Revisiting the 99ers, why past warnings about long-term unemployed could cost President Obama 2012 Election

Photo Credit-Rhonda Taylor
Many media personalities, articles and political figures have moved on and away the last two years from discussing the Original 99ers


Who are these 99ers?

They are a part of the Occupy Movement 99%, but existed before Occupy Wall Street was formed. The 99ers felt the impact of the 'economic slowdown and unemployment crisis' towards the end of President George W. Bush Administration in 2008. 


Many 99ers nearly five years later have yet to return back into 'America's Middle Class' status. Some 99ers have have died or almost pass on since 2008, shamed by an economy labeling the Longest-Term Unemployed as drug addicts or individuals who desired 'life-long governmental benefits over employment'.



So again, who are the 99ers? America's longest-term job seekers who exhausted fall forms of federal unemployment extensions, ranging from 73-99 weeks during July 2010-March 2011.




These are forgotten Americans who see the 'unemployed need not apply' employment advertisements know many other employers feel exactly this way but, do not openly express the words. The 99ers with years of gaps between their last job, experience silent discrimination, along with their resumes landing straight into the '777 Garbage File'.



As widely reported Friday, June 1st report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U-3 unemployment rate, shocked Wall Street and media reporters as the advertised jobless rate jumped to 8.2%. Employment growth slowed to a crawl as only 64K work opportunities were created in May 2011.


Meanwhile, the real employment rate U-6-counts all individuals who have exhausted all jobless benefits, individuals receiving unemployment assistance and the under-employed- U-6 rate stubbornly hovers near 15%.


From Portal Seven Website: What is U-6 unemployment rate ?
The U-6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts "marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons."  
Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week. And the "marginally attached workers" include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work. The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over
2007 - 2012-via Portal Seven


Another important statistical piece of data from Portal Seven is the U-6 month-by-month figure chart. The 'red' highlight on this chart denotes the U-6 rate up near the end of former Republican President George W. Bush second term. The 'yellow' defines the U-6 rate since Democratic President Barack Obama first-term in office.


 Unemployment Rate - U6 -Month by Month
2007 - 2012-via Portal Seven

At the beginning of President Barack Obama term in January 2010, the U.S. House and Senate was has a Democratic majority. In January 2012, Congressional Republicans regained control of the U.S. House chamber.


Reviewing the statistical median average of the U-6 rate during President Obama's first two years gives forwards a deep cause for concern. In 2010, the first year of President Obama term in office the median U-6 rate (200.9/12) was 16.7%. 


President Obama two year median U-6 rate only managed to drop joblessness to a dismal 0.8%, as the U-6 average in 2011 (191.1/12) was 15.9%. So far in 2012, the U-6 median average so far (73.8/12) is 12.3%


The Original 99ers warned President Obama's administration in 2010 & 2011 that unless a clear solution returning long-term unemployment was not addressed, America's jobless crisis would continue.


Reviewing Roads Less Traveled of the Original 99ers Calls for President Obama to address long-term unemployment with job creation ideas and programs 

Of the series of bills created to address the 99ers including Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) S.-3706 of 2010 and  Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-California) HR-6556 of 2010 & HR-589 of 2011, President Obama never openly expressed support for the measures despite of many calls from longest-term joblessness Americans.



Senator Stabenow stood on the chamber floor September 29, 2010 calling on President Obama support of S-3706 simply titled 'The Americans Want to Work Act' to no avail:


From ROJS News 'Down but not out, 99ers Pledge Not to Give Up the Fight' article September 2010:
While making the case for S. 3706 on CSPAN Wednesday afternoon on the Senate floor, Stabenow cited that the bill should be designated "emergency spending" and exempt from "pay-as-you-go" rules, as normally is the case with, unemployment benefits. 
"The reality for us in America is that we will never get out of debt with more than 15 million people out of work," said Stabenow. "So when folks talk about the deficit and leaving the deficit for our children, we will never get out of debt had this country until people get back to work, until they have good-paying jobs, and in between times, we will not move this economy forward until we are helping people be able to keep going in this recession."



In November 2010, former White House Chief Economic Adviser Austan Gooslbee, partially answered a question about what President Obama would do to assist the Original 99ers. 

Only problem was at the time of Gooslbee's answer, Senator Stabenow's S-3706 bill was rejected as the only form of relief to address long-term unemployment at the time, and no direct measures (besides talk) thereafter was supported by the White House to assist the longest term unemployed job seekers. 




From ROJS News, "Press Secretary Gibbs: The best thing we can do for 99ers is create jobs", December 2010:
On November 10th, the White House via Monster.com Keep America Working Facebook Page, ask for questions from unemployed job seekers on Obama Administration plans to jumpstart the economy and spur job growth. Janet Ritz, Publisher at the Environmentalist, Huffington Post article on November 30th, addressed President Obama Chief Economic Advisor Austan Gooslbee response to her question regarding the 99ers."



Instead a $857 Trillon dollar extension of former President George W. Bush cut taxes was signed by President Obama on December 17, 2010 before offering a true job creation package for the 99ers.

From ROJS News, "Why all job seekers should support HR-589 The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2011" article February 2011:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet to issue an official score for the bill but, it should qualify for the emergency designation under pay-go spending rules for new legislation and would cost an fraction of the Bush tax cut extension of formerly HR-4853, of $857 Trillion dollars, signed by President Obama December 17, 2010.
From ROJS News "Congressional Black Caucus say 'NO' to Pres. Obama tax cuts; unfair to 99ers, middle class, poor" article from December 2010:
"The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) announced on December 10th via C-Span, that the group oppose President Obama's 'compromise deal' with Republican Leaders in the House and Senate. 
Specifically, the CBC does not support the extension of tax cuts wealthiest Americans, while an estimated 6 Million '99ers' are left out of the deal and no cost of living (COLA) adjustment is included for Social Security payees."




Despite President Obama negotiating with House Republicans in November 2010 to extend former President Bush's 2008 tax cuts, the Congressional Black Caucus keep up the fight for a bill to address the Original 99ers.

On February 9, 2011 led by Rep. Lee and 99ers advocates called on Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the President to work together to pass HR-589.



From ROJS News, "Why all job seekers should support HR-589 The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2011" article February 2011:
"Reach Out Job Search News Blog writer and Michigander Monica RW was in attendance at the announcement, which was held in the Congressional Press Conference room, in the Capital building in Washington, D.C. on February 9th, at 9:45am.  
To say that I was very impressed with the examination of the depth of the issue with long-term unemployment that each of the Congressional Representatives had, would be an understatement. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, during her speech, empathized that for each job opening there are 4.7 individuals seeking employment", Monica RW stated. 
Representative Jackson-Lee noted that jobless workers are not seeking a handout but instead benefits that they have worked in the professional they were laid off from, by no fault of their own. 
Additionally, Representative Bobby Scott stated his belief that if Republicans can support tax cuts for wealthy individuals in this country, he cannot understand with the facts of 6.2 million long-term unemployed individuals, why they could not support extending jobless payments to the nations' workers," she noted."




Despite warnings for listening original 99ers requests for a job creation bill returning them back to America's Middle class, 99ers were blamed in part, for Democrats losing control of the U.S. House in November 2010.


From ROJS News, "Jobless Who Voted Against Democrats in Election 2010; Might Ended Future Benefits, Pelosi Says", article from November 2010:
Unemployed job seekers who voted for Republicans or sat out the November 3rd, midterm elections upset with the current leadership of Democrats in the House and Senate membership; may have cut off their unemployment benefits in a failed spite effort, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told the Huffington Post.
In January 2011, when the new House will be control by the Republicans, Pelosi said, that "challenge will approach impossibility." 
"It's a funny thing," said Pelosi. "I have this impression that some of the people who did not vote Democratic, because they — they didn't vote Democratic — are people who don't have a job. And they need unemployment insurance and the Republicans are not for it."
Even, Vice-President Joe Biden (D) told the 99ers to 'Just Hang in There' while they wonder and prayed how to feed their families and maintain some sort of stability. 


From ROJS News, "The real story of long-term unemployment in America, V.P. Biden tells jobless to 'Hang in There", January 2011
Reading a January 28th interview by Yahoo News reporters Rachel Rose Hartman and Anna Roberson with Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, he believes that an eliminated 30 million unemployed, underemployed and other job seekers need, including 6 million long-term jobless 99ers, need to just ‘Hang in there’.  
Yes, you have read that quote correctly. V.P. Joseph Biden believes that if you are jobless, wondering how to pay for food, lights, shelter, gas which is expected to increase to $4.00 a gallon over the summer months or paying other basic life necessaries; just ‘hang in there’ and Biden believes it will be OK.  
Here is some raw advice for V.P. Biden and for that instance the entire Obama Administration. Many Americans have ‘hung in there’ waiting for a true job creation program and are still waiting for it. 
Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs addressed the longest-term unemployed, so to speak, in a briefing on December 21, 2010.

From ROJS News, "Press Secretary Gibbs: The best thing we can do for 99ers is create jobs", article December 2010:

Mr. Gibbs,  speaking on behalf of President Barack Obama believes the best thing the Democratically-Elected White House could do for 99ers, some of whom have not received any payment assistance since April 2010, is to create jobs.
Text of the Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, from 12/21/2010 addressing the 99ers:
 Q    And then lastly, as you know, there is a group of unemployed who have -- who call themselves the 99ers --
MR. GIBBS:  Sure.
Q    -- these are individuals who have been -- whose unemployment insurance has run out.  They were not included in the deal, the tax deal that the President signed with Mr. McConnell and the Republicans and others.  Is there anything that the President can do for them? 
MR. GIBBS:  Well, I think the best thing that we can do as a country is get a fragile economy more stable and one that creates more jobs.  I think that's why I think -- economists said that they would reorient their growth estimates based on the agreement that the President signed.  And obviously the best thing we can do for them is to create an environment where businesses are hiring.   
 Look, we have -- you heard me say on a number of occasions that one of the great benefits of the agreement was taking the politics out of unemployment insurance.  We have -- it’s been a contentious battle just to get unemployment insurance to continue up to 99 weeks.  It’s not in any way been easy.  And this takes the politics out of that throughout 2011 and hopefully we can continue to focus on getting the economy moving again and providing those guys with a helping hand with a job.  
Mr. Gibbs and President Obama, It took your administration eight months to figure this revelation out? Interesting and frankly, insulting to an estimated 6 Million 99ers whom have waited very patiently to hear the White House plans to return them, back to work. 
Six months ago, economist Robert J. Shiller wrote that a program, similar to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt Work Administration Program (WAP), should be immediately enacted to address re-employment for the long-term jobless.  
Shiller, a Yale Economic Professor July 31st article in The New York Times, the stated following: 
“Why not use government policy to directly create jobs — labor-intensive service jobs in fields like education, public health and safety, urban infrastructure maintenance, youth programs, elder care, conservation, arts and letters, and scientific research?", Shiller cited. 
'Would this be an effective use of resources? From the standpoint of economic theory, government expenditures in such areas often provide benefits that are not being produced by the market economy,” he wrote.  
One of the biggest disappointments for 99ers movement was highlighted on 'Crew of 42' in April 2011. After nearly a year of advocacy by 99ers encouraging President Obama's attention on programs to address the longest-term unemployed; CBC member Rep. Emanuel Cleaver during a White House meeting with the President in attendance recounted this reaction noted below.
Cleaver Says Cost of 99ers Bill “Prohibitive” at Obama Meeting. 
In an exchange during their meeting last Wednesday with the President, CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver called the cost of the 99ers bill (H.R. 589 sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee of California) “prohibitive.” 
In Rep. Cleaver’s words: “It was what I expected because my staff had done a lot of research on it.  And we found that the cost of that program would be between $14 and 20 billion dollars which is cost prohibitive.   
So there was no point in the President saying, ‘yeah I support it…’  when I laid it out I said to him, ‘Mr. President, I’m going to raise this, and this is one of our issues because  this is one of our issues — it’s an issue among our members…’  I ended it by saying, however, I understand that the cost is enormous. 
He (President Obama) said (to Rob Nabors sitting on the sofa) ‘Rob how much is it?’ And Rob said, ‘between 14 and 20 billion’ and I said, let’s move on. Because there was no point — that’s not going to happen,” recounted Cleaver.
Rob Nabors is the White House Director of Legislative Affairs, former Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The above exchange may explain why Rep. Barbara Lee went silent and did not comment last week as I asked her had she heard any 99er news from the White House meeting. 
The original 99ers have not forgot being wrong side of $14-$20 Billion dollars of assistance to return back to work, while in December 2010 President Obama extended $857 Trillion dollars worth of former President Bush tax cuts. One important point of note is that Democrats had majority control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, during at this time.


From ROJS News, "For unemployed '99ers' President Obama 'compromise deal' with GOP is a bitter pill to shallow" article:
Many people of this (the 99er) group, including unemployment advocate Rhonda Taylor, belief that President Obama’s compromise ‘ignored’ the longest-term unemployed, who have been a part of the economic crisis since 2008. 
“I am truly in disbelief after 8 months of contacting the White House, the Senators and the Congress who knew the 99ers had exhausted what benefits they had available to them, and were ignored again extending Bush tax cuts for the rich. We will not hide in the attic anymore. This shame is not ours and its time that people in America know what’s going on in their country”, stated Ms. Taylor.
New Republican leadership controlling the U.S. House in January 2011 could not be relied upon to address the 99ers pleads neither, as HR-589 the last measures drafted for long-term unemployed 99ers, all but died after the Government Shutdown.


From ROJS News, "Scheduled meeting on HR-589 cancelled, by Speaker Boehner, due to government shutdown negotiations" from March 2011:
A meeting scheduled to take place today between Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) sponsor of HR-589, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011 and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), has been cancelled due to on-going debate to avoid a federal government shutdown.

Originally announced March 22nd, the meeting would have followed up on a Congressional Press Conference with 99ers, advocates for the long term unemployed and Reach Out Job Search writer Monica RW on February 9th.

The measure, initially introduced at the press conference, was to offer 14 additional weeks of unemployment benefits jobless individual pass the initial 26 weeks of state funded payments was announced.
 
Initially, HR-589 received no initial support from Republicans because it would add up to $16 billion to the federal budget deficit. To work with Speaker Boehner demands, Representatives Lee and Scott later announced they would be open to finding budget cuts to offset the cost of the benefits. 
Instead, Boehner’s heading to the White House Thursday afternoon for more shutdown talks with President Obama. 
“We’re disappointed Speaker Boehner had to cancel the meeting,” Lee spokesman Joel Payne said. “We hope it can be rescheduled for next week.”
Why Longest-Term Unemployed, the Original 99ers, Must be Address by President Obama to win the Election on November 6, 2012

Since the advertised unemployment rate and job creation numbers highlighted in the media on Friday, ROJS News & Radio debated if or when we should write an article re-detailing the Original 99ers cause for respect, a return economic stability and rejoining American's Middle Class. We came to the conclusion that forgetting roads less traveled, can easily cause mistakes similar of occurred with 99ers to happen yet again.


ROJS News & Radio political aligns our media resource after covering Original 99ers fight for economic stability the last four years, to the 'Independent-Left'. This means specifically, ALL Americans should vote for politicians, political ideas and thoughts aligning to their best economic interests, first.

It would be prudent for Congressional Democrats and President Obama seeking support of the longest-term unemployed, to quickly draft and pass a true job creation bill that include all individuals exhausted from Federal Unemployment Extensions.

In contrast, Republicans along with GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney recent talk about the rise in jobless numbers without crafting one real plan addressing the issue, should remember many of the Original 99ers will not be fooled in the least by this "stance of convenience" without true action either. 


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