12 Devastating Testimonials from Americans Who Did Everything Right and Still Fell into Economic Ruin
What does it feel like to be sliding down the economic ladder in America and falling through non-existent safety nets? Beyond the recent headlines suggesting that the worst of America is now being displayed in an explosion of gun violence, there’s a quieter, widespread and equally stark epidemic of downwardly spiraling lives in America.
That epidemic is the slow-motion descent into shame, despair, depression, financial ruin, assaults by predatory lenders, fruitless job retraining and homelessness caused by long-term joblessness. The House Republicans’ refusal to extend unemployment benefits has pushed legions of desperate people even closer to the edge—or over it, into the streets.
The Washington-based Center for Effective Government has been collecting stories of the longterm unemployed for months and has assembled anarchive of testimonials to try to push the House to act. Its most striking feature is that too many entries are from people who played by the rules, worked all their lives, and have now found themselves abandoned in this economy.
“I can’t believe I live in America,” writes one woman from Massachusetts.
What follows are a dozen excerpts from this archive. Their circumstances are haunting, because they are not that far removed from the struggles of millions of Americans.