Strugglings-The Invisible Class
There's a lot of talk now about TennCare, the cuts to TennCare and the tragedies rising from those cuts. I've been following the issues very closely for the last few weeks and one thing about the debate consistently troubles me.
As the battle is continuously painted as a struggle between the Haves and the Have-nots, I think everyone is overlooking the very large group of Strugglings. It's not polite to talk about the Strugglings in genteel society, even though (or perhaps because) more of us fit in that category than anyone would like to admit. The line between Struggling and Having is often as fixed as the line betweeen Struggling and Having Not.
You know the Strugglings--you have more than likely been one at some point in time. Who are they? Well, they're the people who through hard work, perseverence and a high LTV ratio bought their first house, but still can't pay the utility bills from time to time. They're the people who more often than not are forced to put one week's groceries and gas on a credit card each month. They're the people who clip coupons and can't afford to have a baby. They're the people who are upside down on both cars they've bought to get them to the jobs that make justcloseenough to cover their expenses. Their grass gets a little high because gas for the mower is an expense easily cut back when you have to decide between that and peanut butter for a week's worth of sack lunches. They are the people whose budget is thrown for three months if someone gets sick enough to miss half a day's work for a doctor's visit.
They are the secretaries in your offices, the networking specialists, the graphic designers, the salesmen and the teachers. They will skip those sack lunches to send money to the Red Cross for Katrina relief, and they will always try to put money in the offering plate and the Salvation Army buckets.
But they are tired. They know that life is hard, and sometimes just seems to get harder. Most of them are worn out to the point of exhaustion just from working day to day. They spend hours on the phone begging for limit extensions on the charge cards that keep their heads above water and they may go out to dinner for a birthday or anniversary if they save enough money.
These are the people that no one talks about and that almost everyone has been. These are the people whose generosity would be even more apparent if they had more to give, and these are the people who are helped by tax cuts. Since they pay less than the rich, any tax cut gives them less money than a rich person gets. But any one of them will tell you that every penny counts and they're glad to have it.