Monday, May 26, 2008

The Rant of the Middle Class

Hello, internets. May I take a minute to vent?

Thank you.

Why, I ask you, are we so freakin' POOR?

Seriously. Where is it that we went wrong, exactly? We graduated from college - me with a master's plus - and have both had jobs, steadily, not one day without one, since the day we left.

We chose careers that we liked and would stick with, as we were advised to do. We have done so. I've been in my field for 6 years - my line for 13 - and The Man has gone even longer.

We married at the right age - not too young, but young enough to still be young. Our marriage and personal relationship has always been shockingly easy and stable, much to our continuing bemusement and perpetually guarded elation. (And occasional smugness.)

We had a sensible number of children, a sensible number of years apart. They've been involved in a reasonable number of enriching after-school activities, e.g. Girl Scouts and piano and soccer, no more. They have their issues, but nothing overly alarming.

We have what we need; food and clothing and shelter. We get out around Texas occasionally; once a year to Schlitterbahn and Port Aransas. San Antonio is fine, sometimes, but we haven't been able to go to Sea World in four years, and never the zoo or Fiesta Texas. Once a year, we try to get away from Texas, if possible; but, in the past ten years, we have never been anywhere where we weren't staying with someone, and didn't have most or all of our room and board taken care of.

We don't have all we want. We want a hi-def TV, and a Wii, and a garage apartment for my mother, and nice clothes, and to travel places other than Kansas City, MO. We would rather buy completely organic produce and hormone-free beef from Central Market, and non-gas-burning local farmer's market bread and eggs.

Sadly, what with the 40+ per working adult in this family unit, neither the time, nor the money, ever seem to exist to fit all this in.

The point I'm trying to make is that we try. Very Hard. To get by. And, by all accounts of what SHOULD have been done at what particular time, we have FOLLOWED these rules.

So, again, I ask you; why are we so poor, ALL the time? Why? When we've done everything, EVERYTHING, correctly, why do I not get to go to the grocery store this week, just because it's the end of the month, and we can't afford it?*

This whole tax thing? Now, don't get me wrong; I'm a big liberal. I understand that schools and energy and things aren't free. I respect my need to contribute to the greater good. But, this arrangement in Texas, wherein we our taxed on the basis of property, rather than INCOME, is absolutely criminal. This is a disproportionate system, geared to gouge the middle class and to ease the suffering of the wealthy.

Where this leads is that people, like us, who have done EVERYTHING that they are supposed to do, are staring blankly at our appraisal statements, wondering what in the hell more they are supposed to do, just to get by.

I suppose that the overarching answer as to "why," is the obvious answer, or answers: the recession, George W. Bush, the stupid war, our stupid leaders in general. Honestly, though, it doesn't make it any easier to blame them. The thought that they might be out of office soon gives me some hope, but not enough that I'm ready to go blow my (as-of-yet-theoretical) stimulus check on that TV.

Is it just me? Are any of y'all feeling ever-more quietly desperate?

*We and the girls have PLENTY of food. No worries there. We have all the milk-n-eggs-n-bread staples, and the pantry and freezer are overfilled, as a matter of fact, and definitely could use a little winnowing out. It's JUST THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING.


Karla said...

we got our appraisal. They took away our homestead. AND increased our home value by a ridiculous amount. Apparently travis cad hasn't heard the news about the housing market.

We now have no 10% per year max increase protection We are so screwed. I even briefly thought about selling the house.

Bookhart said...

I hear ya, sister. I can't figure it out either, but we are just barely making ends meet each month. And, yes, it feels more and more desperate and that we are cutting farther and farther back. God forbid ONE major thing happens. I feel like my parents were somehow much farther along when they were our age.

Karla May said...

I swear, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry sometimes.