The naked appeal

No, this is a G-rated post. But it was the tagline of a Tweet I received the other day:

I’ve mentioned Rich before in the context of how it is to be a blogger (even part-time as he currently is) and struggle financially. In his case, though, the job he lost was his primary source of income and as a fellow casualty of the moribund building industry I can relate quite well to Rich’s plight. So I looked at his site and read this most recent tale, finding that unfortunately the unemployment insurance system doesn’t apply for him and the initial bottoming out of the recession not only affected his livelihood, but the potential for him to create his own work.

Yet it could be a matter of survival for his former employer as well, as Rich relates:

The really sad thing, is the company I worked for, kept the 2 illegal workers from Peru, instead of keeping an American.  After all, why shouldn’t they?  They don’t pay taxes on them in any shape or form…nor do they pay overtime.  That’s what really angers me.  Why should any American company pay an American citizen, or legal resident, a living wage, when they can pay an illegal worker less than half?  I mean really?  Why bother to hire citizens, after all, we can live off of the dole, can’t we?

The frustration evident there slaps you in the face.

Now I can even tie Rich to my Bob McCarty story from earlier in the week, since he once had an avalanche of attention come his way when he passed along a rumor (from what he considered a credible source) that Barbara Mikulski was retiring as Senator. Unfortunately for both him and us, this turned out to be false – but Rich had thousands of readers for a time.

That spark soon died out, though, and Vail returned to the occasional post and perhaps making a few dollars a month from donations and ads. But now he needs a lot more.

As you may have noticed, I also have a few ads, mostly text link ads now since some of my other former advertisers are struggling as well. So in the spirit of paying something forward I took the ad revenue I received for last month out of my PayPal account and sent it along to him – my rent is paid for the month and I still have a job, part-time as it may be (along with my writing client.) It’s not a lot, but he can use it more than I can.

Maybe someday I’ll get it back in spades, but even if not that’s all right. As he noted:

I had hoped that I might be able to get a single dollar from each person who visited this site, so that I could at least have a faint hope of keeping a place to live…

My original hope was to get people to hit the tip jar for a dollar or two…and help me cover my rent for July. We’ll lose our apartment @ the end of the month, as the management company is very aggressive in going to rent court if you are 2 weeks late.

So I’m spreading the word.

But what really saddens me is that there are probably 500 Rich Vails in our country right now, bloggers who have used their ability simply to put out a “bleg” because it’s their last hope before they’re out on the street. Seeing that Rich and I are about the same age (he’s 50, I’m 48) and remembering the good economic times in America we were both blessed to grow up and live our first 40 years or so in, I have to sit and wonder if this really will be the “new norm.”

To me it’s a generational thing: those who are Baby Boomers will suck all the oxygen out of the economy as they age, while those of us who inhabit what’s known as Generation X will be saddled with the bill, as will our children of the Millennial Generation and so forth. Perhaps their children will get out from underneath the load, but first their parents will have to quit worrying about which Hollywood couples are making up or breaking up and devote some serious thought about real change in this country. (That is, if they can find jobs.)

I lived through what was supposed to be “the worst economy in the last 50 years,” the recession of 1991, and that slowdown put me out of work for a couple months – I was laid off on the very day my ex-spouse and I got the keys to our first house – before I found a job as a CAD instructor at a local college; eventually, my old firm called me back after five months. Before that, I lived in a city which struggled during the 1980s as Detroit transitioned from a city with an unquestioned Big Four automakers to one shellshocked by worldwide competition that was selling a superior product. (Then and now, Toledo also lived and died by the auto industry.) Those were some tough times in the first half-decade or so after I graduated from college in 1986 – it took me six months after graduation to get my initial job in Toledo, as the work was simply not there.

But those recessionary times have nothing – NOTHING – on the pitfalls I have seen over the last five years. I’m not going to sit here and blame Obama, blame Bush, or blame anyone else – I’m just going to ask a question: Does anyone really care about fixing the economy for all of us, or are they simply out to exploit their fellow man in a game of grabbing all they can while the opportunity is there?

I’m seeing way too little of the former and way too much of the latter these days. Don’t know if we need a revival, an upheaval, or a do-over, but this shit can’t stand. So much for the G-rated post, but that’s how I see it.

Anyway, help a brother out if you can.