Being a liberal, I am a loyal fan of Real Time with Bill Maher. The last two episodes contain references about West Virginia. In light of Congress’ latest move to lift protections of streams from coal mining, I began to research. Like most liberals, I assumed the “silent majority” was simply code for dormant racists who now had a mouthpiece for their hate.
Although it is true that racists and bigots adore Trump, the majority of West Virginia’s Trump voters are not racist. Some people voted for Trump for religious reasons like “stopping abortion.” Others want the opposite of a career politician. The majority voted for him because of jobs… Specifically coal jobs.
The left believes that we have the answers for those coal miners who are losing their jobs due to regulations and layoffs. They can get retrained with the $7.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. They can get a job in solar energy, and it would be healthier for them and for the environment.
There are multiple problems with this possibility.
The average grant amount per person is $20 a day, up to $100 a week. This is supposed to cover food, gas, and childcare. The average rate of childcare for West Virginia is $26 a day for one child.
The retraining programs do not include jobs in the solar industry. They are programs for jobs like welding, HVAC, and CNA classes. Each of these training facilities are colleges. None of these programs are eligible for Federal Pell Grants or Title IV financial aid.
Most coal miners have a high school diploma or GED. The average age of a coal miner is 55 years old. Even if they felt confident enough to go to college, their life is never going to be the same after losing their coal job.
A coal miner can make $7,200 gross monthly. His family can live comfortably with one income.
They can buy a home, finance two cars, afford their basic needs, as well as have the ability to enjoy life with recreational activities and vacations.
Once he loses his job, the household will likely have to become a two-income home. Once they both start their retraining programs and start working evenings, they will need to cut excess expenses and add childcare expenses for their two children.
Then, their expenses would surpass their income by $984.00. They try sustaining life like that for a while.
If they’re lucky they can make it a year with their new income. Unfortunately, the retraining programs last 24 months. They will inevitably lose their home to foreclosure, lose at least one car to repossession, and lose all insurance.
Their food budget is stripped down to bare essentials and they are “over income” for food stamps.
If they are able to make it through the training without dropping out to find a second paying job, they have the potential to make $5,166 gross total for both adults. By this time, they are living in a two- or three-bedroom rental, eating weenies and noodles for dinner, driving a beat-up pickup truck that breaks down once a week, and so pissed off that they do not care what other people think of their candidate.
All they can think about is the survival of their family.
Liberals and Progressives tend to brush off the loss of coal jobs because it’s perceived as primitive and unhealthy. We need to start listening to the “silent majority.” They deserve our compassion. If we don’t act to help them now, we could end up with Trump in 2020.
Watch Bill Maher highlight the epidemic sweeping coal country:
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.