Yahoo News asked readers to react to Washington's fiscal-cliff deal, forged late Tuesday night? Are they happy? Will they benefit? Here's how the agreement plays out for one American.
FIRST PERSON | The people in Washington just finished their fight over the so-called "fiscal cliff." You've probably read the specifics; you already know they're extending unemployment social benefits and most of Bush's tax cuts, then waiting until a couple months down the road to decide whether or not to kill all the services they can't pay for because of those tax cuts, whether or not people's lives depend on them.
That mostly affects poor people, though. Upper- and middle-class people with homes and families, whether they're in traditional careers or in between them, will continue to have their lifestyles subsidized by the world's most powerful government.
Now try being poor
Or at least, putting yourself in the shoes of a 29-year-old American who's living around the poverty line and is any of LGB and T (that's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender). Namely, me.
In Cary, N.C., where I live, same-gender partners can't get married or have kids -- the local Republicans made doubly sure of that with a state constitutional amendment last year, then gorged themselves on the wedding cake that they'd gleefully snatched from us. Since the government subsidies that passed fiscal-cliff muster, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, depend largely on being married and having kids, we get to see very little of them ... even those of us who want marriage and family (or who don't have enough to get by). I got about $33 from EITC last year.
What about the long-term unemployment insurance extension? Unfortunately, in order to count as unemployed you have to have held a full-time job to begin with. And between being autistic and being raised without formal education in a fundamentalist religious household -- plus living in this economy -- I've had to rely on freelance work and others' generosity to survive. Not being laid off apparently equals not being unemployed, ergo I have to beg for food stamps while our government pays for many in the middle class to light up their houses for Christmas for free.
The 'gay marriage cliff'
This is what I'm more excited about. On Jan. 1, Maryland joined Maine and Washington in allowing the religious freedom of clergy to marry same-gender couples, and being the first states to do so by popular vote. Six other states have already passed laws to allow it.
Whatever happens in D.C., equality and freedom of conscience are winning.