Comment 41098

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted May 22, 2010 at 22:18:35

I'm well aware that I often present one side of the coin.

I do that deliberately, because I think people like Grassroots do a wonderful job at presenting the other side of that same coin.

Make no mistake, I see both sides.

  • I know people whose businesses have collapsed, and they can't receive welfare or they'll be forced to sell their house.
  • I also know people who are social workers with young men and women who have been mistreated, and are now abusing the system.
  • I know young men and women personally from Toronto and other cities as friends who receive and spend enormous amounts of assistance money because their parents are so messed up.
  • I know people on disability for a variety of reasons. Most are very legitimate and I wouldn't wish them anything but better services and better conditions.
  • I have people in my family who have needed to legitimately rely on EI, and welfare even for a short time.
  • I also have people in my family who abuse the welfare system terribly and find sneaky ways to work under-the-table too.

Please don't make the mistake of assuming that I don't know both sides, or that I'm not sympathetic to those truly in need.

But also, please don't get frustrated when I present the fact that there are people who misuse the system.

Because my husband and myself get laughed at by members of our family who think we're stupid for working "so hard" (e.g. at all). And we have friends who think our priorities are all wrong because we decided school was important, so would to take on debt to go to school. They also laugh at us for being committed to paying that debt off. To them, higher education or work is stupid when "the system" will take care of you at a similar standard of living. They think we're even dumber for not having big-screen flat-panel TVs or cars or similar things on credit. These are people who have never made more than minimum wage, and neither have most people they know. They don't have the motivation of "a better life" from working hard or education because they've never seen it. (Or, they've always been able to rely on family or others for that "better life" and have no reason to work harder).

Just like it does for others on this forum, this hits home very personally for me. And I don't particularly appreciate hearing that I'm heartless or uncaring... when the reality is we're trying to be a good example and show people in our families, and our friends, who are misusing the system a different way.

We're trying to show them that there's value in working hard, there's value in being a person of one's word, there's value in fighting really hard to get an education, there's value to paying off your debts, there's value in being self-sufficient and not depending on people to bail you out of your self-caused problems.

It's still a very real battle for my husband and myself, and it's tough. It was tough when we both had to go from working full-time in our fields to both going back to school. It was tough when we moved to Hamilton and couldn't make our bills and worked at anything. (It's almost three years later now. I did factory temp work this month, I'm starting a new administrative temp job on Tuesday. I'll still do anything I need to do).

The last thing I am is unsympathetic or uncaring... but I also know how tempting the "easy path" of welfare and giving up is. And I know that's not the right path to take. So while I may agree that the deserving need more money, I'm completely opposed to giving those who misuse the system any more incentive to do so.

Comment edited by Meredith on 2010-05-22 21:33:04

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