Monday, July 21, 2008

"Because Of The Terrible George Bush Economy, We're Nothin' But Skin And Bones!"

A recent NPR broadcast slamming the current state of the US economy (which, by the way, isn't much different from their coverage during the great economy from 2003-2007) focused on struggling families in Ohio's Rust Belt.

Families like Angelica Hernandez (above left) and her mother, Gloria Nunez. According to NPR, they are on the brink of starvation:

The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries — $100 used to buy about 12 bags of groceries, but now it's more like seven or eight. So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they don't buy extras like ice cream anymore.
Yeah, President Bush--they can't even afford ice cream! I hope you and your rich pals at Big Oil and the Carlysle Group are happy! It's their fault these poor ladies are going hungry.

Or maybe not:

Nunez, 40, has never worked and has no high school degree. She says a car accident 17 years ago left her depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job...

Hernandez received her high school diploma and has had several jobs in recent years. But now, because fewer restaurants and stores are hiring, she says she finds it hard to find a job...

Nunez's van broke down last fall. Now, her 19-year-old daughter has no reliable transportation out of their subsidized housing complex in Fostoria, 40 miles south of Toledo, to look for a job. Nunez and most of her siblings and their spouses are unemployed and rely on government assistance and food stamps.

Every decent person wishes these two ladies the best, but one can't help thinking that maybe--just maybe--they've made one or two lifestyle decisions that have contributed to their predicament. It could be that case that they would be in these circumstances if mom hadn't dropped out of school, or if her daughter had gotten some additional education or job training. Maybe--just maybe--it's unreasonable to blame the economy when low-skill workers can't find higher-skill (and higher-paying) jobs. Maybe?

So how will our starving Ohioans keep from wasting away to nothing?

People tell Nunez her daughter could get more money in public assistance if she had a child. "A lot of people have told me, 'Why don't your daughter have a kid?'"

They both reject that as a plan.

Somewhere in Ohio, a lonely man cries into his beer.