We hear how you can be anything you want in America and that may be true from people who can afford to get the education they need or from foreigners who are used to third world countries but the truth is that there is no “American Dream”. Most stories end like the one you are about to read and while it hasn’t been written there is no happy ending.
Ruth and Robert had worked their whole lives and played by the rules, they never asked for or received a “handout”. Robert joined the military and served during the Korean War, sorry “conflict” as we would later find out it wasn’t a war. After getting out he married the women he loved and went to work in a powdered metal plant. Things were good and we were living the dream until the 80’s. After Ronald Reagan became president things started to change and you could no longer take care of a family with one income, with the prices of everything rising and incomes flat not most families needed both parents working full time jobs just to live the life they were used to. Ruth got a job at the same powered metal plant as her husband until he retired in 2001 at the age of 63 and having put in over 20 years of hard labor. In 2004 he went in for routine surgery and due to a medical issue came out disabled both mentally and physically. Ruth took up extra shifts and was working 60 hours a week or more until she went into the hospital on March 17th 2012 and was diagnosed with colon cancer. Again thanks to a screw up by the doctors and hospital she spent 8 months in the hospital and now is permanently disabled and can no longer work.
In 2001 Ruth inherited an estate with 2 houses, 2 cars and about 200,000.00 in cash. While the estate was at the lawyers office the secretary spent the 200,000.00 in cash. When ordered to pay it back she wrote out checks for 165,000 which bounced so she was taken to court for the bad checks. The court ruled in Ruth’s favor and the women was given 7 years probation and ordered to pay back the money 150.00 a month. While there was no money and the it was being held up in court the bills on the homes and cars still needed paid so one of the houses was sold and a mortgage taken out on the other one.
Today they both need constant care and need help doing the things most people take for granted like getting in and out of bed or going to the bathroom, Ruth has a colostomy bag which needs constant care. They went from living on their own and bringing in over 5,000.00 a month to needing assistance and living on their social security which is about 2,000.00 a month and while their income has cut in more than half their bills have only gotten bigger. After living over 60 years independently they finally bit the bullet and asked for some help just to find all the doors closed because they own a home and make too much money.
Asking for Help
First we applied for help with the veterans office and were denied because Robert wasn’t active during “war time” since Korea was considered a police action and not a war.
We applied to the welfare office for any assistance and got help for Robert with his prescription drugs and to pay a home care worker 3 hours a day to take care of him, this lasted about 3 years until Ruth had to apply for assistance. The inheritance Ruth had fought 10 years for was settled in 2011 and she officially inherited the cam which she gave to her son but could not put in his name because of the mortgage. The welfare office notified her that because of the camp she does not qualify for any assistance and because it wasn’t reported for Robert he would be dropped from any help himself (even though the camp was not owned when Robert filled out the paperwork). On top of that they still have the option of going after Ruth and Robert for any assistance he has received from them.
So now we are still paying all the bills that were paid when they made over 5,000.00 a month but have the added price of over 20 prescription between them which will no longer be subsidies through the welfare office and monthly doctors appointments and the threat of having the home care worker terminated. This has made me realize that working hard and playing by the rules doesn’t pay in America, you think your life is great but one sickness can take it all away from you. I often here politicians say America is the greatest country in the world but I say we could be but are far from it. Until people lose the threat of being homeless or having to choose between food on the table or pills in the cabinet we will always be a second rate country. You can not call yourself a great nation and turn your back on citizens who helped build and defend it while coddling and sucking at the tit of corporations and big business. When I hear people cry “ I build this” it pisses me off, without the generations who came before you who won our independence, built the road and bridges you wouldn’t have anything.
Instead of bragging about what you have and what you think you built how about helping all the men and women who worked themselves sick and are now suffering or the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line day in and day out so you can buy a new plane or hire a new maid. Remember while you’re receiving a free dinner or drinks at a club because you’re rich or famous all the people who will go without food and children who will go to school hungry or sick because their parents can not afford to feed them or allow them to stay home. If you judge a country by it’s poorest and most vulnerable than America is far from the greatest country in the world and until people wake up and see that America is no longer “we the people” but currently “we the rich and powerful” nothing will