(Bloomfield Hills, MI) -- From Cincinnati streets to Talalhassee thoroughares, panhandlers like "Fred" from Detroit are struggling to survive during the country's recession.
A former Ford assembly worker-turned-panhandler, Fred's income has fallen nearly 40% in the 90 days following the election. And he and his colleagues are blaming their struggles squarely on the new administration.
"I used to earn over $400 per day, hitting the tar" claimed Fred, using Panhdler vernacular to describe streetside solicitation of money from motorisits.
"Pre-election, the gettin' was good. Many folk in the suburbs felt guilty, driving those big cars -- cars I once toiled hard to make -- then seeing me with my wretched clothes, half-full whiskey bottle, and scribbled signage. It was low-hanging fruit, man."
And Fred thought he saw perhaps gold-lined streets ahead.
"With the election coming, I was hoping things'd change for the better."
But post inauguration, Fred is now lamenting the very man he thought would delivery him from his lowly life and modest income.
"The President has messed up this business, bad. Now, these suburban snobs don't pity me. They look at me like I don't deserve anything. They say mean spirirted stuff like "Don't worry, the government will take care of you".
The most common rejection George hears? "Sorry, man, but Obama's taking away all my money."
But with an eternal glass-half-full mentality, Fred is grateful that the new administration is coming to his rescue.
"With the new stimulus package, at least I'm confident that my mortgage will be re-adjusted. I mean, how could I wake up each morning without a warm dip" stated a hopeful Fred, poolside at his Bloomfield Hills estate while his cabana boy delivered a salt-rimmed margarita glass.