While sitting here wondering where the next check is coming, I started thinking about how one may need to avail him or herself of what remaining social services resources that are still left.  I mean, while the Libertarian may say one should pull themselves up by the bootstraps, it’s kinda hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps  when you are barefoot.

So, as I found myself like millions of other Americans caught in a mass layoff – I trotted down to the Social Services office in my neighborhood to apply for assistance until the unemployment check kicks in.  While filling out the application, there was a section that asked for my gross income.

MY GROSS INCOME.  Not what I actually take home in this bastard.  And I began to think about how unfair that an individual’s application for a mortgage, lease, credit card, car – anything you pay in installments – the bank, the leasing agency, the finance company, the social services resources – they all qualify you on what your job says you make on paper – NOT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY TAKE HOME.  So, the social services tried to say based on my gross income, they can’t help me; I need to wait until it falls to a certain level (try 1978 standards).

From that qualification, an individual is entering into such agreements or seeking assistance are already at a disadvantage going in the door and wondering why you can’t make ends meet when the ends have been clipped without your even realizing it.

I did some googling and found this from Funny About Money.com (the blogger is in Arizona):

Take-home pay is typically about 60 percent of gross pay. So a person with Arizona’s $43,400 median income brings home about $26,040, or $2,170 a month.

Okay, so if the blogger is correct, that means you’re being qualified based on an additional 40% you don’t even have in your pocket to begin with.  My question is why can’t we be evaluated on what we ACTUALLY BRING HOME?

For those of you who want to blame the individual for getting into debt over his head, maybe being told he qualifies based on his gross income and not his actual take home pay just might have something to do with it.  Or not.

So I wanted to see what the taxpayer advocacy groups had to say about this.  There wasn’t a whole lot out there, but here’s what I found:

Here’s what I think: the standard debt-to-income ratio calculation is utterly unrealistic and unfair to consumers. First, a number like 36 percent way too large. Second, figuring the amount of debt a person can carry according to his or her gross income works a complete disconnect from reality! No one lives on gross income. We live on our net income! Because net, not gross, is what we have available to spend, net income is the figure that should be used to calculate a tolerable debt load.

In other words, finance companies scam the consumer by telling him based on his gross income, he can afford something he really can’t, because 40% of his income is already gone when he gets his check.  The government evaluatates whether or not they will assist you in a time of economic distress based on what it says you get paid on PAPER, not what you actually bring home.

The government of the people, for the people and by the people, are actually SHAFTING THE PEOPLE, when basing needs on assets and monies a person or family actually doesn’t have; when rising costs of inflation are not factored in (most services are evalauated on an index that was last updated in the 1980s), and not because they can’t manage their money.  It is difficult to manage SOMETHING YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE.  Think about that.

I honestly thought there would be more outrage that what I’m feeling right now.  Any JJPers have solutions or ideas, or can you share your stories with me?

One thing I have learned – I know what I bring home, and I don’t give two shyts what my gross says – and if the finance or banking companies I deal with in the future don’t like it, they may very well have to kiss my ass, because I’m tired of barely living at my means, and being put at a disadvantage without even knowing it.

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