Blood Money or Wall Street Bonuses?
Pres. Obama, Get Your Signing Pen Ready
By Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
While Wall Street argues against restrictions on bonuses for executive salaries in the economic-stimulus package, families are suffering. Bonuses? What planet are they on!? Some moms are selling their blood plasma several times a week to put food on the table.
We asked our MomsRising.org members this past week about how the economic downturn is impacting their families, and personal stories poured in from across the country that give a glimpse of how the economic downturn is impacting families. Stories like this one:
"My sister, the mother of 2 preschoolers, has track marks up and down her arms. Last July both she and her husband lost their jobs. Although they applied for every job they saw, she didn't find a job until late November--and then only a part-time one. My brother-in-law still hasn't found one. The track-marks? My sister, my wonderful sister, gives plasma several times a week, earning $25 each time in order to feed her family and pay her car insurance. Don't talk to me about bonuses and earmarks, all my sister wants is a job. How much plasma does she have to give before the government does something for regular people?" - Yvonne
There are people, families, and children behind the job loss numbers that stream across the front of newspapers everyday--and most don't work on Wall Street.
The House and Senate just passed the economic-stimulus package, and now President Obama needs to get his signing pen ready (and ignore those on Wall Street complaining about executive bonus restrictions). In fact, help can't come quick enough for many families. Over the past week, MomsRising.org members submitted personal stories of how the economic downturn has impacted their families, showing just how very needed the economic-stimulus package is right now. Here's a small sample:
• "I lost my job in December and have been looking unsuccessfully since then. I am a professional person and the number of resumes per job opening are staggering. My husband hasn't worked since November. Three kids, no income except unemployment insurance, and since we live in California, that is always questionable. My car needs a $525 repair. It's just sitting in the driveway." -- Lynn
• "My husband recently lost his job with a major aluminum manufacturing facility in Western, PA and as a result, our health insurance. While my company offers health insurance, the premiums are far too expensive for us to afford (especially with the job loss). We have 3 children (the eldest of which is in college) and are struggling to keep our head above water, our son in college and our mortgage up to date. Something has gone to be done and QUICKLY!" -- Dawn-Michele
• "I am a middle class professional, single mom with a six year old boy. I worked for a nonprofit with most of my work focused on women and poverty in the developing world. I just found out I will be laid off in early March. I pay almost all my son's expenses, own a home, and try to put money towards a college fund for him. I have been scrambling to do what I can to avert catastrophe. I am trying to get my mortgage reduced but don't qualify for many of the low-income programs. I don't qualify for most assistance programs but because I spent my retirement on my divorce proceedings, I don't have a safety net. My son can go on his dad's healthcare but I will have to forego healthcare even though I have several chronic conditions. I have a housemate already to help with the mortgage and am bringing in another housemate but I don't know if that will be enough. The only job I have found (and I know I am lucky to have a job offer) pays half of what I currently earn. I have taken it and will hope to work 2 more jobs if I have to in order to make ends meet. It is frightening--I have paid my bills and paid over my minimum mortgage bill, continue to pay for my Master's degree, had saved money in a retirement account and it could all be gone tomorrow. I have also been sending money to my mother who has been ill but that stopped a few months ago because I could no longer support her." -- Marceline
• "My husband was laid off in December. We have an autistic son, the thought of putting him in daycare puts me into a panic attack. We've tried it before, nobody else can handle him. He's come home with unexplained bruises, once he was found by a stranger wandering near the highway after dark right before I picked him up. We're discussing walking away from our house. My husband has applied for hundreds of jobs and he's just not getting any offers. Tomorrow he's interviewing for a job that pays a full thirty thousand dollars less than he made last year with no benefits (we'd have to continue paying 1,200 per month for Cobra insurance). If he takes that job, our choice will be to lose our house and move into a rented apartment; or put our son in daycare so I can work full time. I'm no stranger to work; I only quit to keep my disabled son safe. I am scared." -- Jennifer
• "My husband and I are expecting our first child. We are both attorneys. He works as a public defender and I was in house counsel up until this past October when I was laid off. I am almost 8 months pregnant. We have house hold bills, mortgage, 2 sets of student loans, credit card bills, attorney registration and impending child care costs including hospital extra costs. What help is out there? American people need a bail out not the greedy Wall Street people. Extend unemployment and increase the amount." -- Anika
• "I have become one of the statistics, laid off on Monday a.m. with four days notice. I have three children 6 and under and my salary is 1/2 of our household income. We were squeaking by as it was, as my husband owns his own business that sells to retail which has experienced an unprecedented contraction. Think of all the families, like mine, who now cannot: send kids to preschool, shop for any retail goods beyond the absolute essentials, participate in sports or extracurricular activities; patronize local dry cleaners, restaurants, other service businesses; pay our mortgages and utilities. This is absolutely crippling - not just to the families, but the other families that own businesses and organizations that were previously supported by those families. " - Bridget
To read more of these stories, please click here: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/t/1546/blog/comments.jsp?key=502&blog_entry_KEY=23311&t=&key=15078900
President Obama needs to sign the economic-stimulus package as fast as possible, and ignore the whining of Wall Street millionaires about their bonus caps. Helping struggling families not only keeps mothers and children out of poverty, but also provides a direct infusion of resources into the economy and pays off in long-term dividends. The economic-stimulus package is critical not only to help families in need, but also to create jobs immediately as well as put money into the pockets of low-income families and ensure the future competitiveness of our workforce. President Obama, get your signing pen ready.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is a co-founder and Executive Director of MomsRising.org. She is co-author (with Joan Blades) of The Motherhood Manifesto, which makes the case that it's time for a broad change in America's support for mothers and families. The Motherhood Manifesto identifies and challenges the obstacles facing working mothers today, and proposes concrete solutions. In 2007, The Motherhood Manifesto book won the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize. Rowe-Finkbeiner is also author of The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy, which was awarded first place by the Independent Book Publishers Association in the category of Women's Issues.
MomsRising.org is an organization working to build a truly family-friendly nation. Started in May, 2006, MomsRising uses the power of online organizing in coordination with grassroots activities and media outreach to educate the public about problems facing American families and to propose common sense solutions. MomsRising.org provides citizens with an opportunity to amplify their voices and to take their concerns to leaders who are in positions to implement real changes.
Find us and join us at MomsRising.org.