Politics

What if we redistributed the tax dollars we currently waste administering poverty programs into a basic universal income?

If you’re a writer – or spend much time with a writer – one thing you know about us is that we like to play a little game called, “What If.” It doesn’t matter what the topic is, we will find a different way to look at it and say, “Well, what if X happened?” It’s where our story ideas often come from, but it’s also a way that we poor, broke artists often get through life on a shoestring and a roll of duct tape. A writer is basically MacGyver minus the cool 1985 haircut.

Meme: The median adjusted family income for disabled workers is about half of the median for others aged 18-64 ($13,323 compared with $24,487). Source: ssa.gov
The median adjusted family income for disabled workers is about half of the median for others aged 18-64 ($13,323 compared with $24,487). Source: Social Security Administration via ssa.gov

I often find myself playing this game with politics and the multitude of social issues that plague our country. This morning, I had one of those curiosity moments where – seemingly out of the blue – a question reared its head in my head and demanded to be Googled. So, I went to Google and asked, “What’s the average annual income of a person on disability?”

Google’s answer didn’t shock me, but its accompanying information did. Did you know that the median adjusted family income for an American WORKER is $24,487? I was shocked while also somehow not surprised. I thought back to the days when I was supporting two small children on that amount of money and how hard it was. What a huge pain it was to constantly have to find time to make appointments with my local human services agency to apply for food stamps and child care assistance, along with the regular recertifications, blah, blah, blah, flashback after traumatic flashback.

Continue reading “What if we redistributed the tax dollars we currently waste administering poverty programs into a basic universal income?”
DIY High

DIY High: On the plight of the Working Poor in Small Town America

Thursday, August 1st, I had the opportunity to present my very first formal book reading of my new novel, DIY High, at Ryburn Place, the former Sprague’s Super Service on Historic Route 66 in Bloomington, Illinois. If you’re ever in Central Illinois, USA – especially if you’re a Route 66 fan – Ryburn Place is a must-see!

Amanda L Webster read from her new novel, DIY High August 1st at Ryburn Place in Bloomington, Illinois
Amanda L Webster read from her new novel, DIY High, August 1st at Ryburn Place in Bloomington, Illinois.

Because I was speaking at a Route 66-themed venue, I tailored my talk to the location. The following is a transcript of portions of the presentation (minus introductions and other extraneous materials regarding the location and timing of refreshments at the event.) In addition to discussing modern life along Route 66, I also read a brief snippet from DIY High, which is also included below. Enjoy!

Working Poor Americans on Today’s Historic Route 66

DIY High isn’t about Route 66, but it does take place in a small town on this iconic highway. It is a small town, much like the central Illinois town where I live, with its busy truck stop and historic Route 66 tourist spots. The Paul Bunyan statue down the road in another town even makes a cameo appearance in this book. Continue reading “DIY High: On the plight of the Working Poor in Small Town America”