Cliff Dweller

Debt ceiling showed up a lot in recent political discourse, and now fiscal cliff is rearing its head. All serious matters of course. But I have to wonder how serious the members of the House take it, really, when it gets down to it. What does over the cliff mean to our esteemed congress persons personally? That their investments grow a little slower? That they need to fire a maid or two?

Or will they make even more money by buying foreclosed homes or by liquidating failed businesses?

If America goes bankrupt, there is always China or the Cayman Islands… for them.

I’m on my own personal fiscal cliff and it is scary as hell. It’s a matter of stretching a tissue-thin dollar enough to feed us for the month. It is a matter of trying to figure out how to not only pay the debt of interest each month which knows no holiday, but also attack the principle. It is trying to figure out not just how to get a job, but how to get a job that will actually let us climb the cliff instead of making just enough to let us fall a little slower.

Santa Claus swooped in and gave me food stamps, which helped out tremendously. But I just got a recent letter saying my $10 dollar an hour job was way too much for me getting what I was getting in food stamps, so I now owed him, and he would take it out of future presents or, if I chose to do so, I could simply set up a convenient repayment plan…

My insurance works the same way, making employment tricky. The medicine I have to take in order to live costs about twenty thousand a year or so. Right now Santa Claus pays for it. If I work for an employer who offers me insurance, I’d have to take that insurance instead, regardless of whether I can afford the copays, as Santa Claus only helps when no other way is present. It should be emphasized here that it is not no other self-sustaining way, but the unqualified no other way…

The bottom line is I’m in that precarious state of, while being appreciative of it, not wanting to depend on Santa Claus visits; yet wondering how I can jump over the banker elves when and if some year he bypasses my house altogether.

A person making over $250,000 a year can afford not to believe in Santa Claus or Elves. When he gets hit in the pocketbook he goes to the ATM. When I get hit, I do without. Even if I can’t, or shouldn’t do without.

And I know this all sounds like grumbling. And it is grumbling for sure. But I bet there’s a lot of people like me out there wondering how to get ahead when trying to compensate for the recurring two steps back stranglehold of poverty.

“You load sixteen tons, what do you get

Another day older and deeper in debt

Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go

I owe my soul to the company store”