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Friday, July 6, 2012

Op/Ed - Keys to solve the unemployment crisis are by addressing past fail measures of Democrats and Republicans

Photo Credit-Rhonda Taylor
This sign, made in 2010 by
99er Advocate Rhonda Taylor
warned of what was to come
with the Unemployment Crisis
if not properly addressed.
Update: July 6, 2012 @ 11:36 PM EDT:
From Huffington Post, a statement by Leo Hindery: Many More People Are Effectively Unemployment Than the Labor Department Accounts For


Leo Hindery, chairman of the Economic Growth/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation, wrote in a statement that when accounting for effectively unemployed people that are not accounted for in the Labor Department's calculation of unemployment.

-- that is, workers that are underemployed, marginally attached to the workforce, or discouraged -- the number of "real unemployed workers, in all categories, increased by 463,000 workers.


"The total number of Real Unemployed Workers now stands at 28.1 million, which is well more than twice BLS's official total unemployed figure of 12.7 million. Total Real Unemployment has increased by 11.5 million workers since the start of the Recession in December 2007 and by 3.6 million since the Inauguration. 
The Real Unemployment Rate was 17.3%, which is more than twice BLS’s official rate of 8.2%. (May’s Real Unemployment Rate was 17.1%.)"
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It's estimated that between (now corrected) 25 to 28 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed or a part a group the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls "Disgruntled/Discouraged  Workers" (correction noted) -former employees who have temporary given up trying to find a work opportunity in the current economy and were laid-off within the last 12-18 months.


Not counted in either of these groups are the 99ers.

The 99ers, an estimated 3 million Americans, are either completely exhausted from federal unemployment extensions or are on the verge of losing all extended jobless assistance. Some of the longest term 99ers begun an unfortunate entry into the long-term unemployed classification status as early as 2008, and have been either jobless or underemployed since.



Americans on the outside of the jobless crisis, looking at a reality of being one step away from joining the long-term unemployed ranks. Many fear signing up become a member of the "club" no one wishes to truly be a part of for good reasons.

What would occur if your current employer decides it would be cheaper to lay you off, than continue the employment with their company?



Such is the case that was announced on Ann Arbor.com on Friday, July 6th, for up to an estimated 50 public sector employees. Under the newly hired City Manager-Ralph Lange tenure, he announced publicly that layoffs for the financially struggling city of Ypsilanti, Michigan are indeed coming.


From Ann Arbor.com July 6, 2012 article:
“A lot of people are going to lose their jobs and it’s just no way around that,” Lange said. “I don’t want to make it convenient or easy just because there are 50 people in here screaming. I have to do the job. It’s going to be difficult and everyone knows that.”  
Ypsilanti City Manager Lange's statement is just one of many across our great nation, by individuals with employment boldly announcing to others, their resource of financial livelihood will end real soon.

Lange, for his job in Ypsilanti Government will earn a wage, not including benefits over $93K a year. He also managed to negotiate a 90 pay severance agreement if his contract is terminated "without cause".

"If Lange is terminated for something other than just cause prior to the expiration of his agreement, the contract originally stated that his employment would be terminated 90 (changed from 180 days, with details in article) from the date of his termination notice.  
Following the notice, Lange (will remain) on city payroll for 90 days, during which he would receive all health, life, disability, dental and vision insurance benefits."
Still, Ypsilanti City Manager Lange at this point, is one of the "lucky few" who have employment with benefits at the current time. Meanwhile, millions of other Americans. do not.


Which leads us in this Op/Ed to a statement reported Monday, July 2, 2012 in the Hill Online Newspaper by Michigan Congressman Sander Levin (D). Representative Levin stated in the article, the best way to possibly extend federal unemployment benefits to those currently receiving payments is to elect a Democrat controlled House and Senate on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
At least one lawmaker, though, thinks the chances of an extension hinge on the outcome of the presidential election, pushing the issue into an already busy lame-duck session.  
"I think Nov. 6 will determine the outcome more than anything else," Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, told The Hill. 
"We've had a struggle with the Republicans. They continue to think that it's a disincentive," he said of jobless benefits. "So we're going to continue the battle; whether we win it or not will depend more on Nov. 6."
Although true the"Tea-Party" controlled U.S. House has been blocking most extensions of jobless benefits for the last year and one-half, Democrats are not blameless either.

Let's take our imaginary -but sadly its' all to real- time capsule back to November-December 2010, shall we.

During this period in history, Democrats having lost control of the U.S. House starting January 3, 2011, still retained "lame-duck" control of the Congressional chamber at that time, including the Senate which they still control today.

A measure drafted by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) S-3706, rightly named "The Americans Want to Work Act", was being debated in the halls of Congress. What did this Act, if passed, seek to do for the long-term unemployed?

Well, specifically 14 weeks of additional unemployment insurance payments would have been provided to those that would have soon exhausted receiving benefits during the 1st & 2nd quarters of 2011. A job creation retraining component was included in this measure, seeking to return Americans, back to work.

Former workers, who experienced the first wave of this nearly 4 years and counting crisis, could have been retrained and retooled to dive right back into our work based economy.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

Since the Democrats in 2011 up to "Lame-Duck" session controlled both Houses of Congress until January 2011, one would think S-3706 would be widely supported in Senator Stabenow's party ranks, and President Barack Obama would have "hit the stump" so to speak, supporting this bill?

Let's listen to Senator Stabenow talk about S-3706, "The Americans Want to Work" Act herself on the Senate Chamber Floor in September 2010.




Instead of Senator Stabenow's bill S-3706 ending up on President Obama desk, being signed into law and possibly being the first step to end what has been now a four year jobless crisis, the following event occurred during the Democratically controlled "Lame Duck" session in November-December 2010.


From ROJS News & Examiner.com "99ers Pledge to Not Give Up the Fight; for Senator Stabenow bill, S-3706"-September 30, 2010:
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) legislation S-3706 "The Americans Want to Work Act" failed in the Senate on Wednesday. The bill was one of the last lifelines of help for an active group of unemployment American job seekers, the 99ers (jobless individuals who have exhausted between 73-99 weeks of unemployment insurance and, have been without any types of payments since March 2010), prior to the November 2 elections. 
Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL) objected to Stabenow's unanimous consent request. Ironically, the Senator was expected to be a part of a small group of Republican Senators (Snowe-ME, Collins-ME, Voinovich-OH), to be lobbied to pass S.3706, since the Senator LeMieux was not running for re-election.
Oh and the 99ers, especially the longest-term jobless will never forget what occurred shortly there after in December 2010, thanks to President Obama signing an extension of the Bush Era Tax Cuts, primarily for the 1%, into law.


ROJS News & Examiner.com-"President Obama Deal with the Republicans, Leave Michigan 99ers Out to Dry"-December 4 & 6, 2010:
It is imperative to understand who the 99ers are and who they are not. President Obama appears to recognize the difference in these groups of American job seekers by the statement he realized during his Press Conference on the ‘compromise deal’ on December 4threported by Politico. 
"Obama chastised liberals who he said would rather have the Bush cuts expire at the end of the year than compromise, calling on them to legislate for working families instead of waging symbolic fights in Washington. 
“As sympathetic as I am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, as much as the political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems, it would be the wrong thing to do,” Politico reported President Obama stated. 
One of the only ways that the Exhausted 99ers could have been included in the ‘compromise deal’ of President Obama with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and after January 2011 upcoming House Speaker John Bohener (D-OH), is that the 13 months of negotiated unemployment benefits include an additional four weeks of payment for the 99ers. 
No media resources have reported to date that his type of ‘deal’ was reached in the White House negotiation process. 
All 24/7 News.com writer (the Late R.I.P.) Michael Colliss, a top writer on unemployment issues, confirmed in a December 6tharticle that an extension for the 99ers was not on the Presidential agenda within deal terms for allowing for a two year tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 a year, including very wealthy tax earners. 
“As unemployment activists became aware of the terms of the supposed deal, which apparently will not include a Tier V or other expansion of weeks many expressed disbelief bordering on anger”, writer Michael Colliss stated. 
Mr. Colliss was also one of the first media resources this evening to confirm that there is no 'Tier V' unemployment extension, at all, in this 'deal'. 
The Americans Want to Work Act-S.3706, sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is the only legislation that addresses job creation, tax credit and an extension of a ‘Tier V’ unemployment benefit. Precisely, Senator Stabenow’s bill would offer up to a $2000 tax credit for employers that hire the longest term unemployed.  Additionally, the measure would provide up to 20 weeks of supplemental income payments to the ‘99er’ group.
"There is no expansion of federal unemployment extensions via a Tier V or addition of more weeks.", reported on All 24/7 News.com.
That is what precisely happened in the last "Lame Duck" session in December 2010.

Why would any person that's either currently receiving jobless benefits or a part of the 3 million plus Americans that experienced being told that a compromise deal with Republicans -
who controlled neither chamber of Congress at the time- was MORE important than extending unemployment benefits with a job creation package, believe the Democrats now? 

Now, some will take this article and its' nature to arrive at a conclusion we want Democrats to lose in wide numbers on November 6th, and for the Republicans to take control of both Congress chambers, along with the White House.

Nothing can be further from the truth, as evidenced during the past year and one-half when Speaker of the House John Bohrner (D-Ohio), along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Kentucky) have not done one thing either to address needs of the 99ers or longest-term jobless.


Instead, we ask for Americans suffering since 2008 and beyond, praying that a job will come or they will not be subject to a layoff in the future; to cast your vote for a candidate who's agenda align with YOUR ECONOMIC INTERESTS FIRST. Nothing more, nothing less.

As for today's jobless numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, well they show that Senator Stabenow warnings in November 2010 on the Senate floor about long-term joblessness, was right on point.

We, as Americans have yet to properly address nor move into the position to truly solve this crisis. The open question is, will we ever do so?



From the Bureau of Labor Statistics report July 6, 2012:

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to edge up in June (+80,000), and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent.  Employment growth averaged 75,000 per month in the second quarter of the year, compared with an average monthly increase of 226,000 in the first quarter.  Slower job growth in the second quarter occurred in most major industries. 
Employment in professional and business services grew by 47,000 in June.  Since the most recent low in September 2009, employment in the industry has risen by 1.5 million.  Much of the growth occurred in temporary help services, which added 25,000 jobs over the month and 776,000 jobs since September 2009. 
Turning now to our survey of households, the unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent in June, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 12.7 million.  The labor force participation rate, at 63.8 percent, and the employment- population ratio, at 58.6 percent, were unchanged over the month.
And when are Americans Politicians asking for YOUR vote going to address 99ers/long-term joblessness issues, remaining nearly five years later, have yet to be seen.
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Our friend Virgil Bierschwale of "Keep America at Work" asked us to add this link to his article, "I think its awesome that some people really do care about what other people are going though....", so we will. It's an awesome article and informative read.

Also, we wanted to take a moment to introduce Academy Award Nominated documentary film maker, and a dear friend we met at Netroots Nation 2012, Immy Humes six part series about the long-term unemployed on Salon.com, rightfully named "F**CKED". Please view the entire series to learn true lessons about long-term unemployment.



And the all important Part 3 of this series describing how the Bush Tax Cuts got extended by President Obama and the 99ers/Longest-Term Unemployed were left behind.



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2 comments :

Rhonda Taylor said...

Its so true that no one in washington has addressed this group and this blatently shows how money and lobbiests are the ones running this country and our politicians...when millions of americans are cast to the streets with politicians not blinking an eye, it says alot of why its happening....I site this has been done deliberitly not just by the right but also by the left. So the real question that should be asked so americans is....why does washington jump when a tusanmi hits, a flood, or a hurricane, a forest fire....everyone jumps into action like the emergency it is....but when over 10 million are thrusted into homelessness....ALL IS QUIET in washington....SHAME ON ALL OF THEM and every AMERICAN who chooses to continue to ignore the crisis that washington created....along with their corporate puppetiers....ITS NOT ME ITS YOU....as the group continues to grow dissent will come. How bad do we want it to get?

ROJS News said...

Rhonda Taylor Totally correct. Individuals in the 99er community and advocates like yourself, have been warning for HOW LONG NOW this situation was to come? Worse, is the BLS not reporting the REAL UNEMPLOYMENT numbers or the U-6 numbers, in which I had to immediately correct the article. Twenty-Eight Million either unemployed, underemployed or no longer seeking employment in this economy. Shameful, sorry, it just is!

President Obama during his speech in Ohio today, forgot to mention that just as well as Republicans have been blocking any relief in the form of TRUE JOB CREATION for the long-term unemployed or extending jobless benefits, that he signed into law the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts.

To this day, I ask myself the question of WHY? Why did President Obama do this, knowing full well that unless long-term unemployed begun getting addressed, like in Sen. Stabenow's S-3706 measure, this important issue would not just magically disappear.

Personally, I'm sick and tired of the "lesser of two evils" vote has to be taken at the polls. We can't have a true Independent Candidate, similar to Senator Bernie Sanders ascend to the Presidency in this United States because, our two party, waits until the next election to "scare folks" that "the other side is worse system" blocks it. Only problem is the two party system NEVER ADDRESSES the real issues that exist in our economy. Instead they "Mask" it.

This is about JOBS, JOBS and JOBS. People need to feed their families and take care of the base livelihoods of existence- a roof, clothes and shelter. Of course, most folks would like luxuries of a car, cable, a family vacation each year but, right not many Americans are just trying to SURVIVE. When will either of the Two-Party "Lock Down" party system ever examine this basic issue! IMHO they can't until long-term unemployment and the crisis associated with it, is EFFECTIVELY ADDRESSED.

Thanks Rhonda for your comment.

Monica

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