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Ashley’s Tragic Story: A Heartbreaking Example Of How The Economic Collapse Of America Is Destroying Lives

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What you are about to read is perhaps the most heartbreaking story that I have ever come across. It is so tragic that I am not even quite sure how to introduce it. Some time ago, a reader named Ashley sent me an email that described the nightmare that she has been living through over the past year. Ashley’s email was very different from the vast majority of emails I usually receive, and I wrote her back right away and asked her some questions. One of the most important questions I asked was whether or not she really wanted me to share her story with the public. Privacy is such a precious thing, and I wanted her to understand that if I shared her story that thousands upon thousands of people would end up seeing it. After considering what I had to say, Ashley said that she was 100% sure that I should share her story because she felt that it could really help some people.

Sometimes it can be really easy to get lost in the economic numbers and to forget that this economy is really and truly destroying lives. The truth is that there are millions of Americans out there today that are hurting just like Ashley is. Her story is more dramatic than most, but that doesn’t mean that we all don’t know someone that could use our help. We have lost our sense of community in America, and thousands upon thousands of people like Ashley are falling through the cracks.

I cannot even imagine going through the things that Ashley has had to go through over the past year.  If you think about it, please say a prayer for her.  Also, let this story be an inspiration to all of us to stop being so cold-hearted and to help out those in need that are all around us.

The following is Ashley’s story as told in her own words….


Dear Michael,

My name is Ashley. I live in Upstate New York I have been reading your Economic Collapse blog for the past year. Everything that you have said is true. Our economy is dying, and the economic collapse has destroyed the lives of many, many people. I should know. I am one of them. I lost my house, my car, my feet and my father, all in just seven months.

My father and I had a great life together. He raised me as a single parent. My mother died while giving birth to me. So it was just him and me as I was growing up, and things were wonderful for us, but then everything changed.

In September of 2009, my father was laid off from his job after 26 years. He tried so hard to find another job, but he just couldn’t get one. The economy was too horrible. As a result of the loss of income, he was unable to continue making the mortgage and car payments. Our car was repossessed, and not long after that, the bank foreclosed on us and we lost our house.

We moved into a low rent, hole in the wall apartment and lived off of his savings and his unemployment benefits for the next few months. Finally, in December of 2009, I was lucky enough to get a part time job at a pizza place. It was a really long walk from our apartment, but we needed the money badly. So I took the job.

By mid winter, my old snow boots, which had successfully lasted me through several terrible winters, were beginning to rapidly deteriorate. They had holes all over them and they were splitting at the seams. My feet were soaked and freezing all day long. At that point, we were lucky to have food on the table. We had to watch every penny. We couldn’t afford to get me new boots. So I had to make do with the ones I had. My father worked feverishly to try and repair them. He spent hours supergluing them duct taping them. In addition to that, I doubled up on socks and wore plastic bags inside my boots, but nothing did any good. My feet still got drenched.

One morning, in mid February of 2010, I took the last walk I would ever take on my own two feet. There was a huge blizzard raging outside, but we couldn’t afford to lose a day’s worth of pay. So I ventured out into the blizzard and made the long trudge to work anyway. As usual, my feet were drenched and freezing within minutes of leaving my apartment, but there was no choice but to just stick it out. So I kept going. I finally arrived at work to find the place closed. Nobody had called to tell me. There was nothing to do but turn around and make the long trudge back home. By the time I got home, I knew that something was seriously wrong with my feet. They felt horrible. My father helped me out of my drenched boots and socks and we discovered that my feet were all purple and swollen. They were severely frostbitten.

My father was terrified to take me to the emergency room because that would have bankrupted us. So he did everything he could to try and rewarm my feet at home. He spent the next several days giving me hot chocolate, bundling my feet up in blankets, putting my feet on his stomach, etc. But nothing did any good. My feet didn’t get any better. They just kept getting worse. They eventually turned black and began to ooze. At that point, my father broke down and called a car service to take us to the hospital. The doctors told us that, given the extent of the damage, they would not able to save my feet. The frostbite had progressed too far. I ended up having both of my feet amputated.

For the next whole month, my father didn’t do anything but sob. He sobbed himself to sleep every night. He blamed himself for me losing my feet. I rolled myself into his room on my wheelchair every night and wrapped my arms around him as tight as I could. I told him that it wasn’t his fault and that I didn’t blame him for anything. I told him he was the best father any girl could ever have and that I wouldn’t trade him for anything. I think it helped a little in the moment, but as time went on, he just fell further and further into depression.

On the morning of March 15th, 2010, I was awakened by a knock on the door from a police officer. He told me that my father was dead. I told the officer that was ridiculous and that there had been a mistake, but he insisted that my father was dead and that I should come with him. I went racing into my father’s room as fast as my wheelchair could carry me, but he was gone. There was a note on his bed that he had left for me. In the note, he told me that he loved me dearly. He loved me more than anything, but that he had failed me. He told me that I would be better off without him. At that moment, my heart stopped as I began to realize what must have happened. Horrified, I made my way back to the police officer, and he told me that my father had jumped out the window of our apartment in the middle of the night. I went into shock and begged the police officer to let me see him, but he insisted that I wouldn’t want to see him that way. I started sobbing so hard that the police ended up having to take me to the hospital.

I’ve cried myself to sleep every night since. I’ll never understand how my father could have thought that I’d be better off without him. If only he had known how much I needed him. If it wasn’t for my extremely kind hearted and caring neighbor, I don’t know where I would be right now. She’s such a sweet lady. After I lost my father, she took me in and took care of me as though I were her own family. She has gradually helped nurse me back to health, both physically and mentally.

This is probably going to sound really crazy, but throughout this past year, you have been one of my heroes, Michael. As devastating as the truth of your words may be, it is refreshing that somebody has the good sense and the good judgement to come forward and say them. All the government and the media do is lie to us, every single day. I only wish more people would listen to you and heed your warnings. Feel free to post my story on your blog if you would like. You have my permission to do so. I just ask that you not reveal my full name and my email address. Just use my first name. Perhaps my story will serve some purpose in the way of helping to wake some of these idiots up and getting them to realize that this nightmare is real.

Best Regards,


  • Lauren

    I got out of the US as soon as I knew what was coming. Thank god for the people on this blog and the guy I follow in OZ over at they have been spot on and bring the truth, not lies and BS like the US government.

    I now have a green card and am staying here in oz. WSHTF the worst place in the world will be the US. I am glad I am out of there. I was in tears amlmost every day. I now have a job here and the people here are awersome, so friendly.

  • justamom

    Dear Ashley,
    Thank you for sharing your story—it is a wake up call. Your bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of such trials is not only inspirational but challenging to the rest of us. I will be watching my neighbors much more closely, ready to lend a helping hand wherever I can. Please know that you are in my prayers today; I am certain that the Lord will sustain you and encourage you in the days ahead. God bless you. You are not alone.

  • Stray Cat

    A heartbreaking story to be sure. My only question is, why didn’t you contact a local church to see about them helping you get a new pair of boots? Most churches put aside funds to help people out on small things.

  • Stu

    Very bad. And when you try and tell people of whats going on in the world they write you off as “your so negative”. Oh well maybe some are better off with their heads in the sand if that helps mentally.

  • Mike

    Assuming that this is verified true, some of us would really want to help this person. How can we do it?

  • Jude Moriarty

    I felt sick reading this story. Ashley could have had my boots. It seems inconceivable that in this UPSTATE NY town there was no place to turn. But that’s how callous society has become. Today there is a Super Bowl game – The stadium cost $1.5 bill – electric bill is $200,000 a month – tickets to game $2,400 – White House / wealthy all engaged in Super Bowl parties. Thousands are living in tent cities (freezing to death) – I read (deregulation) that over 200,000 in Mich alone have had their electric cut off. Food stamps – Medicaid – fuel assistance are all being drastically cut/ or eliminated. Meantime TRILLIONS have been given to the contemptible bankers / Wall St crooks. Super Power USA and a young girl has no boots and now no feet!! JM

  • Meranda

    My heart broke after reading her testimony. It shows that we need to be there for one another, especially when times get worse in the future. The modern day family is broken, as more couples get divorces, and children are split up.

    If you were to take a poll of how many people know their neighbors to the left or right, I would guess over 70% of people don’t know who lives around them. The communities of the past where a person would know who lives on their block no longer exists.

    Although, for some good news, we are seeing communities spring up on the internet such as on facebook and meet-up. Alex Jones is putting together a forum where people can get in touch with one another in their local area.

    ***We need to create a community around us to get through the tough times ahead.

    We subscribe to Free cycle in our local area, and it allows a person to post their unwanted stuff for free, but another option exists where a person can post something that they need as “wanted”, which could be an outlet for those who are in a better position to help those who are truly are in need.

    What does our God tell us about giving?

    Matthew 25:33-40

    33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    We all hope that our parents can be for us as we make our way out of the nest, and so Ashley’s story really touched my heart, being that she didn’t deserve what happened to her. Even though she lost her feet, her life is full of promise and hope, and she can do amazing things with her life. May Jesus truly bless you Ashley. Thank you for sharing your story*

  • Daniel

    Ashley, this is not your fault.

    The entire monetary economic system our society is set up on is predatory by nature. Someone, somewhere, always is left standing in this game of monetary musical chairs. Is it because you didn’t work hard enough? No. Some people don’t work. Their money works for them. Learn more by watching these two documentaries:

  • Antonio

    I’ve just read this story, and I got so heartbreaking with all this, look I got scared, I don’t live in the USA but I see that this girl is a human being like me in spite we live in different countries, I think your government forgot their people, I hope, not for the government but by the people that are suffering, that you economy gets better so that cases like this don’t happen.

  • REB

    what can be said…wow!

  • Degaz

    What a tragic heartbreaking story. I can only hope that Ashley can find some peace through all this sorrow.

  • Ryan

    Wow. My heart goes out to you…

  • Gary2

    So tell me how will Ahsley be better off with the republicans giving tax cuts to the rich? That trickle down BS doesn’t seem to be working.

    Ashley-you are poor because the republicans insist on giving more money those who need it the least (the rich) by taking it from you and me by trying to eliminate any type of social safety net for the poor. Conservatism has ruined this country. In more socialist Europe this would have never happened to you. Isn’t America great-we are a wealthy country that gives all the wealth to the top 10%.

    You had to wear bad boots (like I do) and tragicly lost your feet because of conservative republicans and thier sich policy of tax cuts for the rich.

    Ashley I in no way want to diminish what you went/are going through, however, if we do not address the cause of why things like this happen in a country as wealthy as America nothing will change.

    We have to tax the rich and spread the wealth IE: Tax the greedy (rich) to help the needy (Ashley and millions of others)

  • KK

    If someone kill a person, he might get a lifetime in prison or destroy 1 family. But if corruption that causes economy collapse will indirectly kill more families than the actual act itself. I think US should try to reconsider the crime which would impact vast people. Else people like Madoff and his executives may be still happy going around with their wealth. Make them pay for the hineous crime.

  • impeachRonPaul

    Republicans pushed a trillion dollar tax break for the top 2%, they dont care.

  • Stephen

    Gary2 = Troll

  • Jeremiah

    Stray Cat:

    While churches put aside funds to help people in need, this is not advertised outside the church. Folks that do not attend church would not be aware of that. Some folks try to muddle along the best they can and don’t always have family and friends to fall back on. It is true that families have fallen completely apart, leaving people alone and vulnerable. There is not always someone there to scoop you up. So, if you belong to a church, get the word out that you are there to help. Keep your eyes and ears open to folks that may need help but are not comfortable asking.

    Ashley: I am truly grieved for the pain and sorrow you have had to endure.

    We Americans have let each other down in many ways. I think of America like a family – a very dysfunctional family. Our selfishness has caused people to be hurt. It is an abomination that so much money is spent on a stupid game when that money could be spent feeding and helping our fellow countrymen. God will judge America for this type of behavior. It is not free. It is not godly. Everything we do in this life matters. God is taking notes. Let that sink in.

  • Jeremiah

    I just want to point out that Gary2 needs some boots. Is there a way to get him some?

  • ben roberts


  • CM

    For Gary2’s comment above…

    You cant help the poor by destroying the rich. Taking the wealthies money and giving it to the poor is not an answer either.
    My heart goes out to Ashley but no situation is completely hopeless and you never know unless you ask and that goes for jobs too. I wondered if she had asked for help in any way if there would be people to give it to her,
    I know I would have.

  • J

    Ok, the cost of an emergency room? WHO CARES! DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!!!!!! I see this story as 2 people who ignored society and assumed it is bad and no one cares which is WRONG! When I was 25 I was dying of testicular cancer that had spread to my abdomen. I was poor and didnt have two nickels to rub together. 2 hospitals saved my life knowing full well they would never be paid. My bill for all my surgeries and chemotherapy was $230,000. I didnt flinch, it was get a piece of paper with numbers on it or me laying in a casket. I’ll takes the bill with some numbers on it!!!!

    There are tons of kind hearted people like your neighbor and churches in EVERY community and why you both refused to reach out for help THAT WAS THERE ALL ALONG signifies an astounding ignorance of our society.

    Citizens in need should not isolate themselves like this. Who cares if the goddamn hospital bill was expensive? They will not sue you, come after you, throw you in debtors prison, etc. The hospital will work with you, even at $5 a month!

    ALL of this was easily avoidable. Your neighbors or a churches would have helped you get shoes!!!!! I am blown away by the astounding ignorance and it breaks my heart to read it.

    Then your dad abandons you by doing the most selfish thing imaginable. Sickening!!!!

  • J

    Ok, the cost of an emergency room? WHO CARES! DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!!!!!! I see this story as 2 people who ignored society and assumed it is bad and no one cares which is WRONG! When I was 25 I was dying of testicular cancer that had spread to my abdomen. I was poor and didnt have two nickels to rub together. 2 hospitals saved my life knowing full well they would never be paid. My bill for all my surgeries and chemotherapy was $230,000. I didnt flinch, it was get a piece of paper with numbers on it or me laying in a casket. I’ll takes the bill with some numbers on it!!!!

    There are tons of kind hearted people like your neighbor and churches in EVERY community and why you both refused to reach out for help THAT WAS THERE ALL ALONG signifies an astounding ignorance of our society.

    Citizens in need should not isolate themselves like this. Who cares if the ***** hospital bill was expensive? They will not sue you, come after you, throw you in debtors prison, etc. The hospital will work with you, even at $5 a month!

    ALL of this was easily avoidable. Your neighbors or a churches would have helped you get shoes!!!!! I am blown away by the astounding ignorance and it breaks my heart to read it.

    Then your dad abandons you by doing the most selfish thing imaginable. Our society is not so cruel and unusual, its you two who refused to open your eyes. Sickening!!!!


    the principle of democracy is no longer workable but already inadequate,is not only the product of corruption why america facing difficulties it is aready self destruction on its self.this things is asure you

  • This story makes me so mad, I want to get myself cool magical healing powers so I can make her feet regenerate, just so I can say “up yer nose with a rubber hose” to all the people who put her in this situation.

    I know, I’m weird, getting mad instead of heartbroken. But when I hear stories like this, it makes me snarl and hiss instead of cry. But I hate being able to write stories in which regeneration is common medical technology, but not be able to make it happen here in the Primary World (flunked freshman chemistry).

  • What a mess!

    Sorry to hear this.

    This is also a good example of how the rural areas of America are especially at risk to the consequences of the economic collapse.

  • Liberte

    When you globalize, or even nationalize to such a large extent, it becomes very difficult to prescribe blame where blame is due.

    Also, due to the nature of this crime, the police are always useless. Only an angry mob with pitchforks are able to administer justice.

    I posit that fear of mob justice is half the driving force behind globalization.

    How will Ashleys friends, family and countrymen bring justice to a moneychanger in Tel Aviv, Shanghai, or Basel Switzerland?

  • john

    I will pray for you, Ashley. Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me realize all that I have, and to give thanks. May God be with you.

  • alice

    We have a safety net Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Section 8, Social Security, and many more programs to help really needy people like her. The real problem is that, for decades too many people who don’t really need the help, are doing their best for generational dependency on all of those programs, almost as a career, and are draining the resources away from the truly unfortunate people like Ashley! I personally know of some people who’ve had their children falsely diagnosed with “ADD” and other “Conditions” by doctors, so they can collect SSI etc…, on all of their kids. If we could reserve those institutions for the truly needy of our society, we could really be able to care and help people like Ashley. Fraud should be reported to the authorities, so that those programs can be reserved for the truly needy! There are too many NEEDY people on those programs that aren’t!

  • Glenn

    impeachRonPaul – Please just shut up. This isn’t about right or left, who is correct and who isn’t . The fact is that we are where we are. The big question is what is you, me or anyone going to do about it? People need help today and it’s up to us to make sure they get it. Ridiculous, Twitter byte complaints do nothing. Find and help the person in need. If you can’t do that, then please just be quiet.

  • David

    AS I said before The Government of United States of America, Politicians, Congress . . . . . .are a sham. Shame on those, who destroyed our country and many lives have been shattered as a results.

    Don´t they have any decency, honesty and integrity? It is time to take control of this nation by the power of PEOPLE folks. How much suffering people like Ashley have to go through here! Enough is enough. It is time to take in the streets of America folks!

  • SPECTRE of Deflation

    And meanwhile we have the bankers doing God’s work while collecting $135 Billion in bonuses in 2010 while Americans continue their fall into debt serfdom and no hope. Don’t blame the small business owner on the amount of taxes paid to a deviant govt. where the taxes go down the swirling black hole of corruption never to be seen again. We are running a $1.5 Trillion Dollar deficit for fiscal year 2011, and yet people like Ashley are allowed to fall down a rabbit hole not of her own making. I imagine all collapsing Empires throughout history have stories like Ashleys, yet we never learn from history. Exponential math is a real bitch when you get on that particular train which always has it’s destination as, “off the cliff”. Anyone still shilling for either political party at this point belongs on a very short bus!

  • Chuzzle

    “He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Hmmm. Is this a reference to conservatives and liberals? Anyway, this is quite a heartbreaking story. Obviously we need government money to distribute boots to the needy. Come the revolution all will have boots! I believe Ashley still has an option.

  • Steven

    This is indeed a tragic story–testimony of what globalism has done / is doing to people. I’m sure Ashley & her father are not the only people whose lives have been ruined by this economy. Yet the question begs for an answer: how did this train wreck get started?

    Our first mistake was the creation of the Federal Reserve system, which essentially placed the regulation of the core of our economic system into the hands of a tiny elite of plutocrats which has controlled it ever since. Our dollars have lost over 96 percent of their value since 1913. Personal savings have been wiped out; in the wake of “quantitative easing” our dollars are buying less & less.

    Second, this society replaced a can-do, achievement-oriented mindset with an entitlement mind-set. This was institutionalized in the 1930s with Social Security & further institutionalized with Medicare: the two untouchables (& also the two largest federal expenditures). We did not see the Fabian socialists working behind the scenes “penetrating & permeating” our institutions & shifting the mindset of much of the country leftward.

    Third: we replaced God with materialism. It is true that both Old & New Testaments command us to care for the less fortunate in our communities & in society generally; they do not command us to elect politicians who create faceless bureaucracies to forcibly redistribute wealth from those who produce it to those who do not. When societies embrace materialism we end up with a Pickwickian choice between cutthroat capitalism & Fabian socialism. Naturally, a lot of well-intentioned, humane people will choose Fabian socialism despite the evidence that it won’t work: those who produce will cease producing (or be so encumbered with taxes & regulations that they give up – & MOVE THEIR OPERATIONS OVERSEAS TO MORE BUSINESS-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENTS). Then there is less & less to redistribute. Our standard of living is starting to drop both because of globalism & because of the unshakeable entitlement mentality that is forcing Americans out of business & making American workers too expensive to hire.

    Lastly, we have dumbed down the American educational system. Today’s graduates of four-year universities arguably know less than the high school graduates of, say, 1950. Most could not walk up to a wall map of the world & find Egypt or Iraq. They have no grasp of economics, & hence are in no position to comprehend the forces & personalities that are destroying this country.

    I don’t know if any of this is reversible or not, or if possible, it could be done in time. We need to get rid of the Federal Reserve; but honestly I see no practical way of doing so. If anyone thinks our standard of living is dropping now, just wait until the globalist community votes to end the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. I am making my own escape plans because, frankly, I get too much of the you’re-a-conspiracy-nut kind of response whenever I begin talking about the Federal Reserve or the Fabians or the Trilateralists or others who have clearly been working against the best interests of this country for decades. Not to mention those more interested in who wins the Superbowl or who becomes the next American Idol. For all our talk about plutocrats & the elite, we could reverse this at the ballot box, but it won’t happen because too many ordinary Americans are hopeless.

  • Just listwn to the Media & the GOV.
    \The econmy is growing, stock market is breaking all records, unemployment dropped to 9%, spending is up WOW!!!!!!!!!
    LIES and more LIES + CROOKS and ore CROOKS!!!!
    Sad Story

  • John

    The collapse is coming and Ashley’s story is courage beyond measure besides a wakeup call. I believe Jesus sees this and weeps alongside Ashley, yet giving her His strength to carry on. One day she will dance with Him. Many of my family think I’m crazy preparing/hoarding, but they will be the first at my door when it hits. This final round of greed taking of the last few pennies out of our hands while the stock market rises is great sin pure and simple while folks like Ashley suffer. If you love your families prepare, prepare, prepare…it’s gonna be bad.

    If there’s a way to contact Ashely, I’d like to help her out. Her courage is inspiring.

  • Read the article and the current comments posted, unfortunately billions across the globe are too poverty-stricken to even possess ANY shoes.

    Poverty is a RESULT and PRODUCT of government. Taxation is theft and robbing Peter to purchase Paul’s vote is ABSOLUTELY destroying many countries across the planet.

    There are only two types of human beings on the planet. Producers and Looters. The Producers are being taxed and regulated out of existence and they are quitting, retiring, and or fleeing to other more Producer-friendly countries.

    Ayn Rand and Tom Baugh both ask the same question in Atlas Shrugged and Starving The Monkeys respectively.

    Of course that question is…Who will the Looters loot when looters are all that are left to loot?

    For just one example we could point out our acquaintance who is one of the top brain surgeons in the world. He only accepts cash, gold, silver, etc. and always demands prepayment BEFORE the surgery.

    These brain surgeons and other professionals, like an ever-increasing number of Producers, are putting their feet down and saying NO to the looters and their hordes of bureaucrats, enforcers, and mercenaries.

    Again, the lesson for all is that voluntary interaction between individual sovereign human beings is the solution. Gunpoint looting, robbery, and property redistribution absolutely does NOT solve any of our afflictions. After the billionaires are looted, then come the millionaires, then come the upper-middle class, then come the middle-middle class, then come the lower-middle class, then come the upper-lower class, then the middle-lower class, then come the lower-lower class…eventually you end up with homeless people killing and BBQing each other just to exist one more day.

    Starving The Monkeys and Ending The Looterfest,

    John and Dagny Galt

    Atlas Shrugged, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)


  • Kevin

    My bet the root cause was NAFTA or China Free Trade. Therefore both party’s put her and her father in this unfortunate position.

    On the bright side we’re lifting up Chinese workers out of starvation and into just poverty. A big increase from a bowl of rice and a fish head to 50 cents/hr.

    The US Constitution in the Preamble states “For Ourselves and Our Posterity” that includes Ashley and her father and certainly does not include the Chinese.

  • sharonsj

    I also have only one pair of winter boots. I cannot find another pair that fit my feet at the thrift shops, so I’m wearing mine out too.

    As for going to a church for help, that works only if you are a constant member of a church. I am not and don’t want to be. However, going to the Federal and state gov’ts for help gets you nowhere. I found out you either have to be destitute or over the age of 65. Nor do I expect any of the clowns in Congress–particularly the Republicans–to give a crap.

  • Patriot One

    While tragic and heartbreaking it just goes to show that even in a city you need some survival skills.

    But really folks her letter states no one from work called her to say the business was closed due to weather. Couldn’t she have called due to the weather? To me that statement indicates she had a phone.

    So while tragic and heartbreaking it could have been avoided in any number of ways.

    I’m not trying to be heartless, but if you don’t look at what happened and how it could have been prevented. You learn nothing.

  • JJJJ

    This is my first post here, this story made me want to say something, sorry about my english, its not my native language.

    If you think this one story, it feels heartbreaking, its something that as a human being you think that should not happen. Also this was not just bad luck nor random event of nature, but something that could have very easily avoided if we would be civilized beings living in civilized society and really care lot about each other.

    But if this touches your heart, then what if you could hear 925 million similar stories, if you divide that to one year it makes 2534246 sad stories in ONE DAY! And every one of these numbers is living breathing human just like you.

    If it would be possible to hear and understand all suffering in world my heart probably would stop beating because i just could not handle so much horrific pain and desperate suffering in my mind.

    That is amount of people in the world who don’t have enough food to eat, and probably they also lack medical care, shoes and other basic needs. 14% of world population is in this state, and every passing moment more and more are falling in desperate poverty.

    How long will go until there is 1% of super rich elite who control the world and 99% of slaves without any human rights. Or is it already happened?

  • Gary2

    To everyone who says “how sad”, “my heart goes out to you” This is nice and I second all of it, however, you also need to DO something:

    Stop voting for selfish right wing conservative republicans who only care about the rich. Vote for policies that will TAX the rich and spread the wealth or there will continue to be many more Ashley”s.

  • Realist

    Our family runs a food pantry for the poor.
    We regularly see the same faces every month, month after month—The people who scrounge off the system.
    But then we’ll have a family come through telling us how aweful it is to have to ask for help. You see, most Americans are so proud they refuse to ask for help until it’s almost too late.
    The worst are the elderly. They will go hungry or eat dog food rather than come to the pantry for help. Why? “Because there are poor people who need the help worse” is their usual reply.

  • Freeman

    A tragic tale in a time of the Great Depression 2. Then you read Gary ImpeachRonPaul and you just want to wring their necks. This is not politics this is a human problem that folks should have prevented with a simple kindness of buying this lady a pair of winter boots. Government is not the solution we the American people are. Think about how to help your fellow man or woman instead of pointing fingers.

  • Terrwyn

    This is a very sad story.
    But why are people to proud to ask for help.
    There are a lot of us still with the means to at least buy a pair of boots for someone, but you have to ask. We are not mind readers.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    Ashley’s suffering is not only an indictment of the neo-feudalist robber barons who raped this country’s economy and turned the former USA into a Third World house of horrors called The Banana Republic of America—it is also an indictment of the country’s wretched health insurance system. In civilized developed countries such as France, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany, Ashley’s feet might have been saved because the minute she realized there was a problem, she would have been able to seek immediate medical attention without the fear of severe economic hardship. I’ve actually been to France on business and have seen their universal health care system first hand, and in that country, the well being of patients (including the poor) is top priority—not the profits of corrupt health insurance companies. Had Ashley experienced frostbite in Paris and been taken to the hospital across from Notre Damme Cathedral, she would have received immediate attention–none of this “Do you have Blue Cross or Aetna?” crap. No ifs, ands, or buts–saving her feet would have been top priority under the French medical system. But this isn’t France. This is The Banana Republic of America, where the peasant majority is expendable and their health and well being mean nothing. To quote Alex Jones, “We are in deep tyranny….deep, deep, DEEP.”

    Lauren: Congratulations on escaping from the Third World nightmare that is The Banana Republic of America. You are among the lucky ones.

  • CatNap

    “Pride goeth before a fall.” In the case of Ashley’s father, the fall was literal…as was his pride.

    Choosing not to take Ashley to the hospital because it would “bankrupt” him proves his folly.

    I’m sorry some are too proud to ask for help when they need it.

  • Stephan
  • Michael2

    There is no question that the American people are being brutally, moreover, criminally exploited. We have been tricked and deceived into every form of debt known to humnaity, from credit card usury, mortgage swindles, too student loans and the biggest swindle of all, Wall Street. It also seems the Patriot Act has been put in place to ensure that this dark side corruption continues too.

    Our supposed “Representative Government” has been turned into the three monkeys; it sees, hears and speaks no evil when it comes to corrupt giant banks and corporations. Government has enabled, legalized and appears to encourage the corruption by repealing laws like the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 and enforcing other deregulatory policies. We have a democracy to the highest bidder political system that now says corporate entities are counted as people. Government has even gone so far as to provide bailouts, bonuses and other golden parachute
    “entitlements” to corporations.

    Meanwhile, almost every social safety net that was in place to protect Americans is and has been being slowly chipped away at. Now we have tragic stories like Ashley’s occurring on an every day regular basis, none of which will be heard in the mainstream media. Every thing we have known has been turned upside down and those in power are spectacularly indifferent to our suffering. America’s jobs have been “free traded and out sourced” over seas in favor of slavery or extremely harsh exploitive economic suffering of those people. Yet our government who supposedly stands for human rights pretends this is not the reality.

    I hate to say this because I hate violence but I see why the NRA is so extremely, DEAD SET, against government taking guns away from Americans because it seems bloody insurrection is the only recourse being left to Americans. If American’s explode like so many other populations we are seeing in the news and those we don’t see in the news, i.e. in Europe, the world will be in for a long period of unprecedented chaos. I have a feeling this maybe one of those long hot summer scenarios.

  • I sat in disbelief as I read the story above and thought to myself, “my ****, this is 2011 and we are the United States of America”. We are a country who’s mission statement is one of liberating other nations of oppression and tyrany, yet we can not liberate ourselves from the grips of a bunch of bankers.

    What has happened to our once great nation? Why have we sat back and allowed the politicians and bankers to economically drive our country into the ground? Why is it that so many people know the truth about our corrupt government and the unconstitutional Federal Reserve, yet refuse to stand up and let their voices be heard. Why have we sat idly by and watched politicians pass laws which sent our jobs overseas? Why are there no public outcries of rage against the machine when we hear stories like this? When will we finally wake up and take a stand and fight to take our country back from the grips of evil?

    Ashley, you are a hero in my eyes and my heart goes out to you. I have republished your letter on my blog because I feel that everyone needs to hear your story. You will be in my prayers, God Bless You.

  • Spencer

    I generally like to jest at Gary2, but the truth is that I think his selfish desires to redistribute wealth would be SO detrimental to our country that it would be a 1 year high followed by several decades of mass poverty. Look at the Bolsheviks.

    However, he DOES make a point that people need to DO SOMETHING. But this should not be a top down approach (such as legislation), it should be a bottom up approach (helping your neighbour).

    To Jude Moriarty: As much as I agree it’s silly that so much money goes into sports, the reality is that that single football game injects hundreds of millions, if not billions dollars into our economy, creating 10s to 100s of thousands of jobs. It would be small thinking to say we should focus those dollars on helping the poor, when those dollars did more to help the poor by allowing the market to play out then by giving it to people directly.

    To Patriot One: hindsight is always 20/20….I have no doubt that Ashely has played the scenario over and over in her mind, as her father did. There’s no benefit in rehashing where decisions were made wrong. Realist raises a very good point, often many people who are in dyer need just don’t ask for help, and then stuff like this happens, people fall through the cracks. It’s disgusting, people shouldn’t always have to ask, we as a society should be more observant. Ashely’s co-workers should have noticed her boots, when she entered a store to buy groceries someone should have noticed.

    In my opinion the tragedy here is not outsourcing, it’s not football, it’s not nafta, it’s not rich republicans, it’s not Bill Gates, it’s not Obama, it’s not China, it’s not India, it’s not Ford, it’s not the BP oil spill.
    The tragedy is that the people living in the wealthiest nation in the world are generally just blind consumers, they care only about themselves, their needs and wants, their baby to look cooler then the neighbour’s by wearing oshkosk and baby gap. The tragedy is that we don’t care for one another the way human beings should. The tragedy is that most people don’t know their neighbours, wouldn’t notice if their neighbour were robbed or killed. The tragedy is that we don’t notice when someone we see everyday has duct tape, goop and plastic bags for shoes. The tragedy is that we see that and we say: “Oh wow, retro shoes man”.

    Like Gary2 said, DO something. Just don’t make it political. Notice other people, love them, meet their needs.

  • Bubba C.

    Charles Hughes Smith writes a 6-day-a-week blog I read (also his book)-
    He keeps it real, too, so I figured I’d share it.

  • mondobeyondo

    What an awful, tragic story. Our government has failed its citizens whom it has pledged to serve.

  • mondobeyondo

    For the love of Aetna, why couldn’t this lady get the medical attention she needed, without fear of going bankrupt? What happened to ethics and morality in this country?

  • g kaiser

    This is indeed a tragic story. But, seriously, is it true?
    I find some of the events almost to bizarre to be believable.

    Whatever the case is, no doubt we need to look better after each other. The “state” is not going to do it.

  • Vertigo

    So, how about those Giants!? Woo Hoo Baby!! Bread and circus!!!!!

  • David

    For the owner of this site, please read on this one, which appears to have some evidence that the collapse is coming!

    The collapse of America is coming:

    The History Channel | Today’s world has troubles unique to its time in history, from the global financial crisis to technological meltdowns to full scale, computerized global war. Observing the convergence of such events, contemporary prophets have begun to emerge from obscurity to suggest that these conditions might be signs of the demise of the modern world. These men are historians as well, using all manner of information and patterns from the past to provide context for where we are going. Their predictions interpret the current state of affairs in our world as evidence that the America we know may come to an end. The men proposing these ideas are not crackpots living on the streets of New York; they are intelligent, learned men who come armed with the evidence to back up their claims.

  • SPECTRE of Deflation

    Those who are shilling against Republicans and Conservatives need to understand that the House and Senate were both controlled by the Democrats since 2006 and took control of the of the Executive Branch with the election of President Obama in 2008. The debt ceiling was raised 6 times in the last 3 years and more than $5 Tillion Dollars was added to our national debt. The Frank-Dodd Bill was passed by Democrats, and in my opinion, is criminal and a travesty of justice. I’m not defending the groups, so much as presenting the true historical facts in the face of blantant hypocrisy.

    I call the former Speaker, “Cracker Jack Nancy”, because she said you had to pass the Bill in order to find out what was inside the Bill. When first elected Speaker she promised that all Bills would be posted online with time to study each Bill before passage. This lasted a New York minute. I won’t mention all the BS, “change we can believe in” from the President who’s done nothing but ramp the war in Poppy-Stan. I wonder where all that illegal drug money goes, or how how many times it’s levered?

  • wolfy

    I pray for you Ashley! Too bad I could not help you out earlier and find you boots at a nice resale store in Chicago. Two pairs! I would have bought them.

  • These are the consequences of modern slavery.
    Neoliberalism corrupted it all
    And no way out unless you provoke a global change.
    Where the economy is put at the service of man
    and not man enslaved in the economy

    The poignant story of Ashley is .. and history should have an answer.

  • Kevin


    “Stop voting for selfish right wing conservative republicans who only care about the rich. Vote for policies that will TAX the rich and spread the wealth or there will continue to be many more Ashley”s.”

    And do what vote for Democrats that have in overwhelming numbers voted for Free Trade with slave labor nations? This policy has eviscerated US industrial capacity and hence it’s former good jobs that are making government assistance necessary in the first place.

    The alternative is voting for Republicans that do the exact same thing.

    You can tax the rich out of existence and the US standard of living will still decline.

  • alice

    I can see why hardly anything gets done. Read all of these comments, and I can’t find two of them agree on what the real problem is about! If we can’t agree on what the real problem is, how are we ever going to find a solution? This is the first time in my life, I actually feel sorry for the politicians who have to come to an understanding/agreement. Please don’t make me feel sorry for the politicians, it feels like I’ve entered into the Twilight Zone!!!!!

  • Sherlock

    In Australia there is no cost to turn up at a hospital emergency centre. Nor does it cost to see a GP. We have much better out of work welface payments as well.

  • august

    did you check the facts on this one—doesn’t quite ring true—-


    just read your letter and i started crying half way through it. your not alone though you may seem alone their are millions of us that have had are whole lives destroyed lately and it is our gov’t behind the whole collapse, gov’t cares for nothing but it’s self. and our taxes dollars..WE all need to stand up together. with one loud voice,BUT NEEDS TO BE DONE, AND NOW!!

  • Mark

    I think this is such a tragic story, i mean the little girl has no feet now because the Rich man who owned the pizza place did not call her and tell her they were closed.
    And the poor father was so scared of using a ER that he let her little feet die.
    Well if any of you selfish rich people are thinking about donating a pair of winter boots to Ashley..
    guess what it …is too late!
    We love you Ashley



  • Willy

    This is so sad, i remember as a kid my dad would take my toes and play this little piggy went to the market.
    Now because of selfish America no one can ever play this piggy with Ashley’s toes. Think about it
    We love you Ashley

  • Josh

    Honestly, I am a little jealous of Ashley. If she plays it right, she can sue the pizza place that caused the loss of her feet and father for enough money that she will never have to work again.

  • This story IS tragic.

    Assuming this story is true (working at the same place for 26 years? Come On! You should be able to accomplish something financially after all those years, i.e., savings, debt elimination, etc.), it does support a theory I’ve had about how societal collape (TEOTWAWKI) could occur in this country.

    Instead of resembling a MAD MAX movie, it could simply be people going out with a whimper, for all of the people at the bottom rung of the “Survival of the Fittest” ladder(or most adaptable ladder); i.e., overweight people slowly starving to death on their couch, suicides, people running out of their prescription drugs, etc.

    As the “baby boomers” are still the largest age demographic, as well as everyone else on insulin, prescription drugs, portable oxygen, etc., I don’t see hardly anyone physically fit enough to do anything, much less cause anarchy.

    However, there will probably be some chaos out there, for which there will be plenty of lead to go around…

    For me, being on my own since 17, after a brutal existence in a brutal foster home, and no parents/rfelatives,I knew I didn’t have a plan B, so I’ve been saving and investing non-stop, my entire life.

    Financially independant and debt free since my early 40’s (now 46), to quote Derrick Jensen:

    “I’m sitting back, watching the end of the world, eating ice cream…”

  • sharonsj

    I want to add a comment to CatNap. It’s not pride. It’s not having the money to pay a doctor or pay for treatment or pay for drugs. Even if you go to an emergency room, you will be billed and dunned if you don’t pay. And they don’t have to treat you unless it’s an life-threatening emergency.

    Due to circumstances, I could not afford health insurance for 7 years. I did manage to pay a doctor just so I could get needed prescriptions. But then I found every devious way necessary to get those drugs, ordering them from Canada or from foreign countries (even though Congress made that illegal). Still, by the time I qualified for Medicare, I could barely walk.

    During those 7 years, I lived on early Social Security, approximately $11,000 a year. I did not qualify for Medicaid. I only got $10 a month in food stamps. There is very little help for anyone who is not destitute.

    Ashley’s story is horrible, but thanks to Wall Street and Congress, there are millions like her.

  • Dave

    No one “goes bankrupt” from a visit to the emergency room, and the people spreading this myth are partly responsible for Ashley not getting prompt medical attention. If your family income is below the Federal Poverty Line, you pay nothing. They’ll sign you up for Medicaid, and if you don’t qualify, the hospital eats the cost. Not until 400% of the poverty line do you become fully liable for your medical bills, and most people at that income level have health insurance.

    This story has two important lessons:

    (1) Your car must be compact, reliable, and fully owned by you, even if it looks like crap. Poverty is a lot worse when you have to stand in freezing rain waiting for a bus.

    (2) If you can’t find a job, learn to knit. Wool socks and mittens stay warm even when wet. They’re good for barter, too.

  • Sirena

    Michael, please advise Ashley to apply for Social Security disability and food stamps. I understand that some people are too proud to ask for help, but I would rather see my tax dollars go to help Ashley than pay for the war.

  • DownWithLibs

    Focus on the four “G”‘s. The end is near!

  • The Unicon

    I’m sure if John Q. Public USA hadn’t bailed out “The to Big to Fail” the shoe/boot would of been on the other foot, so to speak.

    During the Great Depression its believed that 7.5 million Americans died of starvation or malnutrition while our goverment under FDR payed farmers not to produce and even payed to destroy crops in storage.Its all about whats in it for them.Even B. Clinton wouldn’t of donated a pair of used underwear if he hadn’t gotten a tax break from it.

    Take care Ashley, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Trust in God not your goverment.

  • DownWithLibs:

    Let’s see…Gold, Guns…and… what are the other two?

  • Americans are not only detached from each other. We are detached from the rest of the world. This has been going on for more than 100 hundred years. We accept too much in this country. Anything over 0 percent unemployment is unacceptable. Most of us don’t care because it is not directly affecting us, yet. In other countries unemployment is a disaster. Egypt comes to mind. If we don’t learn to care about our fellow man, our fellow man won’t be their when we need a helping hand.

    WAKE THE HELL UP AMERICA! – Join the Revolution
    Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )

    We don’t have to live in fear. “Spread the Word”

  • CJFYuma

    This poor girl has suffered terribly under this corrupted, distorted society led by thieves, and a once mighty nation we call America.

    The “White Shoe Boys” on Wall Street, and the shameless politicians down on Capitol Hill, who’ve practically destroyed this economy for their own profit, will answer to judgement very soon indeed, and their suffering will be 1,000X worse than this girl’s has been. Praise God…

  • Freeman

    God and Guts

  • The Beast

    My Condolences to Ashley and the rest of poor and oppressed American people and all poor and oppressed people in the world.
    The fate of the oppressing regimes in this world will abruptly change in a way this planet has never seen before. Tunisia and Egypt will be the two starting points, the change will proceed to Yemen, the rest of the Middle East, and to the rest of the World.
    Just wait for it, good people in this world that know it have made preparations. God willing, the time of salvation is near.

  • Ryan Heinzman

    Wow people you just instantly accuse this girl of a fake story? No wonder america is dying, we do not even stand together anymore.
    And forgive me if I’m wrong but wasn’t there a crash in 08 that wiped a lot of workers retirement and jobs? Or does anything not see how for that 26 years everything has been slowly dying? I have been my job for 9 years, I’m 25 and I barely make it because everything keeps going up and up. I do not see it any easier the next 15 years. If no one sees how much utilities/gas/food has gone up, than you shouldn’t be on here. period.
    god bless you ashley. put time and energy into the lord and keep praying as I will for you 🙂

  • michelle
  • DM

    I have problems with this article. Why wasn’t Ashley receiving food stamps? What about welfare? What about churches and other organizations which provide help for the poor? Why were unemployment checks so short? There have been a number extensions to unemployment benefits. How much does it cost to buy a pair of shoes even if they are used? Has the author of this blog verified this story?

  • Awww, a heartbreaking story indeed… And of course, even in a perfectly equal socioeconomic system, some comrades are more equal than others.

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. For details, visit

  • Colin

    I find it fascinating and terrifying that when a group of individuals create an institution – be it a religion, a political party, or a corporation – that these creations act as an amplifier of everything that is the worst in human nature. These institutions suppress, persecute, and destroy both the human community and the natural world. We have been very lucky that there have been individuals and groups who are resisting these institutions, and that we still have a world. However, I feel that we are coming quickly upon a fork in the road – will we transform ourselves and our world, or will we destroy ourselves and our world?

  • Kevin

    The Unicon

    I read that when the draft was instituted just before WWII 20% of the inductees showed signs of malnutrition. That was in 1940.

  • SPECTRE of Deflation

    This poor girl would of been treated at any ER in the country, and if you don’t believe me just ask any illegal alien where they go for all their medical care. How can illegals know this but not an American? How exactly did things get so assed backwards that Americans do without while illegals are showered with gifts from the teet of the govt., and treated as if they are the victims?

  • Gary2

    Capitalism is NOT Democracy. Democracy enables capitalism but uncontrolled greed creates a plutocracy and that destroys a democracy.

    The Right spins a tale that we are developing socialism. We have socialism – it just socialism for the rich and top few percent which after they rape the economy, we bail them out so they can repeat the same action.

    If we are going to keep capitalism (and I hope we don’t) there needs to be heavy regulation to more equitably distribute the rewards of capitalism much more broadly. This means we need to tax the rich and spread the wealth.

  • Ever since my wife and I moved back to New York State a dozen years ago to help care for my elderly parents (ironically covered by four different insurance programs), we could not afford health insurance anymore for ourselves. Insurance rates in NY were double that of where we moved from, and went up from there for the self-employed. NYS did have a low cost plan that eventually covered our child (after we paid $12K or so for a C-section despite going to all our prenatal visits and following all the advice there; we paid about double what insurance companies pay, since we got charged list prices not having insurance and they get discounts).

    So I know all too well what it is like to have to guess about whether a health problem means you should go to a hospital or not. I slipped on some ice a few years ago and was not sure if I had broken something or not, but it made it painful to crawl around on the floor to play with my kid. I never went to a doctor for that, and the problem did not heal well for a long time, until I realized I was probably vitamin D deficient (regarding other health issues). So, I can easily believe Ashley’s story in that sense. Going to a doctor also means taking time off from work, which can cost you your job in today’s economy.

    The only good thing about not having ready access to sick care is that I’ve learned a lot more about how to take care of my own health — like following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s advice to eat more vegetables and fruits and to get enough vitamin D (that may help reduce C-section risk for women, too). Ultimately, prevention may be better that having access to sick care, if you have to choose only one.

    The comments are right though that NYS has things like Medicaid or Family Health Plus, although you only qualify for them if you are fairly poor. You also have to be knowledgeable enough and have the time and energy to do a bunch of paperwork or to get in touch with someone to help with that assuming you qualify.

    Still, NYS is much better than some other states in that regard. Our kid at least has benefited from a NYS program called Child Health Plus, although our kid may be about to lose that for a time due to the insurance company and NYS disagreeing about the paperwork rules. If you are self-employed, it can be just a mess in dealing with these institutions run procedurally — where employees are just desperate to follow the rules to the letter and keep their own jobs and their own health insurance and where any mistake you make in anything you say may mean you go to jail (every call to anyone announces it is recorded). Basically, NYS does a good job of making people feel like failures and fraudsters if you ask for help. 🙁

    Meanwhile, decent insurance for a family in NYS if you are self-employed and not in one of these programs costs about $1500 a month or more, and then you still have to hope that insurance will actually pay if you have a problem.

    Ashley or others in similar circumstances might also want to look into some of the providers like “Hudson Headwaters Health Network” or similar community health centers depending where she lives, that has a sliding scale for medical care (even emergency care) for those without insurance.

    So, in theory, that tragedy might have been avoided, but the system is not set up to make that easy, especially for anyone with depression or working full-time. And that is the deeper part of the tragedy, especially in a country as materially prosperous as the USA (although maybe socially bankrupt in some other ways?).

    When you most need help, that is often the time you have the least energy to go out and get it and deal with an abstract dismissive rule-bound bureaucracy. But even for those with insurance, the same can apply with disallowed claims and so on. The lack of access to medical care for so many in the USA is a symptom of a much deeper mythological problem in US society. (I’ll post a second comment on that.)

  • I’m sorry all that suffering Ashley has gone through can not be undone, and all of us in the USA had some small part in it by how we have voted and participated politically and financially in the past. I could hope someday Ashley gets to tell her story before Congress or the panels investigating the banking crisis. But, until then, it is good she tells it to other people so we can all learn from it.

    As we learn from it, we can try to prevent similar things from happening to more people. Considering all the wealth in the USA, it is our collective mythology in this country that is making things so hard for so many in the USA to get by. Google on “The Mythology of Wealth” for an essay on that.

    I made a short youtube video related to this general issue about six months ago:
    “The Richest Man in the World: A parable about structural unemployment and a basic income”

    It was inspired in part by learning that homeless people in wintry climates sometimes break the law just so they can have a warm place to sleep, food, and access to medical care. What does that say about our society, when criminals are treated better than people trying to play by the rules like Ashley and her father?

    Although her story also shows how devastating untreated depression can be, as well — but we don’t have a good social safety net for that either, like universal health care or investing in our communities to create “Blue Zones” of wellness.

    As that video points out, even the rich suffer psychologically in various ways from a system that encourages financial obesity and disengagement from the broader community while letting others suffer. Google also on: “The Culture of Affluence: Psychological Costs of Material Wealth”

    Limited demand for stuff in an age of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is one reason mainstream economics in wrong to assume infinite demand for junk. Robotics and other automation, better design, the accumulation of infrastructure, and voluntary social networks are other reasons there is less demand for paid human labor. As Abraham Maslow suggested, people also tend to focus more on social needs, psychological needs, and spiritual needs when their basic material needs are met, and those don’t require much stuff and may even suffer from involving money in how they are satisfied. People may even be motivated to do a better job for some things as volunteers, not as paid laborers. So, most of the social picture mainstream economics is based on is wrong.

    There are some possible solutions to rethinking our economic system, like a mix of a basic income (social security for all), a gift economy (like blogging or Wikipedia or Freecycle), democratic resource based planning (using taxes, subsidies, and regulation to ensure the economy meets social needs), and local subsistence (like through 3D printing, organic gardening, and local currencies).

    To some extent, we have some of each of them already in the USA, and people are right to point out that in some cases, these form something of a social safety net. But ideally we’d improve in all those areas to prevent more such tragedies in a more systematic way. I put together a knol on these themes in more detail called “Beyond a Jobless Recovery”, linked from that page.

    The biggest problem is that in the USA, the value of most human labor has been dropping, and unlike in, say, Western Europe, it is not assumed culturally in the USA that people have a legitimate right of access to the fruits of industry unless they are working. In parts of Europe, there is a sense that “welfare” is something everyone gets some of (like good roads, free college, free health care, subsidized quality child care). But in the USA “welfare” is only for those who are labeled as having a problem or deficiency, and who wants a label like that? It’s understandable that someone with self-respect and pride, like Ashley and her father would want to avoid that.

    That US approach may have worked when the economy was growing a lot (or may have not), but it certainly does not work well when the economy is needing less and less workers. There was no net job growth for the last decade, while the GDP grew 40%. That is the elephant in the living room mainstream economists don’t want to talk about. That change has eroded the value of much human labor, and so wages and working conditions for new jobs decline, even for those who can find one or afford to keep one. With all the advances in modern technology, this social problem will only get worse. And it is ironic, because ideally all this improved efficiency and technology should mean everyone can work less and have more time for family, friends, hobbies, and volunteerism. Instead, some people work like crazy, others get frostbite for want of a pair of decent shoes, and even others spiral down into deep depression when they still have so much to give to the world.

    We need to move to more of an abundance model (see “The Four Freedoms” speech by Franklin Roosevelt) where everyone feels that as a right of being a citizen they have at least some small claim on all the abundance our ever more automated industries can produce. See also the short-story by Marshall Brain called “Manna” for two visions of the future relating to a basic income. But there are other options as well like a gift economy, mentioned above.

    Now, it may sound sci-fi or impossible to consider that we need to radically change our economic paradigm to deal with the collapse of mainstream economic mythology. But, the internet, cell phones, 3D printers, household robotics, and IBM supercomputers winning at Jeopardy would have sounded sci-fi fifty years ago, too. We have to deal with the socioenonomic consequences of advanced technology, one of which is there is less demand for most paid human labor because of rising efficiency and limited demand.

  • ch240

    I’m not so sure about this – she’s been reading the blog for a year. Obviously she has access to a computer and internet. They could afford internet access, but not new boots? It seems a case of misplaced priorities.

  • Lots of things come to mind from Ashley’s account. You can blame Wall Street, government, or whoever you like, but we really do need to look after one another better. Little things we do for one another can make such a big difference. Plus, it’s too bad Ashley’s father didn’t get encouragement from someone regarding how much he was still needed.

  • mondobeyondo

    @ DownWithLibs

    The other two are God and Grub.

  • Hello,

    1) A Harvard study revealed that half of all bankruptcies are born from medical bills and over 80% of these bankruptcies were filed by individuals who with medical insurance.

    2) What are the ways to turn Crisis to Profit? There are financially successful individuals amidst this widespread crisis, are there not?

    Thank you,


  • Stu

    Best Wishes Ashley…sorry you experienced such a horrendous set of circumstances!

    But I do have a question, I’m not an expert on our current medical profession. I hardly ever get anything other than a cold (knock on wood!) and I’ve never been admitted to a hospital. That said, I’ve read time and time again where “illegals” go to the Emergency Room and use it basically like it’s their very own Family Practice service. How are they able to go and receive aid and medicine and not be able to pay…but a US Citizen (I’m assuming you are Ashley) can’t be taken to receive REAL Emergency care without the fear of destitution and legal recourse?

    It doesn’t make sense to me!!!

    I’m very sorry you didn’t have a resource that could of given you assistance with clothes/shoes and such!

    It’s true that we as neighbors and friends and even associations NEED/Should be on the look out to situations and people that could use a hand and a little extra help.

    As we see here, a little help and effort can make a world of difference in another’s life!

    Regards to All


  • pan_for_gold

    There is certainly a world of horror stories out there, and we personally are aware of some of them, but I’d have to say that there are things about this one that don’t quite ring true. As at least one of the commentators pointed out, EVERY emergency room in the country is required to treat EVERY patient who shows up–those with insurance and those without. And those who cannot pay are eligible for Medicaid, even if the paperwork follows the treatment, or programs like Hill-Burton (sadly not publicized enough, since hospitals are after all corporations too…) which are required to cover hospital costs for those with no insurance who cannot afford it. Within our family this happened to one of our adult granddaughters; there was no doubt that she got her treatment and the bill written off. Another commentator pointed out how odd it is that Ashley had no problem accessing the Internet to read blogs and write her own story, even if it meant going to a public library to do so, when she could also have gone to a thrift store, as another commentator mentioned, to buy a pair of boots. But, even if this character was created to elicit a predictable response, there is truth to the reality of current economic times.

    The commentator who mentioned that we’ve been going in this direction for 26 years could not possibly be more correct! At least in U.S. policies (and as the so-called ‘leader of the free world’ in the forefront of establishing economic policy that absolutely and directly affects social policy), the move toward extraordinarily greater and greater greed began in the mid ’80s with a system labeled ‘voodoo economics’ by the first President Bush. Think of how much more money, as if there is never enough, can be made by exporting jobs to third-world countries where people work for slave wages (and maybe in some cases actually ARE slaves…). Then, when other third-world countries are found where the same thing can be done even a bit cheaper, the jobs are moved there. It is monstrous! Those responsible for this never look ahead at ultimate results; they want what they want, and they want it NOW, with no regard for the future. There has always been greed, but today it’s there to an extent like never before, IMHO, and world reality (technology, the Internet, instant communications) allow it to be so.

    I urge everyone to see a movie called ‘The Corporation,’ labeled a ‘comedy’ on the DVD label but is no comedy at all. It clearly details how our WORLD, not just one country, is governed by multinational corporations who, through their lobbying abilities, actually govern countries as well. This is not the easiest movie to find, and that alone might make it even more worthwhile to see. And even in the pretense of governing, here in the U.S. we are virtually ungovernable–another elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge the real implications of–in political intransigence that began with President Nixon resigning for alleged crimes to avoid being impeached and having the truth come out, followed by nearly four decades of ‘business as usual’ virtually solely along political party lines with nothing getting accomplished other than the lobbyists seeing that the corporations govern the country….

    We are in deep excrement! And those who do not recognize that WE are on our way to becoming a third-world are in denial of that elephant taking up the bulk of the room….

  • Patrick Faiola

    I do not understand the part about not affording a pair of boots, it just makes no sense to me with shoes selling so cheaply as they are in Walmarts and Target stores. I am not saying I doubt her story whether it is true or not, but 30 dollars first out of her paycheck should have been a priority. Why blame the Govt for this mess, the majority of the citizens wanted to vote themselves a living and now this is the out-come.

  • Ivan

    hi from russia.

    a really awful stuff friends innit? i never comment anything bout USA – it aint none of my biz, but
    this case is special
    yes indeen let us pray over that woman n her dad – but let us think over-

    we have lived in the such situation here in former ussr n warsaw bloc – since 1991 thanks to bloody Gorbie///
    u donno how many such stuff from russias hungaries latvians etc i have heard… thouthandns
    i was brough up by single mother in 1990s here in central russia – n remember similar stuff in my own life


    be prepared people- dont commit suicides ! it gonna last for long long time… we ll try set up socialism n freedom which we had in USSR… do the same over thre
    but -wait – fight – and be wise n pacient///

  • esclaura

    This made me cry when i read it, but the more i think about it, the less i believe it’s true. The dad was laid off in sept 09 and by dec 09 they were kicked out of their house? Foreclosures don’t happen that fast. And who doesn’t replace leaking boots? She could have bought some for $5 at goodwill. And why did he lose the house AND the car? If he couldn’t pay for the house, wouldn’t he have used his UE pmts to pay the car pmt? And why did he decline to use the ER for fear of being bankrupt? He had nothing else to lose at that point. So many things make no sense here. If this is a true story I feel very sorry for this girl.

  • Rohit

    i’m not from U.S. but i follow your blog sir..
    I will pray for Ashley and hope things get back to normal soon around the Globe.

  • Charles

    Very sad history, finally America is being touch by poverty as many many other countries have been there for centuries.

    America wont wake up until these kind of stories are in front of us every day.

    Thank the FED and the twisted politcks for 30 years of fraud to prop bubble after bubble.

  • eddyray

    The reason they were unable to get any assistance was because they were NOT illegal aliens, who get EVERYTHING for free at OUR EXPENSE!!!!!

  • Charlie

    This story made me sick to my stomach, honestly i vomited throughout the night. Just to think of all the selfish people in this USA. They think of their cars and their homes and their paychecks. Oh what am i gonna do this Friday i need tickets to the game to the concert, i need a new dress, a new pair of shoes!
    And Ashley what does she have to look forward to?
    NO FEET! how the hell can any of you selfish people think of another materialistic object again?

  • Ron Paul was right all along.

    Illegals cost the American tax payer 300 BILLION dollars a YEAR. Asi es. Es verdad! Si..Americans don’t even have enough jobs for Americans. The wars are a waste of time and bankrupting America, along with the government worker million dollar defined benefit pensions. The rest of us are tax slaves.

  • Stray Cat

    To SharonSJ;
    Bullshit. You do NOT have to be a member of a church in order for them to help you. If you have come across one that is that way, they should be ashamed of themselves.
    Having said that, Ashley herself and her dad do bear some responsibility for this mess. Shoulda called work to check if they were open and dad shoulda placed his own daughters welfare above his own fears. And if he thinks killing himself was the answer, well he’s dumber than a box of rocks.

  • laura

    I agree with eddy ray; they weren’t illegal immigrants. Salvation Army does give out clothes/shoes to the poor. Soup kitchens feed them. It didn’t give Ashley’s age, if under 18 she would have been better off in foster care, since her father couldn’t provide the basics. People need to relocate (like we had to 30 years ago) to get work. Many that can’t afford to raise kids should have any. That’s why we never raised any; that luxury is for the wealthy classes.

  • Hi, Michael

    I linked this heartbreaking story in my blog
    I think everyone should know


  • I’m Sorry,
    I forgot the link

    La trágica historia de Ashley

  • Sarah

    I don’t know, I’m just having some doubts about the truth of this story. I mean, days of trying to warm her feet without medical care, but then it was ok to go to the hospital to amputate them? No one to turn to..the Salvation Army gives free clothing and boots to poor people and there are many other charities who do that as well (Planet Aid, Big Brother/Big Sister). The story is just a little over the top to be real.

  • darla

    The collapse of the economy is caused by few greedy stupid selfish people in Wall Street. these People would rather see everyone suffering as long as they can maintain their unnecessary luxurious lifestyle and billions in the bank. Which off course will not be useful to them when they die. Ashley’s story is very tragic and I’m sorry for it. But there are a lot of people who are suffering in the world too, right now how about a
    a six years old orphan child in Africa whose parents died of Aids He has a to care for his younger sibling ages 12 months to four, how about an African mother who would sacrifice herself to be rape in order to save her children’s life but in the end have all of them killed in war torn Sudan. There are a lot of suffering in the world one more tragic than the other. There is no difference about it. Nothing can make it better, but with all this suffering we all are gifted with that inner strength which is our will to survive, it is raw and inherent it is within us if we cling to that instinct and with the kindness of our heart. We can overcome our tragedies and be able to help other. Maybe this crisis we are suffering will be reversible.

  • this story sounds made up. but if not, then it is an awful tragic story. sometimes the government needs to step in and help.

  • upstateNYprof

    I am a native of Upstate NY, and have been fortunate enough to be able to make my life here, in the midst of a community that has known my family for generations. This recession has taken the means to live a normal life from so many who have never had to ask for help before. I see it every day in friends, neighbors, family who are too proud to admit they need help… and probably have no idea what help is available to them if the did realize it. The tragedy of Ashley and her father might have been averted perhaps if they had remained in their former community… but in a cheap hole-in-the wall apartment, it is probable that their former friends and family might not want to come visit them, and their new neighbors too wrapped up in their own daily drudgery to notice the distress of the strangers dropped in their midst.
    Unfortunately, there is really nothing unbelievable in this story. But believing it does not make me any less sad that I (perhaps) live so close, and yet was unable to do anything to help.

  • Bill

    Made up story? If you can think that, then you should count your lucky stars that the wreck of this economy hasn’t affected you personally!

    My wife and I are still employed and helping our struggling adult kids. We are also helping a friend and former employer who was at one time a multi-millionaire commercial contractor/developer. He’s lost his business, his home, his wife divorced him and thanks to the stress he had a run in with the law. Now, he’s in the clutches of the legal system and is being ground down even more. In the meantime we take care of his animals, his car and provide a meal along with a place to stay when needed.

    People, look around you and find those in need. There’s scads of folks hurting today, and the only way America is going to rebuild is by neighbor helping neighbor. Give somebody a helping hand, you may need it yourself someday!

  • julius spencer

    I am wondering how she pays for email access and obviously is familiar with THIS website? If she uses the FREE computers at the library, then of course, I understand. How does she get there in the winter? If the story is 100% true, sadly neither of them had GOOD coping skills, especially the Father. Perhaps he had too much pride to ASK agencies, churches, anyone for HELP. Perhaps her pizza shop boss would have bought her NEW boots. This elderly person is somewhat skeptical of the veracity of the story. If true, I hope that she is NOW in a place where they care for her, provide job training, and help her get a job.

  • Rhonda

    Michael if this is the most heartbreaking story you have ever come across like you said it perhaps was then I can only say you dont get out much. Try reading the story of little Peter Connelly or the many other stories like his. I have no doubt the girl fell on hard times as we all have due to the economy but I suppose the old saying where there is a will there is a way is somewhat true. I could take my own situation and juice it up a tad bit and it would bring a tear to your eye but as bad as things are I know that a pity party is not what I need or want. Could go on for days about this but I will stop here. Its possible that we “Aint Seen Nothin Yet” compared to where we may all end up.

  • Hiei

    Just one question: Ashley can’t afford new boots and almost food but can afford an Internet connection to read your blog and exchange e-mails?

    I think I got something wrong.

    • black ghost

      I wss thinking the same thing.

  • Alexis

    I believe this story is true somewhat, but than agian i dont.
    She gets the Internet now, by that person that toke her to take care of her. if you read that story you would know that is.
    I heard New York is a touch place, but that person above said she lived in Uptown New York, you would think she could hear about that story?
    Im just saying.

  • Barney

    The story breaks my heart. Unfortunately this story isn’t unique. I thank God for people like Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Mark Faber, Tom Woods, Gerald Celente and many others who are helping wake up the sleeping. I woke up in 2008 and have been plagued with fear my loved ones will suffer greatly in the years ahead. I have spent the last few years waking up other family members and friends. The globalist politicians and banker shills have robbed this country for everything it has.

  • Sarah

    I believe this story. My story was pretty insane also. I almost died twice, had 3 car accidents, weazled out of a bonus while my boss got a HUGE bonus, slept on a shut down freeway because they wouldn’t let anyone pass over and the hotels were too expensive, two layoffs, no bank account, the rise of the TSA and their sexual raping of people. Seems like the government really is sticking it to the Americans. Kill the American Citizens hope so they won’t have any energy to resist the NWO. Take all their property, their privacy, their jobs. They will submit by force.

  • Cool Dude

    I am sorry Ashley!!! We love You!!!!!! we are always with you

  • Fran

    Give me a break.

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