2000.

She has a 14-year old daughter and they rent in a decent house that has two bedrooms and one bathroom.

She drives a crappy car that constantly surprises her when it makes it across town each morning and afternoon.

She gives herself a fixed amount she can spend on each of her credit cards each month. She has four regular credit cards. She also has a SEARS card, a Mervyn's card, and many other store specific credit-type cards. She figures that the existing limit on those are so low that she doesn't set a fixed limit.

Earlier this month, she went to a family reunion in the Midwest. To fly herself and her daughter, she took out a loan. It was a small loan, only around $1500.

And so I do the math.

$2000 a month.
Minus $100 a month for TV. (Comcast Digital)
Minus $80 a month for phone and internet. (AT&T)
Minus $130 a month for electricity and gas. (I tripled an approximate average of what I pay each month based on the whole year.)
Minus $500 a month for food. (I hope that's over kill.)
Minus $200 a month for gas. (Probably too little.)
Minus $0 for rent. (Somewhere along the line, probably before she started working for the state, she applied to the county for help paying her rent and they still help. They'll pay up to $1200 a month. So, she doesn't actually pay any rent where she currently lives. Nor will she be paying rent at the place she's moving to next month.)
That leaves $990 to send in payments to credit cards, any loans, and any other needs that she or her daughter may have (like new shoes or new tires or a new potted plant or save some of it).
And by the end of the month, she had no money left. (Or, as she usually says at the end of each month, "$6 in my account.")

Why am bringing this up?

Because we, as in my bargaining unit in the union, are not getting our raise this month like we are supposed to because this state has once again not approved a budget on time.

The good news is that we're getting paid. In years past, people have just been told to go home and they'd be called when they could come back.

Now, I can live without the pay increase. Any extra on my paycheck was going to be a little more going toward paying my student loans off. I'd rather have it now, though, so it would be doing some good now rather than getting retroactive payment whenever the budget is actually approved. (I hope it is approved before they start sending us home or asking us to work without pay.)

I check almost every day to see if there's any news about and today, I came across a column from the Sacramento Bee website that talks about how California's late budget, since it's only four weeks late now, hasn't really affected anyone, yet. It also suggests that the state work on the problems underlying the lateness of the budget. One of which is welfare.

Which, sort of, brings us back to the beginning.

I don't pretend to understand welfare and how it works. I know that it's not perfect, and I don't know what would be better. But it sort of disturbs me that the woman at the beginning is on it/needs to be on it.

One more thing, there was this comment on the site:
[...]I've been in the private sector all of my life.. and if you are a vendor that works with the state, you should plan for this kind of thing... and the folks that work for the state should be paying for their own child care.. my wife and I paid for our own child care..

Where is it written that you are entitled to a raise or guaranteed an income... and why should a Republican Senator return your call.. you didn't vote for him anyway...

Go talk with some private sector folks and ask them how they feel about your situation...

Since you both suck from the "teet of the public trough" maybe it's time you learn to ween your self away from it because we "the teet" are tired of getting sucked dry with ever increasing taxes..
Sweet fuzz of the Peach God, this really makes me want to quit.


Jazz said...


Shouldn't that be teat?

Just wondering.

John L. Taylor said...

Hmm... I'm no expert in the anatomy of troughs, but I'm pretty sure they are teatless.

ticknart said...

Jazz -- I am not going to edit some jackass, shithead, bowl of goat jism's comment. He should have done that himself.

John -- Maybe you've been looking at the wrong side?

Queenie said...

The woman is lucky to be recieving the help she gets. If she did not, her and her daughter would be swimming in poverty. As it stands now, they are not too far off. Your figures are probably quite a bit off, if I go by the money that is spent in my home. Although, I guess out where you are, you do not get 300 dollar heating bills a month(although my electricity bill total is 130 a month alone). You have not taken into account medical bills, presciptions, car insurance (and probably other forms of insurance), the cost of transportation for her daughter(at her age-seldom home likely)and college funds and a myraid of other bills I could go sift through, but it makes me depressed. 6 dollars towards retirement a month is not very much.

ticknart said...

Q -- I knew I forgot some things. Damn. See, this is my problem, I don't understand why it's like that out there for a person who does work. She shouldn't need help, but she does. And then what happens when her daughter turns 18? I doubt she'll be able to keep getting the assistance because I make hundreds of dollars less than her and there's no way I could get that sort of help. So, will she have to move into a one bedroom place hoping that she can afford to help her daughter with college?

I just don't get it. It doesn't make sense to me.

Does it make sense to anyone out there?