I've posted previously about the work I've been doing to pay down my family's debt. It's such a slow process...boy, is it slow. But I'm proud to say that since starting this process back in mid-February, we have paid off $3,500 in debt AND acquired no new debt. We could've paid off significantly more had we been prepared for me to not get paid through the summer, but we weren't, so we didn't. At this point, it is what it is. Now we take a pregnant pause as we await September and getting back into the swing of things.
In the last week, there have been developments here in New Jersey that have been so difficult to swallow. Our Democrat-dominant state with our Republican governor, Chris Christie, passed legislation last week that will further cut my take home pay next year. It was already cut this past year. In addition to this, I taught without a contract last year and I don't see a settlement in the near future.
Wisconsin came to New Jersey this past Thursday as a bill was passed crushing public unions' abilities to negotiate their contracts. And I rallied outside my capitol building, I made signs, I called my legislators...I did all I could and still I will make less next year than I did this year which was less than last year. I am now required to pay more into my pension and more towards my health insurance. In addition to this, any future raises (generally spread across 3 years) cannot exceed 2% and I as make more, I will be required to pay still more for my benefits. Worse off are retirees, whose cost of living adjustments have been suspended for 30 years. 30 years! I can't even wrap my head around that.
How did this pass in a Democrat-led state? I was baffled until I started reading up and learned that a key Democrat, to whom many other Democrats owe significant favors, is in cahoots with our Republican governor. Favors were owed, votes were cast and this sh!t passed. The more I begin to understand all the politics involved, the rich getting richer on the backs of the working class, the sicker I feel about the whole thing. It's disgusting.
So what now? What happens next to the paycheck-to-paycheck family who is waiting for their income to drop still further? Honestly, I don't know. We pray, I guess. That the cars keep running okay, that there are no major health issues, that we can maintain the status quo for a little longer. And we keep going because we don't have a choice.
But I can't let go of the anger. Not yet.