Behind the Business

Stop Holding Our Bootstraps! A letter to the 1%

To Whom It May (or may not) Concern,

Published by Trocaire and the Jesuits

Published by Trocaire and the Jesuits

My name is Average Ann, I’m your everyday American. I got to a junior college part-time, I work a full time job making $9.17 an hour, and I have another part-time job as a waitress making $2.50 an hour. This is before taxes. I live in a studio apartment near my school and my rent is $1,117 a month. This doesn’t include utilities, internet and phone, laundry, or food. That’s all an extra $325 a month. My car note is $254 a month, and the insurance is about $200. This doesn’t matter too much, because I can never afford to keep gas in my car anyway, so I ride my bike when I can. Did I mention that I live in Houston, Tx? One of the cities with the worst weather and public transportation, as well as the lowest walk-ability in the US.

Anyway, I am writing this letter from a hospital room, I had an asthma attack today and had to be brought here. I have no idea how I will pay these bills once I’m discharged. You see, I don’t have health insurance. My job doesn’t offer it and I don’t even make enough money to afford that monthly payment if it did. I’d use my financial aid to cover it, but I’ve spent it on rent. I’ve considered moving back home, but that would mean dropping out of school and moving to a rural town where I will only find work as waitress and making even less than I do now, plus I’ll have to pay back $2,500 in student loans. I just asked my doctor if I can possibly make a payment plan to pay off my hospital bill and they mentioned CareCredit. Unfortunately, I do not make enough money to qualify for it (which doesn’t make sense, if I made enough money for that, I could afford my hospital bills).

My car will now be repossessed and that means I will most likely lose my full-time job. I have 75 dollars in my savings account, not to mention I’ve missed an unpaid day of work. This means I will be short on rent this month and will have to get a title loan. Perhaps I can go on food stamps, but last time I tried, they told me I made too much. Do you see where I’m going with this?

My story is very similar to the many Americans who are not as privileged as you. Some stories are far worst than mine, there are students at my school who are actually homeless. One may ask, how? How is it that in a country as privileged as ours, are college students reduced to living on the streets? That is my question as well. We are all told that working hard will lead to prosperity and that only the lazy end up in these situations (trust me, going to college and working two jobs is definitely hard work, I’m nowhere near lazy), so why is it that people like us are forced to choose between food and rent each month? And from what my parents tell me, it doesn’t get better after college either. They are still paying off their students loans, while keeping up with a mortgage along with HOA fees, two car notes and insurance. All while caring for my grandparents, since their social security and retirement isn’t enough to sustain them. I guess what I’m really asking you is, how dare you? How dare you to tell me to pull up my bootstraps when I can barely afford flats?


The Average American

"Tiara Letrice is a Staff Writer at #mygirlsquad. She enjoys hot cups of tea, modern ballet, and Quentin Tarantino

“Tiara Letrice is a Staff Writer at #mygirlsquad. She enjoys hot cups of tea, modern ballet, and Quentin Tarantino

Written by Tiara Letrice, Staff Writer, #mygirlsquad


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