Here's the deal. While we have debt, it is manageable. We don't drive luxury cars, we bought them used and the student loans came from trying to better ourselves. I was 17 and my husband was 19. We were high school graduates. He worked at a local fabric store and I worked at Service Merchandise. We were dirt poor when my son was born. We received WIC, Tenncare, and other benefits from being well below the poverty line.
This was not acceptable to us. Our parents taught us the value of hard work. My husband was raised by a single mother who worked hard his entire life to make ends meet. My dad taught me the value of working hard and for my entire life the man missed very little work. In fact, the only time I know he missed was after a massive car accident that left him with double vision for a time. Staying on public assistance was not acceptable as long as we were able to work. Both of us went to college, kids in tow.
We used the Pell grant system to get our degrees. We graduated with honors with our children sitting in the crowd. It can be done. It wasn't easy, it took longer than the normal 4 years, but we did it.
We have decided to repay our debt to taxpayers by becoming a teacher and a dispatcher. We are public servants and we appreciate what the taxpayers did for us and gladly pay our share for someone else. How are we repaid? The City of Memphis has decided to reward us by putting another $500 worth of bills we cannot afford. They disregard the fact I am my husband's family. I am legally bound to my family and yet I cannot stay in my husband's family plan. I am being penalized for bettering myself.
Had we chosen to stay in the situation all those years ago life would be easier. I would have everything paid for and I wouldn't have to work. I have three children. I wonder how much I could be collecting with that?
I am not downing people that are in the system and utilizing this program. When used correctly it is a tremendous help to those in need. I am criticizing a government that seems to punish people for using it correctly by pushing us into financial hardship. The middle class is in trouble. The family is in trouble. We are being placed in a situation where it is not beneficial to work and do better. We are being conditioned to believe that we will be in better shape if we DON'T work. Looking back, would I still choose to go to school? For me, of course, I was raised to work for what I have. But, that is no longer the values being taught and with policies like kicking people off insurance for working or retiring, who will choose to better themselves? I am afraid society as a whole will take a hit. Why continue to work when the burden gets placed on you to carry the debt of everyone?
It is time to say enough. I am a part of my family and I should NOT be punished for working and doing better for myself. A retiree shouldn't have to be pushed into the welfare line after a lifetime of work. We deserve better. The city deserves better, our country deserves better. Let's be the first city to stand and say NO MORE. We will honor our workers with adequate healthcare and not punish those who actually work to keep the economy going. Citizens of Memphis SAY NO MORE! Vote for Change! Save our City!