Everywhere I have turned this week there have been tales of woe. At work, at hubby's work, some family, friends etc. It has been an exceptionally sad week at my work. I have seen co-workers struggling with life, several clients have been in tears and even my husband came home today and shared two stories about people that we know in crisis. I have always tried to be an optimist, which can sometimes have trouble co-existing with my strong realist side. But these days the outlook is definitely cloudy and gray. The two biggest concerns are financial security and health. There are literally zero jobs to be had in this area. The diminishing "middle class" is getting squeezed by un and under-employment. The majority of the help available is designed for people who have very little. But the poor working family, who based their lifestyle on both husband and wife working, has been hit hard by this economic downturn. At WIC, people who have never had to rely on any type of aid are coming in and applying for benefits. Sometimes their income is just over what is necessary to qualify. Of course these folks don't qualify for food stamps, and with the rising cost of health care, fuel and other necessities their paychecks stop short of meeting their needs. They have paid taxes all of their lives, but when they need help the most, they aren't able to get it. It is frustrating to me as I am sure it is to them.
I have always been interested in the depression era. I have wondered how people survived the struggles of that time in history. I have marveled about the intestinal fortitude it took to make it through those times, and at the lifelong impact surviving those times had on individuals. I believe that we are in a similar situation in our country. The hardship is not as widespread, but to the people who are not working, or who have had to drastically reduce their lifestyle the effects are the same. I tend to be a patient person, but I sure wish that the economy would take a turn for the better. I think we would all breathe a sigh of relief.