Seriously?  I understand someone not wanting to see their unemployment benefits expire.  It’s got to be a terrible feeling to suddenly face the prospect of not having that safety net.  I’m not even being sarcastic.  It really must scare the living crap out of those people who’ve come to depend on the “paycheck” for doing nothing but looking for another job.  I wish I got paid to job-hunt.  Instead, I don’t get paid if I don’t work. 

I’ve never been lucky enough to work in a job where there was such a thing as a severance package and as of yet I’ve never been “laid off”.  I have been fired, and I have quit.  Never “laid off”…so I’ve never collected a dime of unemployment.  My husband works in manufacturing and the plant goes on “shut-down” for a couple of weeks a year.  They USED to get unemployment for those two weeks.  Now, the company has worked a loop-hole in their vacation benefits that says that they MUST keep two weeks of “vacation” available to use for shut-down.  So, he’s only collected about 5 months of unemployment in his life-time, too.  That’s over the course of working for the same company for the past 12…almost 13 years.

Now, people are bitching because they’ve lost, or are going to lose, their extended unemployment benefits.  “You don’t care about the people around you going without!!!”  I actually heard one of our local liberal radio hosts say that today. 

I don’t???  :O  Really?  Is that the reason I’ve been known to clean out my freezer of veggies and meats and give them to people who are having trouble making ends meet for a while?  Is that the reason I went grocery shopping for a family because they had 5 mouths to feed and zero funds available for the following week?  I live by the idea that if someone needs something I will do what I can to help either myself or find someone who can help me help them.  That is what God wants of us…to treat each other how we would like to be treated.  If you neighbor needs something, you help them! 

To tell me (and everyone else) that by letting the extended benefits expire equates to lack of sympathy, empathy, and morals is a slap in the face to those of us who take our duty to our fellow-man seriously.  We don’t WANT to see anyone go without.  What we want is for there to be jobs available so that these people can go back to work and EARN a living for themselves and their families.  We want businesses to thrive so they can hire more people…that is my idea of “redistribution of wealth”!

I’ve lived most of my life “in a pinch”.  We had a few years where we had enough money to not wonder if we were spending too much on something…but they were few.  Mostly we live pretty frugally.  We grow a garden and I can and freeze the vegetables that we grow in it.  We purchase meat differently than most….we buy “half a cow” and pay the processing on it…we buy a whole hog and pay for processing.  We then have enough meat to last a year (approximately) for our family at a fraction of the cost of buying the same meat in the store.  It can be done…living on a very small amount of money…one income for the 4 of us.  Is it easier here in rural America than it would be in a larger city…yup.  But it can still be done.  No one hands us money each month for doing nothing.

Don’t ask me to support all of the unemployed in America even longer by paying more in taxes.  You’re costing me money and making it easier for those people to just sit around and collect money.  There ARE services already in place for those who are in a pinch when it comes to food and financials.  There should also be family, friends, and neighbors who can help.  It’s all part of treating others like you’d be treated; the Golden Rule.  But the government shouldn’t be forcing it on us by asking us to pay for even longer unemployment benefits.  Allow us to do our part in our own way and see if we don’t manage to keep everyone afloat until this mess is fixed, afterall!