Recession
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
August 2010
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
August 2010
She is becoming a member of the invisible poor: degreed, seemingly affluent and broke (financially and psychologically.) She was a successful professional, then became disabled. Last year, she filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to save her home. Last month she had $26 dollars to last 3 weeks. She used up her emergency food store of beans and rice. She is without running water. Even if she paid the past due, there are plumbing problems and no money for a plumber. She is astonished to see how quickly the patina of coping is wearing thin. Bold calls to utilities to ask for bill extensions. Not-so- subtle hints to relatives of financial trouble, with no offers of assistance. (Her pastor seemed uncomfortable that a member of his congregation was in financial difficulties.) Selling gold jewelry. Seriously thinking about going to Free-bread Tuesday. Her monthly income is slightly over the limit for any assistance. She cuts back on health insurance coverage and hopes that nothing happens. Her car tags are overdue, but then she isn’t driving much. She is rationing travels to essential ones. The cherry on this upside-down world, is that after the switch to digital TV, she can only receive the signals for a Christian, prosperity Gospel TV station. God, does she really need to send in $30 to receive a double-portion blessing? Is her story unique or compelling? As a middle-class professional down on her luck, maybe not. But as professional person now struggling because of life situations, yes. The only difference between her and Oprah is the shallowness of the safety net. Yet she is not alone. Affluent wives who suddenly become widows. Professionals who are downsized and are over 40. Singles who do not have a partner to provide a household pay check. Households with both partners out of work. Just once since her world changed, she prays to be on the upside of supply side economics.

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Comments
  • Cait Finnegan

    Again, this surely targets a great many people today who are unexpectedly on the bottom end of the economic ladder. And yet, despite this, there is this energy, this hope, this survival instinct...and SHE WRITES!