If you are foolish enough to answer truthfully on an application for state assistance, do not despair. The state has thought of that, and does not discriminate against the foolish; you will likely be given multiple opportunities to lie, and you will eventually get your fair share. Always remember that it is best to consult your state and federal poverty guidelines before you subjectively determine what you can or cannot afford. The numbers do not lie, even if you have to lie to fall within them.
Please allow me to repeat that: there are state and federal poverty guidelines. Allow a moment for that to sink in. Yesterday, I made a trip to the grocery store to pick up some dinner items. I saw an enormous bag of generic cereal for about three dollars. I saw a box of Ramen noodles, consisting of some 50 packages, for three dollars and 29 cents. That is dinner for two months. It isn't all that healthy, but it is food. Breakfast and dinner for months and it will cost you about six bucks. That is the bare minimum. That is subsistence. That, perhaps, is poverty. Where that is poverty, there is no poverty.
Peter Robinson recently posted an article stating that the United States has eliminated poverty, and it has. But how does our omniscient government determine poverty? Just consult the state and federal poverty guidelines. Today's poverty is yesterday's kingship. Yet it is a human right. Human rights evolve, I suppose.
I have had a difficult week. This afternoon, I sat next to an indignant man who had been denied court-appointed counsel. He whined to the court that, after all, he has bills to pay! You see, he had made the mistake of filling out the form honestly. That is bush league. Everyone knows that you cannot make over a thousand dollars a month. Throw in a dependent child or two, and you're golden.
Yesterday, I met with one of the victims in an assault case that may soon be going to trial. Through an interpreter, I was forced to listen to an hour or so of a real life Telemundo soap opera. I started to lose track of names, who said what to whom, who shoved first, whose child was screaming the loudest - X said that Y had asked her to marry X's boyfriend so that he could get citizenship, Y said that she had loaned X money, and when she asked for payment, X threatened to tell DSHS that Y lies on her welfare application, claiming to be a single mother of three, where she is actually married with two. As I left the courthouse, I saw Y drive away in a brand new Chrysler. It isn't the Jaguar that the indigent client whose motion I filed this morning got pulled over in, but it is still nicer than my Honda Accord.
The gentleman today was told that he can reapply. You know, just in case the numbers have changed. Net, after all, is a much smaller number when it means "after bills," rather than "after taxes." If he were really smart, he would pay attention in court. Listen to the conversation of the guy in front of you.
The state finds it so much easier to make determinations of poverty when all it has to do is ask one single question: "Are you currently receiving state aid?" If the answer is yes, then you may automatically qualify for all other state aid. Pretty easy when your income is under the table -- or when you simply lie about it. The only problem is that it is really hard to meet with your court-appointed attorney when you work 12 hours a day - better to place an angry phone call after hours, complaining that after hours comes too early.
I wish I could print off just the title of this post and slap it on my boss's desk. Not out of any spite toward him; I would respectfully submit my two weeks' notice. But the state is just making it so easy. I can always get credit, and when that gets to be too large, it will go away in bankruptcy. Think that will ruin your credit? Oh, I don't know - my neighbor just bought a brand new car not two weeks after filing. You see, the government guarantees loans so that the impoverished cannot be "discriminated" against. If I quit my job, I no longer have to pay for food. I don't even have to be embarrassed about it, since my food stamp card looks like an ordinary Visa. Heck, I can even use it at Starbucks! If I start to get too cold in the winter, I can apply for aid to heat my house. It won't pay my cable bill, but it will pay my phone bill, which will save me some money for cable. It will probably save me enough for the movie and sports packages. I will have plenty of time to watch television while I sit at home. In between commercials, I can fill out some fake job applications so I can keep getting that unemployment check.
What about kids? WIC, TANF, all of my milk, cheese, and formula - formula? Well, I can't breastfeed while I'm on methadone ... duh.
I'm getting carried away. Why do I really want to quit? Because I want to be blissfully unaware. I want to go to work every day and think that the massive chunk of money coming out of my monthly paycheck is going to pay for the roads. I really enjoy driving on the roads. After all, those roads get me to work and back.