Another desperate phone call

I got another phone call today from someone whose family is on the financial edge, making enough money so they don’t qualify for any assistance, but not making enough money to live on. I had basically no money to give away; no agency has much money to give away right now; there are too many people in the same situation.

When you get phone calls like that, it is difficult to hear about the huge sums of money Wall Street bankers get. It is difficult to watch as the news media pay too little attention to the fact that tons of people are out of work, underemployed, or otherwise financially desperate. And it is difficult to listen to the selfish rhetoric that passes for politics in this country.

3 thoughts on “Another desperate phone call

  1. Bill Baar

    You might want to consider some more practical advice you can give than this. to those in straights.

    I know many at the moment. All of my close friends (six guys I’ve known since grade school) are out of work, working less than they want, or fearful of losing their jobs. One few of them though got into this boat out of “selfishness” and living far beyond his means.

    One reason were not heaing about unemployment is because it’s an issue MSM and Democrats fear for the midterms… Obama’s instituting an economy that will build in a structural unemployment rate of 9 to 10% (just like Europes had for decades). It comes with the Social Democratic program… Democrats aren’t the party of Humpry Hawkins full employment rates anymore… and they don’t want to talk about it.

    It’ll do them in, and if UU’s thought there was a wave of Progressive Religion that our Church was going to ride (I fear that was part of the unstated joy about Obama’s election) that’s another illusion that’s been shattered.

    We’re in for a long bout of severe unemployment. We bust come up with some practical advice for how people can get the means and needs balanced. Our Church has already started with a program of advice and counseling offered by an Attorney/Member.

  2. Dan

    Bill @ 1 — You write: “You might want to consider some more practical advice you can give than this. to those in straights.”

    Actually, I do have practical advice, including referrals to agencies, etc. — all of which I offered to this person, who had in fact already pursued nearly all avenues open.

    Addressing the rest of your comment, Unitarian Universalists generally believe that the political system basically works, so we historically have provided little in the way of support to our members, let alone to people outside our congregations. We believe that problems like severe unemployment can and should be solved through the political system. Contrast that to a religion like the Mormons who provide much more robust financial support to their members; or the Salvation Army which provides support to people outside their religion. Even the big evangelical Christian churches provide services like financial planning, etc.

    Ironically, for all the progressive rhetoric in UU congregations, we are woefully bad at supporting each other — we are willing to go out and do political advocacy for other people, but we are generally poor at providing significant support for people in our congregations. I wish I could agree with you that this illusion has been shattered, but I don’t think it has been shattered.

    What’s also interesting is that I come from the left of most UUs, you come from the right of most UUs, yet we’re sharing some basic agreement. I’d disagree that Obama is a Social Democrat (he looks far too right wing to me for that), but it does look like we’re seeing the establishment of long-term unemployment.

  3. naomi king

    Amen, Dan. These are really hard calls and conversations. Thanks for posting this. I’ve heard people hearing about each other having a hard time helps folks not feel so miserable or alone. I’ve also heard folks reconsider their opinions of those who are struggling when they hear people they know and respect having nowhere to go.

    Thank you.

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