Unemployed face a perfect storm

The following article by Masao Suzuki is from Fight Back! News:

Almost a million lose benefits while layoffs continue and businesses refuse to hire the unemployed

San José, CA – On June 18, a Republican filibuster, aided by pro-war independent Joe Lieberman and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, blocked an extension of federal unemployment benefits. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 900,000 laid-off workers will have had their unemployment benefit checks cut off as of June 19.

Almost half of unemployed workers have been out of work for six months or more, according to the Department of Labor employment report for May 2010. More and more jobless people are running out of the regular state unemployment insurance benefits, which only last for six months. The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program adds an additional year of benefits and the federal Extended Benefits program adds another five months. Of the 900,000 unemployed who are being cut off, about half are losing their checks from the Federal Extended Benefits program and the other half are being denied extensions as their benefits run out.

If the Senate Republicans are able to continue their filibuster and prevent the unemployment benefit extension bill from passing, another million jobless workers will lose their benefits by July 10, for a total of two million cut off of unemployment insurance benefits.

Why? Senators opposed to extending unemployment benefits say that they are worried about the large federal government budget deficit. But less than a month ago, the Senate passed a special supplemental bill by a 67-28 margin that gave another $50 billion to the U.S. military. There is a clear double standard at work: long-term wars (Afghanistan is now the country’s longest lasting war, at over eight years and counting) get more and more money, while the long-term unemployed are told that getting cut off will give them more ‘incentive’ to find a job.

In the meantime, companies continue to lay off more workers. The Department of Labor report on new claims for unemployment insurance on June 17 showed an increase of 12,000 new claims, to a total of 472,000 for the week ending June 12. The continued job cuts of almost a half a million workers a week show that the labor market is still weak. To make matters worse, more and more companies are refusing to hire the unemployed. A growing number have even said publicly that job applicants must be employed in order to be considered for a job. Even more refuse to consider applications from the unemployed but do not say so publicly.

Even if extended unemployment benefits are eventually funded by the federal government, more and more jobless workers are reaching the end of the 99 weeks of benefits. In California, the state Employment Development Division reported that 130,000 jobless workers have exhausted the entire 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.

What is really needed is a federal jobs program like the 1930s Works Progress Administration or WPA. This program hired the unemployed to construct schools, bridges and parks throughout the United States (including my high school). Training for new skills was an important goal of the program.

5 responses to “Unemployed face a perfect storm

  1. Unions turned anti-communist and then working men & women were turned against the unions by religious & racist propaganda.

    The great-grandchildren are learning firsthand what the great-grandparents (and great-great grandparents) lived.

  2. Andrei Kuznetsov

    I like this article, but I have an issue with that last paragraph:

    “What is really needed is a federal jobs program like the 1930s Works Progress Administration or WPA. This program hired the unemployed to construct schools, bridges and parks throughout the United States (including my high school). Training for new skills was an important goal of the program.”

    I think that we shouldn’t fall into the errors of the CP-USA in the 1930’s-1940’s by rallying behind government work programs. Even if this isn’t the author’s intent, we should be careful to not fall into the idea of revolutionaries simply pressuring the Democrats into our demands. While the demand for jobs is a just demand, we want to also emphasize to the people that this system and its government cannot give us the answers we need and that the answer is socialist revolution.

  3. I have tried to give assistance to an organization who is trying to help-out the approval of unemployment benefits, however, I don’t even know if they will use it, so I will copy this letter “HERE” so that We-The-People can take action. >>>> >>>>>>
    Attention N.E.L.P.: (National Employment Law Project)
    I have studied your website, and I have studied your posted information on Unemployment Benefit Matters, and so far I cannot find any reason why you would refuse assistance to myself. So, I will give basic information to you, and I will hope that you can see that a corrupt practice of government hatred and abuse, has made a mockery of the Congressional BENEFITS and Constitutional guarantees afforded to citizens of the USA.
    Attached herewith are URL links to Google Documents, these documents demonstrate that administrative agencies like the EEOC, the U.S. DOL, and the Dept. of Human Rights are refusing to enforce civil rights laws, by a lawless means, so as to award myself just compensation for discriminatory actions, so as to award back pay for wrongful discharge; and, so as to become reinstated in employment again. In addition, by depriving myself of the equal protection of due process, these agencies have destroyed my career and livelihood, and now they are the threat that endangers my life, without due process, because they have denied all due process and and all equal protection that the constitution guarantees to USA Citizens, before any deprivation can occur.
    Now, to make these matters worse, I have written letters to my Senators; however, these Senators have turned a blind eye, and have allowed this tyranny to take place. So if you will, please take a look at the URL links, and please respond, because this is how the government creates crime in the “Black” community, and this is how judges and government officials turn “Law-Abiding” black citizens into criminals, by their stategic use of INJUSTICE. These State Officials and Judges use INJUSTICE, like a tool, to take away Liberty and Property and Employment, from “Black” people, and to take away the right of “Black” people to relief from wrongs and injury sustained (resulting from Criminal acts), as a result of Workplace Bullying and Race Hate Discrimination, and as a result of threats, intimidation, offensive physical contact, and coercion and extortion, in places of employment. As a result, I collect UNEMPLOYMENT because the Executive and Judicial branch of government has failed me, and said officials and judges are in violation of every aspect of due process of law, and the equal protection of due process, and to demonstrate, the following URL links will set forth these facts:
    These three letters sent to Al Franken demonstrate my attempts to seek his assistance, and to advise him of the magnatude of disparity and discrimination against myself >>>
    This is a letter sent to Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis, demonstrating the magnatude of discrmination, criminality, and extortion committed against myself, in seeking Motor Carrier Protections >>>
    This is my response to Senator, Amy Klobuchar’s, request for a Release of my Private Information, and for her assistance, against a Judicial violation of Congressional Entitlements and the procedure to be followed that protects Congressional Entitlements; and, against the unconscionable schemes and the lawless judgments that are in contempt of Congress; however, what has the Senator Klobuchar done,… NOTHING,… not even an acknowledgment that she received my Release of Information Form >>>
    As you can see, every factor of government is a TYRANNY of HATRED against me, I am forced to collect UNEMPLOYMENT because the law and it’s functions are violating my constitutional rights, and I would appreciate it if you would ask them WHY-! If they have a legitimate reason, I am entitled to know that legitimate reason. And, if you cannot be of any assistance, I would appreciate your response saying so.

  4. The Works Projects Administration program did work after the great depression to help get people skills, jobs, and improve confidence, which is important. I think at least part of the solution could lie in something like this, but a lot of the state leaders and organizations given stimulus money are not spending it as they are supposed to be to create jobs. Also, I think a better requirement would be that companies bring their jobs back from overseas, stop using low-paid slave wage labor, and if they don’t comply take away their massive tax cuts, which recently a couple different conservative republican financial analysts actually said the “Bush tax cuts” were the single largest contributor to the deficit which started under Bush after Clinton left office with surplus. The wealthiest also get tax-free dividends on their investments, don’t have to pay taxes on much of their income due to loopholes, hedge funds, and tax shelters, and their taxes are mostly paid for by those of us in the $75,000 to $500,000 range. They’re getting richer while the middle class is getting poorer due to these policies created by those in power who stand to benefit the most from them. Also, the unjustified so-called war started based on lies like WMDs has cost us trillions, and this is what Obama walked into. The nightmare left behind from the oil- and power-hungry Bush administration and their corporate cohorts. Unemployment is a drop in the bucket, its not charity or a bailout like we’ve given to Wall Street, insurance companies, the auto industry, big corporate businesses, and even foreign countries. It is insurance that employees who worked for years and their employers have paid into and they are ENTITLED to it. They should be covered for the long-term in an economy as bad as our recession (depression for many) is right now. There are virtually NO jobs (a few temporary and very low paying) regardless how the current administration twists the numbers. You can’t count temporary one-month census jobs as real jobs, and people who are still unemployed, whether still eligible to collect benefits or not, should still be counted as unemployed, and they are not being counted to make it look like the unemployment rate is going down, when in fact it is still rising. Employers are still laying off. If the benefits aren’t extended soon, everyone will pay the price. We are already expecting a commercial real estate crash in 2011 when all the 5-year loans start coming due and can’t be refinanced with empty storefronts and offices leading to foreclosures and more bank failures. And they want to add to that more foreclosed homes that are sure to follow as the unemployed who have no income whatsoever abandon their homes, lose their cars, become homeless, hungry, and desperate by the millions — insane and idiotic!!!?? Those dropped off the unemployment rolls will not magically find jobs because there are none. The long-term cost will be felt by the remaining taxpayers, who are already footing the bill for the wealthiest’s lifestyles, when all the unemployed without housing and transportation and unable to get to jobs or training become desperate and start rebelling against government or move permanently onto welfare and Medicaid rolls, and they will NEVER go back to work. The media and government can only gloss over the statistics and mislead for so long — if the top dogs, elitists, and obstructionists in Congress and the Senate who are completely out of touch with the plight of the common American worker think it won’t affect them and things can’t get worse, and they continue to fail to extend unemployment and create real jobs soon for the people they are supposed to be representing and whose interests they should be concerned with, just wait and see. When you kick the supporting legs out from under the chair, the fat cats sitting on it will fall too — it just takes a little longer.

    • So far, Senater Boehner, and Sharron Engle are demostraating just what you have defined, and we need to condemn them for it.

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