Archive for the ‘unemployment benefits’ tag
At this point, I feel like saying “unemployment is bad” is like saying, “Jersey Shore is awful.” I know Jersey Shore is bad, you know it’s bad, and yet, when you find yourself watching the third consecutive episode of Jersey Shore*, you sort of forget how shit it is because you’ve been immersed in spray tans and Ed Hardy for so long.
Unemployment has been over 9 percent for 19 months, the longest stretch on record. Luckily, good ol’ Congress rushed to the rescue to doll out tax cuts for the rich. Also, they may not let poor people starve by extending unemployment benefits. Maybe. It depends on Mitch McConnell’s mood.
But as bad as the jobless rate is (and remember, it’s Jersey Shore-level bad,) most people still have no concept of the magnitude of destruction unemployment causes in people’s lives, and the long-term effects on their bank accounts.
SocImages links to the following graph that shows these negative effects even after individuals found employment again. The top purple line is employees who maintained their jobs through a recession. The bottom line is workers who lost their jobs in a mass layoff.
As you can see, the effects of layoffs linger for
over a decade almost two decades.
…the net loss to a displaced worker with six years of job tenure is approximately $164,000, which exceeds 20 percent of the average lifetime earnings of these workers.
The long-term consequence, though less spectacular than the immediate loss of a huge number of jobs, is actually more than the losses associated with the period of unemployment itself.
There are a couple other pretty charts posted at SI that all essentially show the same trends. It’s all very depressing, but if anything, the study shows the dire need for extending unemployment benefits, and the need for stimulating job growth.
Whenever I look at these kinds of patterns, my head wants to explode when I see rich politicians and pundits demanding “shared sacrifice” from poor people, who by the way, are the only people who actually have been sacrificing anything for the past few decades. Imagine the kind of personal destruction families will have to endure as they attempt to cope with decades of struggle from the effects of this recession when politicians start cutting their aid, Social Security, and other benefits.
*Don’t write me letters. I only watched it because I was home visiting family.
Bob Herbert wrote a very good column today about what he calls the “campaign disconnect” between Democrats, Republicans, and average Americans. I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but essentially Herbert makes the argument that neither party has adequately addressed the economic desperation of citizens. Democrats have decided to humor the disastrous idea of austerity measures, while Republicans behave as though they’ve “lost their minds completely,” an assessment that I think is way too generous on Herbert’s part.
I prefer his latter description when he accuses Republicans of “peddling a fantasy that has already damaged the country profoundly.” That definition contains the acerbity needed to fully grasp how poisonous the GOP’s philosophy is these days.
Yesterday, I briefly recapped the blatant hypocrisy displayed by certain Republicans in regards to the stimulus. Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush, two “stalwart Conservatives” both greedily gobbled up stimulus cash before returning to their roots: bashing any recovery plan the Democratic administration proposes.
But hypocrisy aside, the GOP, and the elite in general, have genuine disdain for the underclass. The truly sad part is that they’ve brainwashed poor Republicans into going along with their scheme to permanently quarantine the undesirables. That’s when you get elderly people showing up at healthcare reform town hall meetings, screaming that they want the government to keep its hands off their Medicare. Sigh.
Senator Orrin Hatch proposed an amendment that would demand mandatory drug tests for welfare and unemployment beneficiaries because, as we all know, the only people out of work these days are worthless drug addicts. Sharron Angle implied unemployment benefits make people lazy, and that there are lots of jobs out there, but workers just refuse to buckle down and find them, and Rand Paul told them to quit being cry babies and go flip fries at McDonald’s so they can feed their children.
I write a lot about how certain elite (pundits, politicians) have made it their quest to criminalize poverty. David Walker, a lackey of billionaire and Social Security pirate, Pete Peterson, openly pined for the days of debtors’ prison, which is actually already a reality in six states. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) proposed an amendment that would demand mandatory drug tests for welfare and unemployment beneficiaries. A particularly enlightened commenter on my blog summarized the logic behind the amendment thusly: “you gotta make sure they’re not on the crack pipe.”
Previously, I have also written about hiring practices that act to preserve America’s permanent underclass, and how some employers are now making it a practice to check potential employees’ credit scores. Poor people are buried under extravagant loans, which they might never fully pay back, simply for attempting to pursue higher education. Some students actually resort to killing themselves to escape debt, but these are isolated instances that shouldn’t overly concern anyone.
Then there was the embarrassing spectacle of the ruling elite dangling the carrot of unemployment relief before the noses of millions of jobless Americans. There were actual lengthy debates about if the country could really afford the lavish benefits ($300 a week per person) to help people survive the recession during a time when the U.S. is engaged in two separate tremendously expensive military occupations – not to mention the shadow wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc. – and after taxpayers spent trillions bailing out the crooks on Wall Street.
Now, a Tea Party favorite Carl Paladino has thrown his hat in the poor-bashing ring.
Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in “personal hygiene.”
Don’t worry. The program would be totally voluntary.
I’ve been wondering lately if anyone in Congress has an idea of what “the breaking point” looks like – the time when the oligarchy will acknowledge the loud desperation of Americans, say “enough is enough,” and vote to ease their suffering. Thus far, the elite clearly think citizens can agonize a little longer before society’s foundation completely collapses.
People like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle frequently deride the unemployed as being lazy and unmotivated, but “moderate” politicians also participate in this stigmatization. Even though Americans’ primary concern is unemployment, the House failed to extend benefits, and it is uncertain if the Senate will vote to help the 9.5 percent of citizens who remain jobless (6.8 million people or 45.5 percent of the total are long-term unemployed, or jobless for 27 weeks or more.)
It’s probably difficult for politicians, individuals who generally enjoy the rewards of privileged lives, to imagine the utter hopelessness and desperation of the long-term unemployed – particularly individuals who have zero job-hunting resources at their disposal. (via)
Here in this suburb of Cleveland, supervisors at Ben Venue Laboratories, a contract drug maker for pharmaceutical companies, have reviewed 3,600 job applications this year and found only 47 people to hire at $13 to $15 an hour, or about $31,000 a year.
As Atrios points out, it never occurs to the good people at Ben Venue Labs that they’re not paying enough to attract skilled workers, or that maybe they should provide on-site training to attract new talent.
It’s become a commonplace line of attack to hear right-wing loons like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle place the onus of unemployment on the unemployed, and of course this has been the territory of Conservatism for years: it’s your fault you’re unemployed. Intellectual giants like Rush Limbaugh constantly say things like unemployment benefits “do nothing but incentivize people not to find work.”
The hysterical debt Armageddonists have been screaming about the need to adopt all sorts of insane austerity policies because if we don’t, China is going to invade and enslave our children…or something. This irrational frenzy is, of course, bipartisan. Both sides of the aisle, for example, recently voted against extending unemployment benefits.
Tea Party sweetheart, Sharron Angle, specifically said citizens are “spoiled” by jobless benefits, and the US should cut unemployment benefits in order to motivate people to find work. Because – as we all know – unemployed people are just too lazy to toil, and there are millions of jobs in some secret industry sector only teabaggers know about, waiting for capable employees to fill them.
No matter how loudly Krugman tries to tell these idiots that cuts are the very worst possible thing they could do right now — what does he know? He only won a Nobel Prize in economics – Republicans refuse to listen. Actually, the world doesn’t seem to be listening, either.
“Only the little people pay taxes” -Leona Helmsley
In my last post, I wrote about the newest scam to screw hardworking people. It involves several Fortune 500 firms that have hired a company called Talx to wrestle workers’ unemployment benefits away from them.
This is how corporations “handle” the messy human contact aspects of running a business. They hire a third party to come in and do the dirty work of dealing with unsanitary stuff: emotions, workers’ livelihoods, mental breakdowns, etc.
For example, Wal-Mart hired Talx to steal the unemployment benefits of Gerald Grenier, a mentally handicapped night janitor because he allegedly stole some coins from a vending machine (Grenier says he forgot to turn in the change).
Corporations also import other jackals to “restructure” and “downsize” their beloved cogs to avoid any unnecessary unpleasantness like a workplace shooting. Everything — anything — can and should be outsourced, downsized, and restructured if it eventually results in expanding profits.
But it appears the corporation’s loyalty extends only to its own bottom line. According to the GAO, the vast majority (66%) of 1.3 million corporations, pay no federal income taxes. A quarter of the 1000 largest U.S. corporations (those with over $250 million in assets or $50 million in sales) fail to pay any taxes.
At a time when Americans are suffering the most, many corporations refuse to give back to the country.
UPS CEO Scott Davis may be confident the recession is over (CEOs tend to mean the recession is over for “the right players” when they make statements like that,) but for the rest of America, the road to recovery will be a long, arduous journey — if it happens at all.
Dan Froomkin, citing a series of articles that appeared on Harvard’s Nieman Watchdog website, and featuring interviews with some seriously prophetic economics, details seven things about the economy that should worry everyone. This series explores several failures on the government and media’s parts, including: