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I still listen to Rush Limbaugh.  In the past, I faithfully listened to the entire program. Now, I turn him off when he goes on some ridiculous rant or goes on at length about some point my real-life experience has taught me he is wrong about. Lately, he's been lamenting the fact that so many Americans are not working, even though they are still able to eat. He sees this as a bad because it does not encourage people to look for work. Like many Conservative commentators, he drones on about the poor labor force participation rate. Limbaugh never says that these people are too lazy to look for jobs, although this is the unspoken assumption. The truth is far more complicated.

The decreasing unemployment numbers do have to do with the number of Americans who have given up or who are no longer on unemployment or similar programs. Someone who falls off of the unemployment rolls because they have given up longer for work does not count against the statistics. Some, perhaps, have given up because they are lazy and do not want to work. Most people simply cannot find a job. Republican legislators, including the Republican governor of Indiana, seem to think that forcing people into job search programs will increase the labor force participation rate, or that involuntary self-directed job search programs will give the people they skills they need to maintain employment.

These are popular talking points among the Republican-controlled legislature of the Hoosier State, but they ignore the reality. The talking points reinforce the stereotypes that poor people are lazy and morally deficient. Their constituency loves this message and continues to vote them into office. Meantime, the actual statistics are ignored. Indiana has 20 counties that have unusually high rates of poverty, and Vigo County has the third highest poverty rate in the state. (This is something I learned from members of the Vigo County School board.)

As even the Deseret News pointed out, if someone wants the workfare programs to be useful, they need to provide incentives to both the participants and the companies who run these programs to find people jobs. Otherwise, the only thing that will change is forcing people off of the SNAP program. If that and reinforcing the image of the state as being hard-working is the only thing that matters, then the welfare reform programs in the United States have succeeded in their goal. If their goal is to get fewer people to eat or to depend more on food pantries, Pence is succeeding in his goal.

Pence thinks the IMPACT program targets able-bodied adults without dependents. It even says it in the program description. Political paperwork, however, seldom matches reality. People with severe depression, suffering from other mental illnesses, or people using canes or crutches frequently find their way into this program. The people in the program are expected to get notes from their doctors, which they may not be able to get if they do not have health insurance.Pence wants Hoosiers to have skin in the game. Neither he nor the people who use this phrase have any idea what this phrase means. If he means having a stake in it, I already do. I paid sales taxes and Indiana state income taxes this year.

sinisterporpoise: (Default)
 I've written about IMPACT in several places.  I think in a very specific case it is unfair. I've been referred to such programs in the past. Usually my attitude towards work was the problem. I may not have the greatest work ethic, but this was not the case this time. Someone just saw that I had been checked into the able-bodied box and made a referral. So far my doctors have been uncooperative in signing the medical exemption paperwork.   I get that my ailments may not be that bad from a medical standpoint, but it doesn't mean that an employer wants to hire me because of them.

I went into the office today to drop off some paperwork. I made it very clear that I only had an hour before I had to go to a physical therapist appointment.  I have tried, many times, to contain my anger and resentment. I know it's not the fault of the staff and their just doing their job, but they ought to be a little more concerned about how unfair it all seems to people in my situation. I called the staff worker back trying to see what questions she has, and tried to get her to move on to questions that I thought were relevant.

I started yelling at her. I've tried for so long to keep my anger against these people contained, but it always comes out eventually. I always feel guilty for doing it.  I'll have to end up apologizing, but the anger is not going to go away as long as I must continue this. The job search makes me feel worse, and you can't put down that you were sick or in too much pain to search for a job that day.  

I'm only doing it because the benefits are needed in the house right now. Money is tight right now and even the housemate is having problems.

At least new shoes are on the way. That's something...

sinisterporpoise: (Default)
 I am going through several emotions. First, I feel happy, although I'm not sure why. I’m  feeling a sense of relief know that I have a satisfactory answer about why I’ve had ankle problems since I was a child. The third bit comes from an annoyance with the job search program. Yet another part of me feels the need to ask what boundaries are in a social context so I can avoid crossing them.

As for the feeling good, I know to enjoy these moments why they last. They will be gone soon enough, especially with the start of fall only weeks away.  I’m not looking forward to it exactly, but I expect it will be slightly easier this time around.  The colder months of the year will not be pleasant, but this time I know what to expect from them. As for the obsession, I know it will pass eventually. It does make me wonder if other joints might be similarly affected, however.

Yesterday’s interview ended quickly when I said that I could not stand for an entire shift.  I expect if I’m just as honest about my health problems that today’s interview will go the same way. If I can’t get factory work because of my condition, I should not expect to get work in a restaurant, either.  Employers aren’t going to make accommodations for a new employee if they do not have to do so.

It’s going to be a long day, and I’m woefully unprepared for it.  I hope the paperwork from my doctor’s office that will exempt me from IMPACT has shown up today. I meet with the caseworker sometime after the interview for Fuddruckers. I do not know what has caused the delay, but it should have been received and processed by now.


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