Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Big Short (NOT a Movie Review Post)

Last week I finally jumped from the ranks of the UNemployed to the ranks of the UNDERemployed.  Hooray!

Sadly I think it's about six months too late to avert the financial apocalypse for me.  Unlike the actual apocalypse, I've known this has been coming for a while now.  But what could I do?  Oh, right, get a job.  Except that wasn't really up to me, was it?

At this point in time I have like $700 in my checking account, three credit cards that are maxed out and one that has maybe $10 on it.  And of course at the end of the month I have rent and health insurance coming up to be paid.

Then there's the olive to top this shit sandwich:  $11,000 I owe to the IRS!  Plus another $1000 to the state of Michigan.  But on the plus side I get back $6 from the city of Detroit.  Don't spend that all in one place.

And you might wonder how I wracked up such a big tax bill.  It's basically like this:
  • 40%:  A penalty for having to empty out my 401K so I could live this year instead of 30 years from now.  (News flash IRS:  You can't retire when you're 65 if you're dead at 38.)
  • 50%  A penalty for selling books on Amazon.  I mean really the roughly 35% I get charged is basically punitive.  It's really an incentive not to sell books.  If you don't sell a lot of books, then be grateful.
  • 10%:  An inheritance from my uncle who passed away last year, plus other miscellaneous stuff.

If you wonder why I Feel the Bern it's because I'm practically being forced into bankruptcy by the current system.  That penalty on the 401K is especially bullshit.  That rule only exists to help out Wall Street.  I mean the last thing Wall Street would want is for us ordinary schlubs to be able to take money out of their precious mutual funds whenever we want.  You know, the way they buy and trade stocks.  What's doubly bullshit is the Federales already took like $10,000 in taxes from when the check was cut to me.  So they already took 10% and now they want to wet their beak for another 5% after the fact.

It's amazing how cutthroat the tax system is for us little people of few means.  I mean if you're GE or GM or Donald Trump you get all sorts of tax breaks and incentives.  Trickle-down economics is still very much alive in the idea that if we prop up the big companies they'll shower benefits down on the rest of us.  (Which doesn't stop them from trying to weasel out of what few taxes they already pay.)  Meanwhile the rest of us are fair game because we don't have an army of lawyers and lobbyists to buy steak dinners for Congressmen and take them golfing in Maui and other such bullshit.

The one thing that bummed me out the most in my job search is thinking that I had been a good citizen and done everything like you're supposed to.  I stayed in school, didn't get in trouble, went to college, got an accounting degree, (eventually) got a job that paid decent and had decent benefits, spent sometimes beyond my means to prop up Corporate America...and then I was dumped on my ass and left for dead for pretty much 18 months.  I couldn't help thinking of all those sneering Republicans looking down on the poor people as lazy or just not trying hard enough.  Yet here I had done what they wanted of me, what was expected of me, and in the end I got hosed.  I'm certainly not alone in that.

It was worse in January when Corporate America decided to play a little practical joke on me.  A week before Christmas I heard from a temp agency about some long-term assignment.  They had me go piss in a cup at an urgent care center for a drug test and then made me wait, and wait, and wait all through the holidays for a background check that really should have taken about two minutes to run.  I mean all that's on my record would be speeding tickets.

But then finally the first Wednesday in January they call me and say the next day I can report for work in Ypsilanti, in some office in the GM plant there.  And I'm stupid enough to think, "Whoopee, my problems are solved!"  The money wasn't great and the commute would kind of suck, but hell, money's money, right?  I get there, which was a bit of a process in finding the right gate and stuff (I had emailed them to ask the night before where I needed to go and the smart ass reply was "If you have trouble finding the plant let me know."  As if I was asking where to find the fucking car plant you can probably see from space.) and go through all the security stuff and waiting in the lobby a half-hour for the smart ass from the night before to show up and lead me to the office.  Then she had me shadow someone all day.  I just pretty much sat there and watched and took a few notes.  At the end of the day I go to my car and look at the phone and see a message from the temp agency.  I was naive enough to think they were just calling to see how the first day was.  Nope.  The company decided they didn't need the position anymore.  So they literally paid me $100 to sit on my ass and do nothing.  I keep wondering what I might have done to piss anyone off, but I didn't actually DO anything!  They literally had me do nothing, so it's not like I fucked anything up.  I didn't get into any arguments with anyone or any fights or anything.  They probably just didn't like my face.

Wasn't that a funny joke?  Make you wait about three weeks for a job and then pull it out from under you in one day.  But I did get like $95 so that was something.

Lately the challenge has been trying to scrape together some money to avoid the complete nightmare of bankruptcy.  I've been going from one lending site to another, basically because as one says no they say basically, "You're screwed, but try here and maybe you'll have better luck!"  So you fill out one application after another, almost like trying to get a job, and they just keep saying no.  Or one or two say, "Well, we'll offer you $4000 at 35% interest."  Not that I wouldn't mind 4 grand but it's really a drop in the bucket.  And 35% is pretty much usury.  It reminds me of a scene in Fun With Dick & Jane (1978) where the unemployed formerly upper-middle-class guy and his wife go to the bank to try to get some money to avert their financial apocalypse and the loan manager is like, "Hmmm, well, I'll give you $1000 at 18%."  And they're flabbergasted by 18% but thanks to Republicans now we can be charged twice that!

In the movie the bank gets robbed a few minutes later and the unemployed couple decides they'll get money the old-fashioned way:  by stealing it!  You might think it's just a movie but desperation breeds that kind of thinking.  I tried not to get too desperate as the days crept on and the bank balances crept lower.  This month was where I really started to get desperate.  I signed up for a couple of "work at home" things that looked like scams--and at least one of them was.  I figured they were probably not legit, but it got to the point where it didn't really matter anymore.  I literally had nothing left to lose!  If you ever wonder why there's so much crime in the inner-city it's not because blacks or Hispanics are just no good (aka the Trump way of thinking) it's because when you're desperate and have no hope all those goody-goody rules start to go out the window.  Taking drugs and alcohol to try to escape the desperation only compounds the situation.  I haven't really drank a lot and I don't know where to buy drugs, so that hasn't been part of my problem yet.

Since I really don't seem to have much other recourse left, I decided to start a GoFundMe page.  My last attempt to raise $4000 to avoid losing a couple of teeth or not waiting to die from the infection in the teeth (which I'm told can eventually spread to your heart and kill you, though they might have just been trying to scare me) raised a grand total of $0 in like two months.  This time I'm being more aggressive about it.  I mean all these jackasses can give money to the largely fake GoFundMe for Kanye West or give $10,000 for some idiot to make potato salad, so why can's I, who actually has a very real need, get some money?  If every American gave like $.00004 I'd hit my goal in no time!

So if you'd like me to not languish in financial Hell for the mistake of my workplace being eliminated and being slightly successful at selling books, contribute to my GoFundMe campaign and spread the word!

Of course I'm not actually expecting much.  I already went to one (former) "friend" to ask him to contribute $5 to get the ball rolling and share it on Facebook.  Nope, couldn't be bothered with that because it's his "policy."  I'm sorry, but $5 and a link is next to nothing. Especially when you brag a little over a month ago about the 4K 3D TV you bought.  You have thousands of dollars for a stupid TV you don't need and you can't spare $5 for me?  No, of course not, because that $5 would start a bank run like in the Great Depression where everyone would start asking you for $5, right?  Ha.

But thanks to Sandra and Cindy, my only contributors so far--other than me.  Since Scrooge McDuck wouldn't throw in $5 I did it myself.  Unfortunately I can't chip in the rest of the $11,960 dollars myself as well.

So please give til it hurts!  I'm not serious about a lot of things or only semi-serious about a lot of things, but on this I am deadly fucking serious.  Help me, [your name], you're my only hope!

1 comment:

  1. Wow...I'm surprised your friend wouldn't even give you $5. You can also give anonymously, so it's not like anyone would know. And where is your family? I guess they're okay with you ending up on the street.

    But one thing about Job hunting. You have to do it 8 hours a day. You have to do it like it is a job itself. I know what it's like. I was divorced at the same time the economy tanked and I had a hard time getting a job after being a stay at home mom for several years. Even then the first few jobs didn't work out for various reasons. So never get your hopes up when going to a new job because you don't know what could happen. I also went back to college (with student loans) to update my skills. Eventually I ended up in a great place, but it was tough.

    I know some people work out payment plans for medical expenses where they end up paying a small amount per month. I don't know much about taxes, but maybe they do that with the IRS?

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