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07 December 2008

This goddamn economy. I just read this and started crying.
I feel for him. Somebody should suggest fewer words and a larger font size, though -- you can't read that sign except from up close. Presentation is half the battle. Or maybe that's just a rationalization. This economy does suck.
posted by stilicho 07 December | 18:21
Yes, I had the same reaction. Well, no tears but just really sad. Barry Ritholtz (big visible economics blogger in NYC) posted about him a little while back, so maybe that might help.
posted by guinness416 07 December | 18:36
Some guy in my town in that kind of situation posted big hand-drawn signs in front of his house. It led to at least one job offer, so there's that.
posted by danf 07 December | 19:59
Maybe he should look for employment somewhere other than the most expensive place to live in the whole civilized world.

If you aren't ready to relocate, you aren't desperate yet, IMO.
posted by BoringPostcards 07 December | 20:55
Someone is putting together a website for him. I hope all the attention will result in a great job for him!
posted by nelvana 07 December | 21:24
If you aren't ready to relocate, you aren't desperate yet, IMO

As he says here, "Relocation might be an inevitability, but moving costs money that we don't have. Also, our location in Beacon should be ideal because it's in the middle of the Connecticut-New Jersey-New York-Albany job markets. If I can't find work here, how is it going to be better somewhere else?"

Second, he is tethered to his health insurance due to his wife's illness and medications. He's presumably on COBRA; if he's in an HMO and he leaves his service coverage area, he will lose his insurance (I've personally been in that boat, and it was a nightmare). Given his wife's preexisting conditions, it's unlikely that they would be able to get insurance on the open market, or if they could, it would cost far more than what he's already paying (which I would bet is already over $1000/month).

Third, he has a mortgage that he's trying to continue paying. This isn't exactly a great market for selling a house, no?

So all things considered, I think standing out on a street corner wearing a sign is a pretty good measure of genuine desperation.
posted by scody 07 December | 21:28
I guess it is. I'm just bitter.

My mom lives on a fixed income of 24,000 a year, and just got socked with a 10,000 bill for a recent emergency room visit. My dad kicked her to the curb about 12 years ago when her health problems started to mount, and her COBRA coverage ran out long ago. Medicare wants to pay for less than 2 grand of her emergency room visit (which lasted all of 6 hours long), leaving her, and therefore me, wondering how to pay for over 8 thousand dollars of hospital bills.

So I guess I'm just jealous this guy has a support network, at least. My mom lives in a trailer in rural Georgia, so nobody's going to put together a fundraising website for her anytime soon, nor is her story going to be on CNN or BusinessWeek, because it's not news, it's just par for the course anymore.
posted by BoringPostcards 07 December | 22:24
Although I agree with Scody, the bitterness and jealousy of BP is quite understandable. And there's going to be a lot more of it as the economy gets worse.
posted by deborah 07 December | 22:33
And there's going to be a lot more of it as the economy gets worse.

Exactly. I think this is why I've been so upset about this -- because it's not just this guy. It's literally millions of folks, who also played by the rules and got screwed because of circumstances beyond their control -- just like BP's mom. It is so painful, so infuriating, so heartbreaking, to live in the richest nation on earth and watch this happening everywhere you look.

BP, is there a way we can help you and your mom?
posted by scody 07 December | 22:41
No, scody, thank you.

It is so painful, so infuriating, so heartbreaking, to live in the richest nation on earth and watch this happening everywhere you look.

Exactly. We can't ALL move to Canada, and that's fucked up anyway... we should be able to fix this here. But apparently, we can't. That is fucked up.
posted by BoringPostcards 07 December | 23:04
Sending $20 a month to cover medical payments still works in this neck of the woods. It bites to beg off like that but sometimes that's all one can do.

I got a letter Friday from SocSec-DC that told a completely different tale than the local branch told with numbers that make even less sense. I am beginning to think someone else had used my SSN by mistake at some time, and whoever cleaned up the mess just screwed things up worse.
posted by Ardiril 07 December | 23:19
Ardiril, sorry to hear that -- what a byzantine system you've had to battle!

And BP, Ardiril's right regarding the medical bills: see if you can negotiate a manageable monthly payment with the hospital. They just want something, even if it's the proverbial 20 bucks a month.

I've told this story before, but I'll tell it again to illustrate the point: a buddy of mine broke his neck in a hockey accident about 10 or so years ago. He had only very basic emergency coverage, which paid for only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that his surgery and recovery wound up costing. Afterwards, he negotiated with the surgeons and hospital to pay an affordable amount every month; they didn't want to ruin him financially any more than he did.

So give the hospital a call and see if there's a patient advocacy office or something like that who will work with you. *hugs*
posted by scody 08 December | 02:29
I cried for real. Big alligator tears. I am very, very lucky to have a job still with excellent coverage, and more so to be in reasonably good health.
posted by sakura 08 December | 18:50
PSA for the NYC monkeys: || Phone-book dress