Thursday, March 11, 2010

Priorities: UPDATE

Back from Houston with an interesting anecdote. While on the road I read a Washingtong Post article about unemployment. Money quote:

He receives $1,200 a month in unemployment benefits, less than half the $3,000 a month he brought home from his job. Now he is often behind paying about $1,500 in rent, a car payment and other expenses. "I'm stealing from Peter to pay Paul," he said, adding: "There's the cable, the phone bill. I owe the bank overdraft fees and the insurance is lapsing a little bit. I can't take my kids shopping for school clothes because I don't have enough to do that."

My question: What the hell are you doing with cable and a car payment, dumbass?

P.S. Check out this fellow passenger's impossible hair:

How do you get it to do that?!


  1. I can understand the cell phone thing, if he doesn't have a land line, or if that was the number he was using one his resume. Also, isn't everyone's primary number their cell phone?

    As far as the cable, I agree with the TV aspect of it. Cut that down to the bare minimum or out completely, as TV is basically worthless.

    I am undecided on if he needs a broadband line. If he is stupid enough to use the ISP provided e-mail as his primary, then he is screwed. Headhunters like to send an e-mail, and if he cancels his internet, he loses his e-mail.

    Then there's that whole AOL dial up thing. I would cut the speed down to the bare minimum rather than give it up and go dial up personally.

    But the hair - It is the White Guy's Aqua Net special.

  2. It's a sign of the times.

    I know everyone may not believe in The Bible, but one thing it teaches is that "contentment is great gain".

    If you think about it, being content with what you have been given, sitting back and seeing things with a clear perspective, can really be powerful and transforming.

    Here we are in the richest country on Earth, in one of the most desirable places (So Cal), able to watch HD widescreens, go to luxury food stores like Trader Joes (thank The Lord for Trader Joes!!!!) and buy anything you want.....

    That is rich.

    But people always want more than they have, and I guess that's even when they are unemployed.

    This generation is so ME oriented, and so RIGHT NOW oriented, that it's ludicrous.

    I cannot believe how fake people of today are, in so many things.

    And that hair photo proves it. haha

    But yeah, your point is well taken. When I was struggling to find work back in the recession of 1991, I was listening to the radio and living off pasta for a year. Having "cable" was the last thing on my mind. I was actually worried about "finding a living". Silly me.

  3. I wish I could find the article, because I'm pretty sure he mentioned a car payment too.

    Since most people no longer have land lines, I can understand not getting rid of his cell, but we have a perverse perception of "scraping by" in this era.

    When I went to Nicaragua, I saw POOR. Our "poor" can afford cigarettes, booze, gas, cell phones, internet, cable, etc.

    Related: Will they ever stop extending unemployment benefits? Can they?

  4. Carl,

    I found the article. I updated the post.

  5. It's called a toupee.

  6. Reminds me of the Cheech and Chong skit about some arab that had a toupee. "I have a Herpes on my head" Classic. Sophmoric, but classic nontheless. I got laid off in '91 after so cal took it in the pooper due to the defense market collapse. I was able to live off my uneployment and still have money to do things as I had a beater car that was paid for and my bills were minimal in spite of a cc balance. My half of the rent was something like 300.00 as I chose to live in a very humble apt on 2nd and Orange(even when I was employed). I was only our of work for 3 mos., but it tempered and instilled a strong survivalist mindset that continues today. I have still yet to ever own a brand new car and CC balances are paid off every month. Debt is indeed slavery and I want no part of it.

  7. thanks for the update, El Bee.

    I can say from my experience on UI for 4 months, it did nothing in my search for a job. It wasn't like I was looking forward to the $1220/mo as a "well, I don't have to work this month" thing. Crap, it was nothing with our debt load (I was 31 at the time, with a 15 year old son) and real expenses. Luckily my wife and I were able to get through.

    I am looking forward to the time when I am out of debt.

    My question for this guy is, why not ask the kid's mom(s)(??) for some help for the kids, if he is sole support. If not, then what does the wife bring in. I see this guy isn't looking for min. wage, but you know what dude.. Get two of 'em.

    He still needs to cut the TV (sorry kids, enjoy some movies we bought), and also get rid of the car for something he can pay in full. Of course, most of those are gone thanks to cash for clunkers.

    Then, he should determine if he should file Ch. 13 or Ch. 7 and start over. (I should have, but hell, I am choosing to honor my obligations).

  8. Glad to see you're flying American. Not only does he have to live with that hair, but he's stuck himself in a darn window seat...

  9. I'm pretty sure that instead of "impossible" hair you meant to say "impressive" - seriously, think about it. What kind of work must go into that every morning? You have to admire the effort.