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Getting Serious About Unemployment

September 27, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

This Wall Street Journal report illustrates why the Democrats are losing the support of the unemployed even though it’s the Republicans who have continually stood in the way of extending unemployment benefits:

The Senate will consider a bill this week aimed at discouraging U.S. businesses from outsourcing jobs overseas, a plan that Democrats describe as an effort to fight unemployment but which Republicans deride as a pre-election political maneuver.

Democrats admit they don’t have enough votes to defeat a possible attempt by Republicans to block the bill. But they hope that bringing the issue to the Senate floor will underscore their concern about unemployment, now at 9.6%.

[…]

[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid is facing a tight re-election bid in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country. He plans to hold a vote Tuesday to test whether the measure has the support to pass—and to try to force the GOP to register aloud its opposition before lawmakers head home to campaign ahead of the Nov. 2 midterm elections. Both parties have used such symbolic votes to score political points in the past.

Rather than try to do something to improve the unemployment situation, the Democrats are spending their last week before the midterms on symbolic votes. Even putting the politics of this week’s vote aside, nobody really believes that the anti-offshoring bill (S.3816) is a serious job-creation measure. As Derek Thompson at The Atlantic puts it, it’s “a jobs bill that seems most focused on jobs created and saved in the first week of November.”

The Democratic leadership has not even started to work on a serious fix for long-term unemployment. Sure, there are bills in the House and the Senate to provide additional benefit weeks for 99ers and exhaustees, and they may be voted on in the lame-duck session, but these don’t address the underlying problems. What’s needed now is some innovative thinking from Congress on how to get people who have been unemployed for more than six months to reenter the work force. With the unemployment rate stuck above 9%, long-term unemployment higher than it’s been since the government started collecting the data, and the average unemployed person now dropping out of the work force instead of finding a job, it’s time to look at other options — direct government job creation programs, reemployment training, reemployment bonuses, etc. Obviously none of this is easy. It may be the case that reemployment programs would be ineffective because there just aren’t enough jobs available, at which point we’d be looking at direct government jobs programs that would be highly divisive and maybe impossible to pass through Congress any time soon. But at least we’d be having the right debate.

The unemployed are becoming very politically savvy. Spend any time on OpenCongress and you’ll appreciate that. Either the Democrats are underestimating folks’ ability to unravel the kabuki dance or they’ve determined that the electoral benefits of making a big show out of trying to do something while actually doing nothing are greater than making an honest attempt at legislating a solution.

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Comments

  • deborahg6 09/27/2010 10:08am

    Now, this is the same Congress that had no trouble ramming through an unpopular Health Care bill, at all costs. Are we waking up yet America?

  • seanurse 09/27/2010 10:12am

    Wow donny what you say is so true. I hope and pray that all of us on unemployment go out to vote. I really hope we can change this election for the better. I myself have just collected my last 2 weeks of unemployment and I will be a 99er after that. My problem is that I am a widowed 51 year old woman. I have used all my savings, lost my home and now don’t have a thing to count on. I don’t even think i’m elgible for welfare to pay my rent. But hoping for change.

  • Comm_reply
    Rationalview 09/27/2010 11:14am

    Unless you have walked in your shoes, you really don’t understand. I’m hoping that they pass a Tier V and that someone takes a look at Social Security and changes the law to allow people who are collecting to earn more than a meager $14,000. No one should be penalized for working.

  • Comm_reply
    beenblue 09/27/2010 12:00pm

    I ALWAYS LOVE DROPPING IN ON YOU, YOU HAVE GOT A VERY NICE SPIRIT ABOUT YOU. I`M ALSO CURRENTLY WIDOWED AFTER 30 YEARS, AND HAVE BEEN OUT OF WORK SINCE 08. MY WIFES CANCER ATE UP EVERYTHING THAT WE SAVED, BUT I`M NOT COMPLAINING I`DE DO IT AGAIN. I GUESS ALL I`M SAYING IS, IT`S COMFORTING TO KNOW I`M NOT ALONE IN THIS.
    " REMEMBER NOVEMBER " AND I`M PRAYING FOR YOU…

  • Comm_reply
    DeborahJBrown 09/27/2010 12:40pm

    Millions of Americans will soon join the 99ers, myself included. Jobs don’t need to be “created” they need to be “restored”. Corporate America needs to be EDUCATED so that they understand that the success of their business is determined by consumers. Common sense says that there will certainly be fewer consumers with this many people unemployed and without benefits. The first step to economic recovery is job restoration and the first step to job restoration is CORPORATE EDUCATION – Economic Recovery 101: Businesses large and small NEED consumers. Consumers need income. If business owners were properly educated they might not be so quick to fight economic recovery efforts and they might realize that the federal deficit will irreparably deepen if we enter into a full scale Depression. This is where doing nothing to restore jobs or aid the unemployed is taking America. It almost seems as if corporate America is unwittingly fighting for the right to self-destruct! THAT is pretty scary.

  • bugsy166 09/27/2010 10:26am

    85% percent of the larger corporation offshore jobs , further fattening the bottom line for the company at the expense of not only the ‘99er, but the exploited worker in the cheap labor country where the former American job was shipped. While shareholders rejoice,
    Below is the address link to see all the companies that have moved out of the U.S taking all the jobs from us Americans. All these companies were making millions or billions in profits but that wasn’t enough. How much money is enough. Where is all that extra money going to the ceo’s, blue collar and bonuses they already have more money then they could ever spend. Greed!! Those companies that have moved out of the U.S should not be allowed to sell their products back to the place where they cut millions of jobs because of GREED!!
    http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/lou.dobbs.tonight/popups/exporting.america/content.html

  • bugsy166 09/27/2010 10:26am

    As things stand today those posing as our representatives in government will admit that 13 million of our American jobs so desperately needed by we 99ers are being worked for substandard wages by 13MILLION illegal’s and another 3 million are being worked at substandard wages by foreigners who have come to our country on work visas.
    As for the workers here on foreign visas if you do not see a problem maybe you better look again. On June 23, 2008 before he left CNN, Lou Dobbs reported that Nielson TV Rating Company is bringing in foreign workers from India on work visas to replace the Americans working for their company. AND T-MOBILE THE BIGGEST CELL PHONE COMPANY IN THE WORLD HAS OUT-SOURCED 99% OF ITS CORPORATE OFFICE TO THE PHILIPINES -including customer service and tech support …….BRING THESE JOBS BACK TO AMERICA or TAX the PHILIPINES and that TAX will eventually pay of our NATIONAL DEFICIT……

  • bugsy166 09/27/2010 10:27am

    I wonder what would happen if us American start to ‘BOYCOTT companies like t-mobile for outsourcing jobs that could have gone to an American!!!

  • Abaratarrr 09/27/2010 10:50am

    Thank you Donny for drawing attention to what is really gong on in Washington regarding this important issue.

    If they do not vote for us before the election we will not vote or them! if there plan is to take action during the lame duck it doesn’t matter who wins in November, the people that loose that say they that they will help us after the election will still be in office through the end of the year.

    Oh and folks we are being fed a line of BS regarding this October 2nd washington rally, do some research, it is not a 99ers rally it is an amnesty or illegal aliens rally that we are being manipulated into supporting.
    If harry reid continues to filibusterer 3706 he need to loose his job.

    The purpose of this rally is to garner immigrant support for democrats.

  • Rationalview 09/27/2010 11:09am

    “The unemployed are becoming very politically savvy.” Have to agree – but it isn’t only the unemployed – it’s everyone – wherever I am, everyone is suddenly a political expert. AND, how did Obama ever get elected? No one will owe up to voting for him – yet, we do know that he won and with quite an edge. It’s unbelieveable how people begin rambling about what a terrible state this country is in and how it is all Obama’s fault. AND, they expect you to agree – certainly, we have had dissatisfied citizens before – think back to Nixon or Reagon or even Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs – but now, everyone is a political expert regardless of their position in life. What’s most amusing is that they are ready to sing, “Hail to the Chief” to Palin and she never even completed a full governor’s term.

  • Abaratarrr 09/27/2010 1:04pm

    This is the reason there is no tier 5 they think that we are so stupid that we will vote or them even if they do nothing to help us.

    “The question is why the Tier 5 unemployment extension isn’t being considered on the list of emergency bills to pass. The cynical answer is that the 99ers are, by and large, already set to vote Democrat— so taking last-minute action to appeal to them isn’t as politically expedient as appealing to the undecided middle class by snubbing the already-Republican wealthy elite.”

    http://all247news.com/pelosi-says-tax-cut-vote-will-happen-but-no-news-on-99ers-tier-5-unemployment-extension/5805/

    In other words they won;t help us because letting us suffer (in their opinion) will not hurt them in the upcoming election.

  • Comm_reply
    mouseissue 09/27/2010 2:44pm

    Abaratarrr,

    I’ve been a 99er for a long time (exhausted all UI benefits last March) and know many others. Thinking that we will vote for these Socialist-Democrats just to get a measly 20 weeks of benefits is ridiculous. If it weren’t for them, most of us would have been re-employed a long time ago!

    Congress and the White House are doing everything they can to reduce their tax base, that is employed Americans!!!

    I don’t know about you, but I’m sure most employers I’ve ever worked for made more than $250K oer year. I don’t know of ANY that would hire more folks when they didn’t know how much money they’d have in the near future.

    Congress needs to pass a Tier 5 immediately and not to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire!!! Without both of these things, most all of us long-term unemployed are really screwed!

  • beenblue 09/27/2010 5:04pm
    I AM HOPING THAT I CAN ARTICULATE THIS FEELING I HAVE ABOUT THE CURRANT MORAL, AND ETHICAL CLIMATE THAT REMINDS ME OF AMERICA IN THE POST-WAR McCARTHY ERA, IT FEARED POLLUTION FROM `DEGENERATES` OUTSIDE OR WITHIN. IT INCLUDED VISIONS OF A NATIONAL AND RACIAL DESTINY. IT WAS PERMEATED BY FEAR FOR THE FRAGILE NATURE OF THIS PURITY, THERE WERE IDEAS OF APOCALYPTIC TRANSFORMATION THROUGH NATIONAL SOLIDARITY AND MILITARY DEDICATION TO A CAUSE. IN SUCH A MOOD, WE CAN BE OVERWHELMED JUST BY THE RELENTLESS HUMAN CAPACITY FOR MAKING LIFE HORRIBLE FOR OTHERS. THE RIGHT REACTION IS NOT TO SUCCUMB TO THE MOOD, BUT TO REFLECT THAT THE CURE LIES IN OUR OWN HANDS, AND CALLING EACH OTHER EXTREME NAMES IS NOT LOGICAL, ANYMORE THAN THE WITCH HUNTS WERE LOGICAL. THE EXTREMEST NEVER RESOLVED A THING THEY ONLY CREATE DIVISION, AN US AND THEM CLIMATE, AND AS THE OLD AXIOM GOES “DIVIDED WE FALL”.
  • Comm_reply
    beenblue 09/27/2010 5:46pm

    EMOTION BASED RELIGION, AND POLITICS ARE ILLOGICAL BECAUSE THEY ARE FUELED BY PASSION, AND ALL PASSIONS EXAGGERATE THE FACTS.OUR INTELLECTUAL LEVEL WILL REMAIN STUNTED AND CONFUSING UNTIL OUR CAPACITY FOR RECEIVING, AND ACCEPTING CERTAIN TRUTHS ARE RECOGNIZED. WE ARE DROWNING IN INFORMATION, BUT WE ARE STARVING FOR LACK OF WISDOM IN THE 21st CENTURY, I FEAR THAT IF WE DON`T EVOLVE AS A PEOPLE, THAT OUR FUTURE WILL BE FILLED WITH WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS, AND THIS IS WHAT OUR CHILDREN SHALL INHERIT.

  • Comm_reply
    nmeagent 09/28/2010 7:07pm

    Just in case you don’t already know this, posting messages in all capital letters is considered shouting and a breach of etiquette. Many will skip reading your messages on that basis alone.

  • eavina30 09/27/2010 10:06pm

    They’re more concerned with lowering the unemployment percentage rate then helping middle class people who voted for them. Millions deserve a tier 5, I would gladly trade extending bush tux cuts for S3706. I don’t think it’s every been this hard to find a job, ever, so why would congress ignore 99ers? I just don’t get the motive behind people and money, it’s not like we are gonna take material possessions with us. Basic resources should be provided to Americans especially if the put into the system, I guess the Republicans won with all the deficit buuuhhhaaa that they may I remind you they created, plus the childrens, grandchildren bullshit that they were implying on Cspan. Plain and simple shit is fucked up, I feel like I am being held hostage! I was never into politics until it affected me, I guess I should’ve paid more attention, no one to blame but myself……

  • eavina30 09/27/2010 10:21pm

    just read this

    However, the Democrats headed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admits that they don’t have enough votes to defeat a possible attempt by Republicans to block the bill. This is the usual scenario in the US Senate, where Republicans blocks bills that encroaches on businesses. To be honest the Republicans can be said as purely pro-elite and pro-rich, how can electing them be even help solved the unemployment issue which they themselves created.

  • Abaratarrr 09/27/2010 11:35pm

    All we need is the support of 5 (3 in a perfect situation) democratic senators to garantee the passage of 3706 before the election.

    If 3 to 5 democratic senators would refuse to vote for either the continuing resolution or the war unding bill unless the unemployment extension is attached or passed as a stand alone bill the senate would be forced to extend unemployment benefits.

    If the continuing resolution is not passed by September 30th the government will be shut down October 1, the Democrats will not let that happen right before an election. The republicans would love to see the government shut down by the majority right before the election which means most republicans will not vote for the continuing resolution. Three democrats refusing to vote for the continuing resolution unless a tier 5 is attached would force the government to shut down if a tier 5 is not passed.

    Can we not find 3 democrats willing to help us? We only need 3 or at most 5 democrats to pass a tier 5.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 09/27/2010 11:38pm

    I we can not find 3 democrats willing to fight for us they all need to be fired along with the republicans.

  • nmeagent 09/28/2010 7:18pm

    It would be a hell of a lot more effective to reduce taxes and regulations for all individuals and compensate by reducing government spending. But, of course, this would be more than just a token measure to fool the (perceived) boobs into believing that certain people in congress actually give a damn about the economy or the American people. Drop income taxes to single digits and remove the giant footprint of government from our foreheads to compensate and I guarantee the economy would explode (in a good way). Jobs will only come back from abroad when there is a reason for them to come back.

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