Bailouts and Blood Pressure

By Tammy Johnson Sep 29, 2008

As a Black woman, I am well aware that one of the healthcare risks that I face is hypertension. So I try to stop, take a breath and say a prayer when confronted by life’s daily madness. But this government bailout mess is getting the best of me. This weekend, I spent the better part of my Saturday working over my personal budget. Considering the fact that I work in the non-profit world, I should be happy with my financial situation. But dividing the kitty every few weeks is getting tougher and tougher with higher gas and food prices, increasing rent, and my ten year old Ford begging for attention. And like millions of sisters who survive on a singular paycheck and need a little extra to make ends meet, my credit cards are demanding more than their share. But Bush and the Congressional Democratic leaders aren’t going to bail me out. My neighbor’s wife is going through cancer treatments. He has a good job, but with kids to feed and a mortgage, additional medical bills aren’t going to help. The foreclosure rates for Blacks and Latinos in Oakland, California, are among the highest in the nation. That puts them in a scary situation. When the bank comes knocking at their door, who’s going to bail them out? My sister’s doing double time right now, working two nanny jobs and attending college at night. A little over a decade ago, I was lucky enough to get a few grants when I was in school and I’m just finishing paying off the few low interest rate student loans I got. She won’t be so lucky. Not only will she have college debt, but the interest rate will be off the hook. Who knows what the job market will look like when she finishes school. And that’s scary since the unemployment rate for Black folks has been in the double digits for some time now. Who’s going to bail her out? Non-profits are taking a hit too. A lot of community-based groups are at risk of being left out in the cold. Many of their funders have significant Wall Street investments. And as things continue to go south, funding streams will begin to dry up. As a result we’ll see non-profits layoff much needed organizers, narrow the scope of their projects, and a few will go under altogether. No one is going to bail them out. Meanwhile the good-ole’ white boys club embraces corporate socialism, as our government takes over insurance companies and uses our tax dollars to pay for their failure. Instead of taking this opportunity to fundamentally restructure our financial system, Bush and the Democratic Congress is talking bailout. They aren’t talking about nationalizing health care and providing better services. McCain was even dared to suggest cuts in social services during last Friday debate. Obama didn’t challenge him on it. And they aren’t talking about providing affordable housing or transportation, or rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and thus producing much needed employment, especially for communities of color who are hurting the most. No, they are talking bailout for the Wall Street set. The whole thing makes my blood boil and there is no polite way to say it. I’m pisses me off. OK Tammy breath……