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Long-Term Unemployed Left Behind as 2012 Approaches

May 16, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Even as the economy slowly recovers and new jobs are created, millions of the hardest hit unemployed continue to be left behind. In April, the number of unemployed workers who have been without a job for more than two years increased by 21,000 to 14.5% of all unemployed. As Lauren Victoria Burke reported recently following a meeting between Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus, the very-long-term unemployed are being shut out of the conversation because their growing numbers contradict the economic picture the President is trying to paint:

The President does not seem deeply motivated to to actively support unemployment benefits in general terms. […] The White House also seems to bothered by the idea of bringing “unemployment” up while at the same time arguing that “jobs are being added and things are “slowly improving.” As 2012 approaches, the White House would seem more interested in PR and pandering to certain vote blocks than in “doing the right thing.” The “doing the right thing” argument has been brought up as a motivating reason to support H.R. 589 by several CBC members. The issue of stimulating the economy has also been mentioned. Problem is: Obama and his political strategists are assuming the black vote is theirs 24/7 no matter what.  With that said, why act on initiatives being pushed by black representatives in Congress? Where is the leverage? […] When the issue is discussed it happens because it is pushed on him rather than the other way around.

Burke does report some good new for the long-term unemployed:

The President mentioned he wants to possibly attach the 99ers money to some other big piece of legislation somehow… which piece, how and when is unclear…

Of course, Obama doesn’t decide what gets attached to legislation. Congress does, and so far there is no indication that Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8] or Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] are going to push for a benefits extension for 99ers. Obama does have the power of the veto, but all the inside-game reporting from Burke and others following this issue closely don’t inspire much confidence that he would actually demand an extension for 99ers as a condition for signing some “must-pass” bill.

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Comments

sehall57 07/20/2011 10:32pm

My benefits ran out mid June, 2011. My electric is about to be shut off, I can’t pay my July rent. I struggle just to find ways to afford the $10.00 a month it takes to feed my pet of 25 years. I sell belongings just to live moment to moment to see my way to the next day. I go hungry most of the month. Is this what you call the new American Dream?. I am terrified I will be living on the streets very quickly unless things turn around immediately. Once on the streets it will be next to impossible to overcome that adversity no matter how much desire I would have to overcome that obstacle. I am about to lose everything I have all over something that is from no fault of my own. Is this fair that I have worked for 35 years and the end result is homelessness and despair? How much do we have to beaten down? Is it fair that a country has allowed a population growth that it can not possibly sustain? Please Congress, pass H.R.589 – yesterday would be nice.

sehall57 07/20/2011 10:29pm

My benefits ran out mid June, 2011. My electric is about to be shut off, I can’t pay my July rent. I struggle just to find ways to afford the $10.00 a month it takes to feed my pet of 25 years. I sell belongings just to live moment to moment to see my way to the next day. I go hungry most of the month. Is this what you call the new American Dream. I am terrified I will be living on the streets very quickly unless things turn around immediately. Once on the streets it will be next to impossible to overcome that adversity no matter how much desire I would have to overcome that obstacle. I am about to lose everything I have all over something that is from no fault of my own. Is this fair that I have worked for 35 years and the end result is homelessness and despair? How much do we have to beaten down? Is it fair that a country has allowed a population growth that it can not possibly sustain? Please Congress, pass H.R.589 – yesterday would be nice.

irishncountry 05/26/2011 3:32pm

All my unemployment benefits ran out 10/2010 ,as of now all checking and saving and even my 401 is gone and now I have even lost my one room apartment so this happen you a person that woked over 40 years non-stop you lose everything. Yes the millioms of American need help now Pass H.R.589 and stop giveing are money to other countries start help American that are or have lost everything

scottdawson23 05/23/2011 12:18am

HR 589 is important to my family. Please pass this legislation.

Mr President
Rep Defazio

Sincerely
Scott Dawson

fakk2 05/17/2011 3:25am

Good question valleri, but when we must be careful to not forget the “more nimble” communist countries also have a lower quality of life than we do. Not to mention communism usually turns to crap when you get humans involved. On paper though it’s a great idea, just not in practical application.

As far as setting partisan politics aside, it needs to be asked why Congress doesn’t want a balanced budget amendment. Democrats in particular, but honestly all politicians, fear a balanced budget because it will make it much harder to buy votes. Democrats have bought votes from citizens, whereas Republicans have bought votes from businesses. Instead of worrying about getting re-elected, they should be worried about America failing. But will we ever find enough people to elect to effect this change in Congress? My opinion is no. And without that, we’ll never settle our trade policies, or internal policies, the way they need to be. It’s time for states to take back their constitutional power.

valleri 05/16/2011 11:12pm

I honestly feel very terrible for those that are unemployed. Many of these individuals have families to feed and provide health insurance for. The scarce number of available jobs, which are mostly health industry positions requiring a degree, are out of reach for many millions of people.

To get these millions of people back to work, their existing skills need to be utilized. And since many are from the manufacturing sector, it only makes sense for an open debate regarding our trade policies and our economic future.

It is scary that our democracy is so slow to react to changes in the global economy. While Democrats and Republicans argue in D.C., a more nimble Communist country like China can rapidly adjust their policies to capitalize on emerging technologies and market trends. If that’s not a case for our elected officials to set partisan politics aside and work together then what is?

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