Sunday, April 5, 2009

Living in a place I was taught didn’t exist in America

I just got my taxes back; I had a badly paying job where I earned a whopping $2,469 for the year. Included in that was two months of unpaid training 100 miles away, it cost me roughly $1,000 in gas and a few hundred in maintenance on my car. So according to the tax tables I had over $5,000 in deductions or more than what I earned so my taxable income was $0.00.

I filed (even though I was below the reporting threshold) to get my stimulus check and earned income credit. Money I desperately need as on my current job I am called in when needed and because of the recession they haven’t needed me for more than a couple days a month.

According to the IRS I didn’t make enough money last year to qualify for help and I owe them $186.14. If I had made $531 more last year I would have been entitled to a rebate but because my income was so low ($0.00 taxable income) I owe them money.

If they had given me the rebate and I could count it on my gross income it would have put me over the threshold.

Growing up I had been taught that in America we had a safety net, so that if someone is hit with a string a bad luck they won’t be tossed out on the street. Now that I’ve been hit by two years of incredibly bad luck I’ve found out that it isn’t true.

In the past two years I had my good paying Securities Broker job disappear when the owner of the company disappeared with the all the companies money, only to read in the paper a few weeks later that he was arrested for selling Crystal Meth to a minor.

I went to work for a competing business that was in bad shape and after a few months things were picking up and it looked like the company would be stable. Then the owner of that business disappeared with my commission check.

After those great experiences I went to work for an Insurance company, for that I needed to go through two months unpaid training and I miscalculated my money (my bad this time), and after all the hard work and expense going to training I didn’t have money to make the 30 mile drive to work every day leaving me in a dire financial position.

Going to the various government agencies I found out that the only government assistance available was food stamps. It helps but it’s not enough to feed me and my wife, we’ve lost over 20 lbs each.


I found out that the energy assistance program through our local utility company, that I had been giving money to for the last 10 years, doesn’t help people pay their electric bill. I’ve got no clue where that money I sent went.

To try and survive, I donated plasma and delivered pizzas. The pizza place could only use me a couple days a week until sales dropped and now they only call me in when someone is sick. The machine broke at the donor center while I was donating, making me unable to give for 3 months. So my luck continues.

Now the IRS wants $186.14; that is not the idea of a safety net that I had learned about growing up. Taxing someone more because they are broke isn’t a safety net, it is down right cruel.

The worst part about being in my current situation is that I’ve always considered myself a charitable person, when I had a decent salary I would give a few thousand a year to different charities. If I had known how little support there actually was in this country for people who have a turn of bad luck I would have given more.

In a shameless attempt to raise money to pay my phone bill so I can continue posting I’m asking everyone to click here Associated Content to help me out.

1 comment:

Spacerguy said...

Your blogs interesting. I'm sorry to hear you're experiencing tough times. The depression has hit people hard.