Reform America
We the People demanding a voice.
About Us | Mission Statement | Statement of Purpose
subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link
subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link
subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link
subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link
subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link
subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link
subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

Voice of the Voter - This Week's Stories

Tell us what's important to you. Submit your article to Voice of the Voter today.
This page updates every other Wednesday

Surviving the Economic Downturn

As America experiences an economic downturn second only to the Great Depression of the 1930’s it is becoming increasingly difficult for many families to make ends meet. Many families have been forced to leave their homes and cut back on even essentials to keep from completely falling apart financially. In this time of hardship is there any way to keep afloat when opportunity seems to be non-existent?

The short answer is yes. There are many things that average Americans can do to survive the current crisis. Some of them require hard choices and others complete adjustments to the way you think and act. While it may seem like you have cut every expenditure and found every discount there is to find, there may be some ways to stay afloat that while unpleasant will keep you from being homeless.

One of the first things you need to look at is your bills. What are they and how do they rank in importance? The primary bills you need to pay are those that help you survive. Rent, power and food should be the top three to the exclusion of others if necessary. Other bills such as cable bills, credit cards and car notes may have to become expendable if they are budget breakers. Nobody wants a black mark on their credit but if it comes down to eating or paying a bank 20-30% interest on a credit card, to hell with the bank! We all love to have cable TV or satellite service but it is not a necessity. If not paying that bill will keep the lights on, it’s got to go. As far as internet service goes; if you can’t afford it, use the computer at a local library for necessary web access and let the DSL or cable internet lapse. If you need transportation to get to work and can’t afford the car note, try to find a carpool or take public transit to work if possible. It will indeed suck to not have the car but better no car than no place to live. Prioritize your bills and make sure that the essentials of life are taken care of.

Now if you’re out of work, have cut down your expenses and still need additional income, there are some things you can do to make money under the table and without having to undergo a ton of retraining. Look to the immigrant for the example. Contractors are still looking for people to work under the table and pretty much anyone can swing a hammer, carry a bucket or paint a wall. It’s not glamorous but it will put extra money in your pocket and not impact your unemployment benefits. Hang out at Home Depot in the morning. Contractors would much rather hire cheap labor that speaks English than cheap labor that doesn’t. You can also do handyman work for neighbors and friends for a little extra income. Talk to the local church pastor about finding odd jobs you can do for the members of the church. If you don’t know how to fix things, you can likely clean things or watch kids. There are a lot of under the table jobs people want to get done but can’t afford to pay full benefits and unemployment insurance costs to get done.

Another option is to get government funding to go back to school. There are loans and grants you can apply for that will allow you to go back to school and still qualify for government benefits to pay the monthly expenses. The U.S. Department of Education website can help you to find options for funding your education including grants and loans that are federally secured. If you have time on your hands and your marketable skills are limited or outdated, going back to school may be just the thing you need to get things turned back around.

In really tough times you can also sell stuff. You won’t get rich selling old stuff from around the house but chances are if you look around there is stuff you don’t use that is taking up space and doing nothing for you that someone else might want. Craigslist.org is a great place to sell stuff online to local people who might have a use for it. If you have already had to give up the internet service, have a garage sale and go to the library to post a listing for it on local parents’ group sites and places like Craig’s List to get more interest generated in the sale.

Another thing you can do to economize is grow some of your own food. It seems kind of silly to some people but with a little effort and minimal space you can grow some basic foods that will give you good food in a relatively short time. Things like broccoli, lettuce, turnips and cabbage all grow quickly and yield crops that can feed the family well. You can grow them in large planters and small patches of dirt around where you live. Many can even be grown indoors.

There are no one-size-fits all answers for surviving in a bad economy but there are things you can do to take control of your life to some degree. Hard times call for hard choices and there is not likely going to be a white knight to come and fix it all for you. Whether you work with a local church to find odd jobs or apply for government funding to go back to school while you are out of work, you need to do something to help yourself. These ideas are not for everyone but if they are something that fits your circumstances, they may help you. We can survive these times and even come out of them stronger than before. To survive though, we need to be willing to explore possibilities we have never considered before. If you are fortunate enough to still be working and making ends meet, maybe you can give a little to help people not doing so well. If you need help and people depend on you, don’t let pride keep you from doing right by your family. Better to sell the TV and keep a roof over your heads than to be homeless with a really nice flat screen in the back of the pickup.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article

Divided We Fall...Congressional Business as Usual

In the time since our new President took office, Congress has managed to be sharply divided along party lines in just about every discussion that has taken place. From the beginning there has been almost nothing to show that the current members in Congress from either party have learned anything from the 2008 election.

The American people elected Barack Obama in large part because of his message of a new way of doing business in Washington. We the People got excited about cooperation and compromise and so we voted to go in a new direction. Congress just doesn’t get it. We’re sick to death of the partisan bickering and boy’s club mentality in Washington. We are tired of the power elite bickering over how best to maintain the status quo while putting on a front of addressing the issues adversely impacting us. We want change and we want it now!

It seems that maybe we need to send a message in 2010 so strong that they can’t ignore it any longer. We need to vote 3rd party across the board and shock the hell out of the pundits. We need to throw all the bums out and put a whole new crop of politicians in there not loyal to either the Democrats or Republicans. The two parties have a single problem. They have become too power-drunk and out of touch with the working folks in America. We need to use the mid-term elections to boot both parties out of office and let them ruminate on the idea that their own bickering and extremism cost them control of the system. We need to ignore the TV ads, find a third party we like and send the “major party” candidates packing.

If Obama and the Democrats want to lock out the GOP and the GOP want to push an agenda of bringing about failure for the American people we need to send them all home. They are not getting the job done in a way that is consistent with their promises and that makes them all liars. Do we really want liars running the government? So, we send them packing and let the next generation have a crack at it. They certainly can’t be any worse than the corrupt, bickering, selfish people doing the job now.

Let the Libertarians and Peace & Freedom folks duke it out on the floor of the House and Senate for a while. Maybe they come up with a better plan. After all, it’s not the party that matters it’s the people in the party and what they bring to the table. If the Democrats and Republicans both suck, why should we vote either of them back into office? So next November vote third party and let the jackasses and the elephants in the room know that we’re fed up and they can see themselves out.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net

 

Contact Us | E-mail us your ideas for future stories! This is your site! | ©2009 Reform America
All written items received by Reform America become the sole property of Reform America. Reform America reserves the right to publish or otherwise disseminate (with author acknowledgment noted) the contents of any written materials received by us at our discretion. By sending written materials to Reform America, the author agrees to these terms and holds Reform America harmless for any use of the items they submit. | Views expressed in articles submitted to Reform America by our readers do not necessarily reflect the views of Reform America or its staff.