Saturday, May 1, 2010


I am a 59-year-old, female, Caucasian, native-born citizen of the US. At present, I have no health care other than AZ Medicaid.

I have spent my working life employed at jobs making about 150% of the poverty level. I have not been able to afford health care insurance for over 30 years. I am one of the "needy" dependent for my health care on our Medicaid program. Indeed, if not for Medicaid, I would not be writing this to you today because I would have died last August.

I have just had to apply for a renewal of my Food Stamps and Medicaid, and have not yet heard if I'll qualify. Yet even I would be willing to pay a little extra in sales and other taxes if it would help poor people keep these needed benefits.

So I'm sick and I'm tired, too.

Tired of being demonized by those equate "providing help to the poor" with "sharing the wealth" and "socialism."

Tired of hearing my own Senator (Kyl) say that Unemployment Benefits are "not a job enhancer, a disincentive."

Tiired of hearing the farcical idea that most legal Americans won't do jobs like mowing lawns, roofing homes, bagging groceries and serving Big Macs with fries. I've worked at all these jobs and worse -- including dipping out a stopped up portapotty with a pail, by hand, for minimum wage. Why did I do these jobs? Because the illegal immigrants had all the good, high-paying construction jobs. My husband and I were once evicted from a trailer park owned by a construction contractor because he would only allow his illegal employees to live there.

My husband John and I have been married for over 15 years. We've been homeless several times, and in three states. We've been homeless - with or without a vehicle to sleep in - for nearly half our marriage. We are now facing the prospect again.

I was born in Covina, CA and grew up in the Los Angeles area. In 1988, I moved to Grants Pass, OR. That's where I met my husband, who was born in Medford, OR. Having both lost jobs, we were homeless when we met, at the Gospel Rescue Mission. We got married in 1995. With Oregon's economy crumbling, we once lived for several weeks on the nickel deposit on aluminum cans, and on glass and plastic bottles. We lived by recycling scrap metal. We lived on day-labor. We lived out of dumpsters. We camped in the woods, and lived on nature's provender. Finally, we had to leave Oregon to find work, traveling from town to town on recyclables we found by the roadside. We tried Las Vegas, and spent five weeks there, surviving by recycling and day-labor. But they wouldn't hire the homeless for fulltime work. So we moved to Prescott, AZ, in 1997, where we still live.

We have bought and paid off three travel-trailer homes, only to lose them again to job losses. I suppose some would call us "po' white" or "trailer trash," and look down on us for all the stereotypic negatives that implies. But we're NOT trash, we're hard-working PEOPLE. We're not lazy. And we're not stupid, either. I got my BA in Philosophy in 1973, having worked my way through college tutoring Natural Deductive Logic. John was pre-med. When he enlisted in the Air Force during the Viet Nam era, he became a Med Tech.

We take whatever job we can find. Our full work history is quite varied.

My husband's letter to Congress

Re: Unemployment Extension Tier 5

I am a VietNam Era veteran.

I was laid off in 2008. I was the manager of a new recycling yard in Prescott Valley, AZ. I have run out of extensions and I am 2 months behind
on my rent. My last check was for $170.00 in mid Feb. I was making around $400 a week at my job, and expected more as the business grew, so the $192 a week unemployment checks were less than half of my wage.
Have I been looking for work?..Of course I have!..any job, even McDonalds, would pay far better than unemployment...there are just no jobs here right now.
I have been forced to put my car up for sale which will make it even harder to find work!..
If a new Unemployment extension doesn't come soon, I will be in a tent with a sick wife.
I am 57 years old and my wife is 59 and homelessness at our age would not only be very hard, it would likely kill my wife.
I really don't know what to do at this point...I am recycling scrap metal and aluminum cans and we are living on about 40 dollars a week that this provides, plus food stamps....
We are only paying $350.00 per month for our small rental, this includes utilities, so we are definitely not living beyond our means!..How do I tell my sick wife that we are losing the little that we have.
I have worked on ranches, in construction, managed 2 recycling yards, and cooked in restaurants. I never believed that a hard working, willing man
would ever be in the situation we are now in.

So to those who demonize the poor by equating "helping the poor" with "spreading the wealth" and "socialism", I suggest you take the:

The Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

"I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

"Social Security - Medicare/Medicaid - State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) - Police, Fire, and Emergency Services - US Postal Service -- Roads and Highways -- Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA) -- The US Railway System -- Public Subways and Metro Systems --Public Bus and Light Rail Systems -- Rest Areas on Highways -- Sidewalks --All Government-Funded Local/State Projects -- Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!) -- Public and State Universities and Colleges -- Public Primary and Secondary Schools -- Public Museums -- Libraries --Public Parks and Beaches -- State and National Parks -- Public Zoos -- Unemployment Insurance -- Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services --Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them) -- Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them) -- Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions) -- Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking -- Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies -- Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies -- If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forgo my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care."

If you are NOT willing to take this pledge, then stop with the vitriolic rhetoric and behavior.

If you are NOT willing to take this pledge, fold it until it is all sharp corners, sit on it, rotate counterclockwise, and STRIP YOUR GEARS.

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