The book is an autobiography about a Christian couple being forced due to a poor economy and a strange hidden illness, to travel the country for work. The story is about the working poor. The “Economic Slaves” as they choose to call those that labor hard, and get little in return. Kathy and Jim, the married couple were very close to becoming homeless on a couple of occasions and for a time lived in a motel. The two traveled to Sioux Falls South Dakota in search of a promised job with good pay and benefits. They quickly find out that the peaceful flatland of South Dakota will not be their home for very long. Their rental home is broken into shortly after coming to town. The job that looked so good on the surface in Michigan now turns out to be only a test without any of the well-meaning promises being kept. The next job also turns out to be only temporary because the employer needs a mechanic to fill the opening of a vacationing supervisor. They bounce around the country like a hot pinball machine. The two move next to beautiful Las Vegas. This was prompted by more false promises by a potential employer. What makes this move even more annoying is the fact that it was backed up by promises from a well meaning relative, Jim's sister. The road to Las Vegas turns out to be paved by shiny neon and more false promises. The promised job turns out to be of less pay and for only a couple weeks. The local economy is in sad shape because of a building freeze due to a water shortage. The couple was stuck! They were trapped in the local economy.
This forced them to check out surrounding areas for a possible job. Kathy finally strikes pay-dirt in steaming Bullhead City Arizona on the Colorado river (The Valley of Heat). They meet a good Christian couple here however, they are in the same shape as them only with two children. A lay off hits Kathy and the fill-in job Jim takes at the local marina heads him up the river with another false promise. They are forced to live in a motel here. They went to a local food pantry and were almost on the streets.
Therefore, with heart in hand and no jobs, we head back once again to Las Vegas and back to living with relatives. It was at this time, due to living conditions they are forced to put to sleep a long time friend of the family, their dog. The loss is never forgotten. Jim took a job for a short time in a Las Vegas health club and although the scenery was nice at the club, the stay was short lived. These un-kept promises between Jim and his employers shorten his stays. It is an exposé of how workers were treated and the VA claims process as well as how far the Social Security Administration goes to keep deserving veterans their just due during the early nineties. They are forced to move and live on an allowance from Jim’s sister. Shortly after moving in they find themselves moving into a very small apartment. This is because of a surprise guest, an old school friend moved into the sister's household They befriend a nice lady, a native of Australia that is in more trouble than they are, if that is possible. She is sick homeless and in a foreign land. Helping her in a strange way bolsters both of them. They leave Las Vegas after Jim bounces from job to Job and almost broke. They are left without a great deal of personal things and without a best friend. As they look back on this loss it was the most painful part of their journey into hell. This really hurt!
While on the road they meet some very colorful and interesting people. These economic vagabonds shared much of the same stories as them, some were a whole lot worse than theirs. Along the way they find out first hand from shelter dwellers that the economy is a living thing and not just some numbers batted about in the classrooms and boardrooms of the Whitehorse.
They also find out how employers can and do use your bad credit records against you to hold you Out of that much-needed job. We managed to keep some of these job applications to illustrate this point.
After a lot of long walks and trips to the library they both find a place that we liked due to the good job market. In addition, the cheap cost of loving is a safe bet. The area they chose was Louisville Kentucky. This time they decide to separate, Kathy goes to Michigan and Jim strikes out on his own to make a new Kentucky home for them. The parting hits him hard. It turns out to be a lonely soul searching time for Jim one in which Jim lives in motels trying to look for work using a post office box as a return address.
The people of Kentucky seem to be just what the doctor ordered as far as piece of mind is concerned. There is truly a culture shock between Las Vegas and Elizabethtown Kentucky, where we finally stay for about two years. The jobs were there but because of low pay, and job jumping, our troubles with money seemed to follow them. Kathy rejoins Jim in the Heartland of Kentucky, but the job changes continue. Finally out of desperation and despair Kathy asks Jim to seek help because of his job jumping. After reflection on Jim's past he agrees to go to a VA approved counselor as an out patient. He also goes into the VA hospital in Louisville for treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was the same problem that Kathy had read about and told Jim about back in 1984 that surfaced and caused his compulsive job switching.
They find out after trying to open a small business that there is , "A GOOD OLD BOY" syndrome alive and well in south central Kentucky. A form of geographic prejudice if you will.
Jim also tried to get help also through the State Vocational Rehab because of his disability and was told, “you have to wait until at least six other people in similar trouble signed up so he could attend an orientation”.
This stall job finally makes Jim go into the VA hospital. What follows is right out of a spy novel. He finds out upon talking to the local American Legion board and asking for help for other hospitalized vets. He is denied. Jim's request to establish a trust fund is brushed off.
The counselor never really helps Jim. He also found out on the second to the last visit to this homespun P.H.D. The VA in their grand wisdom is cutting all funding for individual sessions.
Jim finally got a 30% disability granted from the VA. It is through a lot of perseverance, letters he had wrote his mother over twenty years ago and faith make it possible for Jim to get the disability. Their strength and love keeps them together. They both end up becoming investigative reporters. Digging up any and all the evidence we can for Jim's claim. Sometimes the plot gets thick but the journey is worth it. This is a how-to-book for baby boomers and the vanishing middle class.
It also depicts in graphic detail the insidious ways in which employers use their cunning to get around privacy and age discrimination with the full blessings of the states they operate in.
It is a must read for anyone that has had trouble finding a job and has been given
that famous line. “Sorry but you are over qualified’. Which really means you are too old and smart for our company and we will have a hard time pulling the corporate wool over your eyes. They think you will enjoy this story of a period in lives, but for the grace of God, my be yours. Our government is supposed to be,” By the people and for the people”. Nevertheless, as they found out. “It is by the elite and for the wealthy”.
The upside finally comes for this nomad couple. It is not without much sacrifice and doing without. They live a long life in a survival mode. It is their faith in God and each other that brings them into a lifestyle most has enjoyed for years.
A true story about a Vietnam veteran and his wife learning to live with his demons. Living with the monsters of war was harder than dying for his country. It deals with his lost youth and respect of his family. This book takes on a subject seldom mentioned, namely the sacrifices that come about dealing with an emotionally challenged husband in regards to money and relationships. His wife and all wives of Vietnam veterans are the true Angles of The Wall memorial in Washington D.C. The Lord was their savior. Their faith in each other was their life-raft in a sea for darkness as they move about and do without.
This is a true story. It endeavors to expose how employers us and misuse their employees. The book fellows in authentic and realistic way how a loving Christian couple survived. It with their faith in Jesus Christ and each other move precariously through their worst financial years of their 29 year marriage that propelled. The Veterans Administration is also mentioned a get deal in this book because Jim is a vet in need of help. It seems that the government and his relatives have all but abounded him save one, his dear, and loving with Kathy.
We would like the reader to see the recession of the 90's through their eyes as well as experience it in a very personal way. You may have viewed TV shows about the homeless and you may have said, "How could someone allow themselves to sink so low?” You may even know someone who is homeless. You may, have helped a homeless person as they did while almost homeless themselves. On the other hand, God forbid, you may be among the homeless. The phrase, "There but for the grace of God go I. Has a very special meaning for you. “ We would like story to touch on the subject that, to the best of our knowledge is seldom spoken of, and if so, not too often. To a lesser degree lived and written about.
This subject is that of the working poor! We call them, "Economic Slaves”. These proud men and women are the select few that are hanging by their purse strings waiting for that last coin to fall. These are the ones that are just a house or rent payment or one paycheck away from the streets. They live from pay to pay, hand to mouth with little or nothing in the bank. These poor souls, if the cycle is not broken will soon become the homeless. These individuals are just too proud to lay down and fall the last few feet, or dollars to become the outcast subculture. They are the true heroes of the middle class. These economic slaves are financially poor. They may have creditors chipping at their tried heals. Some, may have become too broke to even hire a lawyer to declare bankruptcy. The scornful souls struggle on and hang in there, only to find out someone keeps greasing the rope.
We trust and put our hope in our elected officials to come up with the magic fix. These same bastions of public trust are in it to fix something alright, their own band wagon in grand style! As we write this, there are senators, and representatives that are deserting the ship of state like the rats they are. Is this a flash back or what? This is all happening because the American public was caught with their bank accounts overdrawn. The elected officials that were so concerned with our future were lining their pockets for a better life for themselves. Some of these vermin were over-drawn to the tune of three hundred thousand dollars with the White House Bank. The only excuse they could give when asked was; " Why wasn't I notified by the White House Bank?” The fact that it was about twice their normal salary was not even a clue to them that something was wrong. The other thing to be considered in this spending spree was the way these overpaid politicians could afford mistresses and condominiums. This was all on our money.
Of course the whole point here is they can't run their own life how in the hell can they help to shape ours? The example that they give is far from sterling. These elected double dippers seem to be lining up at the through to feed on the fruits of our efforts. These are the same people that would leave this country like a raped virgin with a large belly. They could live very comfortable off the money they managed to line their pockets of those three hundred dollar suites they wear.
However, we firmly believe, “That evil flourishes when good men do nothing”. Therefore, we all must force these officials to be accountable to the people that pay them and put them in office. Charity and accountability should begin at home with health care and education for the less fortunate.
It is great to help out the world economies. Nevertheless, we must not allow our own people to go without their basic needs, like in the case of health insurance or affordable housing. It seems in the U.S. we are like the shoemakers kids we allow our to go bear-foot.
The reader will get caught up on a journey through three states where two people look for work in each. They are in search a very modest life style, very much in love and trying to make it. The chase for that job that is as hard as finding a needle in a haystack. We will show you how employers lie in order to use their skills. They will at times even exploit them. This type of treatment saw the both of them to go backwards on the wage scale. The most complicated twist of fate is that we found out that Jim discovers that he was sick and this illness was keeping him from holding a job. The illness is related to his time in the service. They both knew it all along and even after he is diagnosed with this, the government will not admit to it at first. When the VA does finally do admit it, it is only a small percentage. As the couple travels through three states to search for some form of employment. The find some friends, fellow proud unemployed people, and a great deal of crocked. They are even forced to put their health dog to sleep because of an unprepared emergency move in with family.
Thank God that we still live in a country that the government allows freedom of speech, so that a book like this one can be written. There may be still some people out there that may not have come up against this type of trouble, for those this book will be very enlightening. It may help make your life a little less bumpy On the other hand, will it? To those of you out there in the same boat as this couple, taking of water please read on it may help you bail out. To the honest employers out there, we say enjoy. To the unscrupulous employers, the bleeders of human ambitions, this book may make you a slight bit uneasy. Remember you can't screw all of the people of the time.
This type of treatment seemed to be wide spread as we discovered from our travels. Employers seem to expect the world, they feel their workers you are lucky to be among the few, the gifted, “The employed”. Bosses can do no wrong, while their workers can't do enough right to merit some praise let alone enough to receive a merit raise.
The school of thought seems to be brought about in part by greed. Moreover, exacerbated in part by the Regan administration when he ordered the firing of the air traffic controllers. This sent a message to employers that it was ok to bust the unions and make the work-place a place of fear, like that of a slave. The North American Trade agreement sealed America’s fate.
It was also during this time that the teeth were pulled on the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) this was due to a work force down sizing. There was also a reduction in the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) work force. All of these have led to a less safe work place as well as dirtier air and drinking water. The only job security in the present day work-place is those skills that we bring to the job. However, even this is a fleeting fantasy. Furthermore job frustration has brought about a state of flux in a job market that was once stable. The new definition of job is “Just Above Broke”. The way most of us are. The days of the people staying on the jobs have gone the way of the horse and buggy. Who knows maybe the unions that once help eliminate child labor will again resurface to balance wages. This time it may bring about an economic revolution. This change is most felt by the present day baby boomers of the time awaiting their future.
So much for the soap box. Now back to the story. You will laugh at times, cry at times, but one thing is for sure. When you read it you will never view your present employer or look at the homeless the same. We sure don't! Enjoy the journey!