I am deeply offended by Mitt Romney’s accusation that welfare=laziness. When my son was born tragically early, I could not return to work – he would have died. I lost everything. I had perfect credit for 8 years. I’m a mere secretary with a GED, and I had never looked for government handouts. And when the State Medicaid program paid for my son’s healthcare in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, I thought, well, everyone in my family has been paying taxes all their lives and we’ve never been on welfare, so I guess that’s what we paid for. Also, for 12 years I did valuable community service as a volunteer for families. I was part of a NICU support group, I founded a Young Astronauts Science & Math Club, I was a Cub Scout Den Leader, Registrar, Treasurer, Activities Planner, and Child Protection Training advocate. I also arranged amazing Science field trips for the homeschool community in Colorado Springs. I helped my neighbors. I forged a relationship with our Muslim neighbors that made a difference in the lives of Christians and Muslims there. I worked super hard to pay my debt to society. I am deeply offended by Romney’s attitude, and anyone who has that attitude is part of the problem with America. If you agree, you are welcome to share my story with others.
In 2004, I started from scratch with nothing but a 13-year-old mini van, what I could fit into it, and $2000 cash thanks to Earned Income Credit on my federal tax return. My husband at the time was mentally unstable, self medicating, and unpredictably violent – it was unsafe for me to remain in Colorado. I took my son, not his (he never adopted), and came to California where I had 3 friends who know my word is gold. My friends helped me by loaning me furniture & small appliances, and loaning me money for rent. All of which I returned and paid back the following year. Today, I own my own home. I did it all on my own. With money I saved in my 401k – which took quite a hit in 2008, thanks to the de-regulated investment industry and white collar criminals. I bought the home based on my own good credit, with money I borrowed from my 401k. I am also paying my son’s tuition at CSU this year – not the government, not the taxpayer – I am, out of my secretary’s salary.
My son is an AP Scholar. He’s never taken drugs, gotten drunk, or taken advantage of anyone in any way. He’s the most decent kid you could find in America. He hates no one. He ridicules no one. He is kind, thoughtful, thrifty – everything a Scout is asked to be EXCEPT he knows that gay doesn’t rub off on anyone and it isn’t the cause of HIV.
My son was raised on welfare for the first 2 years of his life. Then I worked part time and got SSI for 2 years because of his special needs, and then therapy paid off and he no longer had special needs or SSI. Thank you very much. So what taxpayers did is invest in an extraordinary human being who is contributing to the quality of life in everyone who knows him. And I am quite certain that my 12 years of community service as a volunteer has more than made up for the help I needed from taxpayers!
Furthermore, my entire family are part of the 47% working poor and most of them are Republicans who would rather die than need food stamps. My schizophrenic brother could have gotten welfare, but he didn’t want to. Instead, he washed dishes, collected recyclables, and went hungry. Then, hopeless, in 1983 he committed suicide. Partly, society is to blame for stigmatizing our poor and disadvantaged citizens. My brother was a great writer and could have written something that might have changed lives if he wasn’t constantly shunned, feared, and talked about socially as a burden.
My entire family is part of that 47% – hardworking, good citizens. Honest, decent, nice people, several with some pretty serious existing conditions. It pains me that some of them fail to respect what this President has accomplished.
Bottom line, in my opinion: There is little difference between Corporate Welfare and Social Welfare. Both are essential to a thriving community and require wisdom and integrity. We have seen plenty of examples of abuse of corporate welfare, too, and they have done great harm to our economic health as a nation.
Author, 10 Most Annoying Things People Say to NICU Parents
and Memoirs of a Remarkable Survivor