The American bureaucracy, nobody does it better. Believe it or not, in your town, in every town, there is a place that deals with human resources for the needy and downtrodden. In that place there are a bunch of cubicles and offices. In those cubicles and offices, there are people. Highly trained people who are efficient in one thing…denial. These people have one goal….to disburse funds and aid to those that need a hand up. (note that phrase…not a hand out, a hand up)
The bureaucrat knows two things….they have things to give out, and that they are destined not to give out said things. Oh…this gets what some may call racist or opinionated, so if that bothers you, please feel free to leave the room now. Kids, I have sought help before, when I was unemployed or suffered a downturn in my finances, and each time I came away with the undeniable conclusion that I was an unwelcome scourge, much like an ant at a picnic.
The color of my flesh, my ethnic background seems to be an immediate disqualifier in most of the programs these bureaucrats monitor and control. Now, if I were darker in tone, or had an ethnic background originating in the countries south of the US border or in the wastelands of Africa, I would probably have everything they could offer coming my way, but alas I am of European and Native American background, so I fall outside of their favored boundaries.
Also in the mix is the fact that I have a job. I have an “earned income” whose GROSS pay is a factor. GROSS pay, as in the pay I don’t bring home. That would be called NET pay, or otherwise known as after tax. I make a marginal amount above the guidelines by the GROSS metric, but take home much less than they require defined by the same GROSS metric. This is the black hole I live in. On one especially egregious day, I sat and watched a seventeen year old Mexican girl do the unimaginable (at least to me). She was meeting with one of these fine bureaucrats and telling her sob story. I could hear it all as she was in an open office and speaking loud enough to hear it.
She was asking for everything…housing, utilities, general assistance (cash), and food stamps. She also required one other thing that should have been a disqualifier from the moment it was mentioned. Her father, unemployed, had a green card that had been expired for close to a year, while hers was expired for a couple of months. At this point, with this confession, the interview should have stopped, and there should have been a call made to ICE (immigration). Instead, she received the full package and the names of three lawyers specializing in green card law.
Then it was my turn. I was interviewed in an expedient fashion, and declined (in the same expedient fashion) any help except thirty-two dollars a month on the food stamp card. Thirty-two dollars. Is that enough for you to feed yourself on for a month? Nah, didn’t think so. In the four times I have been there in ten years, I have been witness to much gross negligence. I have seen women dressed to the hilt with PHAT jackets, brand name jeans, and Timberland boots talking on their iPhones waiting to be seen while their children play on iPads. I have seen latino mothers, pregnant, waiting to be seen as their other four kids play on smart phones or iPads.
I have witnessed much in that office, and every time they ask me questions like “do you own a car, jewelry, or expensive electronics” knowing that if I answer that question, I will be told to sell it off. (Honestly…that’s what I have been told) Every time, I have seen these same examples of “needy” people collect all the benefits they could grab….except for people and people like me. There is no race in my black hole. We exist in there, blacks, whites, latinos, etc, but because we are part of the working middle class, we are denied the help we are asking for.
As long as you work more than twenty hours a week at minimal pay, own anything expensive, or have a bank account with a marginal balance, you are denied. These are metrics that must be changed. EVERYONE experiences downturns, needs a little help now and then. I am no exception. I have, however, always been denied while others in better shape (seemingly) are given everything. These inequalities infuriate even the most serene individuals and fail to help everyone equally. These inequalities must be addressed and altered.
This is something that I will be addressing with my Political Action group, if anyone ever takes me seriously enough to help me form it.