“I am not a welfare queen,” says Melissa Bruninga-Matteau.
That’s how she feels compelled to start a conversation about how she, a white woman with a Ph.D. in medieval history and an adjunct professor, came to rely on food stamps and Medicaid. Ms. Bruninga-Matteau, a 43-year-old single mother who teaches two humanities courses at Yavapai College, in Prescott, Ariz., says the stereotype of the people receiving such aid does not reflect reality. Recipients include growing numbers of people like her, the highly educated, whose advanced degrees have not insulated them from financial hardship.
“I find it horrifying that someone who stands in front of college classes and teaches is on welfare,” she says.
What did she and others like her do wrong?
She didn’t do anything to be put in that position. Nor did the forty-million plus others receiving assistance.
While stories like this highlight how desperate times have fallen on people who never expected them, what they also do is distract people from the ones who put them and us in this predicament: Wall Street and the bankers, aided and abetted by our own so-called “government.”
How many people would be going through this if we had had actual leadership in Washington that did not prop up the banks, that did not make them even bigger than “Too Big To Fail,” that required them to divest their post-Glass-Steagall holdings and return to the way things used to be? And what if they had also forced the damn banks to eat their own losses and insisted that all real estate was marked to market?
If anyone should be feeling deep shame and be absolutely mortified to be seen in public, it’s every son of bitch in D.C. who let this happen and has continued to let it happen since 2008.
It’s their shame, their fault, their failure.
All of you on assistance: Take it!
You worked your asses off to provide it for everyone else — so it should damn well be there when you are pushed into The Abyss and need it too!