Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Damn you New Jersey, Damn you.

For the past twenty eight years I have worked in New Jersey. I have been paying my taxes, and paying into unemployment insurance. A number of times I have been out of work, but I never collected a dime. I struggled and lived off of my personal savings until I found a new job. NOT ONCE HAVE I EVER COLLECTED UNEMPLOYMENT. I applied for it when I moved here to New Orleans and was denied. The reason: I voluntarily quit my job for personal reasons.

F*** you NJ, it was economic flight. I felt like Tom Joad loading up my possessions into a Ford Escort and fleeing the economic dust bowl of New Jersey. "I heard there's work down in New Orleans..." For the past year and a half I never brought home more than $500 during my best week of driving cab in the summer. Since last November, I had been seeing $90 in my paycheck after child support had been taken out. I pay $110 a week in child support for ONE child. I was working 12 hour shifts, usually 6 nights a week. My cut from the book was about $200, with seldom more than $70 in tips a week. Someone in NJ explain to me how I could live on $160 a week.

I was looking for other work, pick up the classifieds, point to one. So on average, I might walk away with $160 a week in my pocket. My rent was $175 a week to share a house with two other guys. Down here in New Orleans, I'm sharing a house with others for $75 a week. I left for personal reasons? No, I left for economic survival. If I am going to be poor, let it be in a state where I can get more for the few meager dollars I can make.

ATTENTION THOSE OF YOU WHO WORK FOR THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY Not everyone has a state sponsored job, not everyone belongs to some bureaucratic union or is a brother-in-law to someone at the capital.

For the past couple of years with the national economy on the decline the Garden State seemed to get hit hardest. Bedroom communities filled with yuppies who worked in Manhattan offer only service industries as an economy base for the rest of the population. Landscaping, food and beverage, dog grooming and driving cab are the only employment opportunities for the rest of us.

When the feces hit the fan in our economy, such service industries were the first to get splattered. Dad would mow the lawn himself, Ginger would get hosed off in the bathtub instead of groomed, and there would be fewer nights of going out to eat and drink. Even in the summer, we in the service industries suffered a major downturn. In the winter, forget about it.

I was driving Taxi at night in Belmar NJ. The Jersey shore is one of those tourism locations where you have to make you money during the season and live lean during the rest of the year. For the past two years or so, there has been a steady decline in summer rentals and tourism in general. Who can afford $10,000 a month for a summer rental if they are worried about being able to cover their mortgage.

ATTENTION FELLOW NEW JERSIANS, Louisiana has the second strongest recovery in the country. Look it up if you don't believe me. The people down here are pleasant and friendly. The taxes are lower, no toll roads, screw the Hardon State. They have been milking you dry for generations, and who are living fat dumb and happy? Lawyers, politicians and mobsters. If you're not one of those, then good luck on continuing to live in the Garden State.

Give me my unemployment money or I will be a thorn in your side for decades to come.


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