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99ers and the American Jobs Act

September 15, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The American Jobs Act doesn’t propose an extension for 99ers, the millions of people who have been out of work so long that they are no longer eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. But it does include several provisions that are designed to help them in other ways.

  • Enhanced reemployment services — Under the bill, states would be able to apply for federal funds to use for creating new job counseling programs for people who are receiving unemployment benefits. It would allow states to provide the programs to 99ers. The services would include things like help in assessing alternative career paths and improving communication/interview skills.
  • Pathways back to work — All states applying for money to use for subsidized employment programs would have to, at a minimum, describe how they would target assistance to 99ers.
  • Workplace retraining programs — Entities applying for grants to set up on-the-job retraining for unemployed workers “may” include include in their applications criteria they will use to target assistance to 99ers. The federal agency in charge of distributing the funds would not be required to base their decision on how applicants will help 99ers, but they would have the ability to make it a priority if they if they want to.
  • Ban on hiring discrimination against the unemployed — The bill would make it illegal for employers or employment agencies to consider unemployment status in making hiring decisions, block unemployed people from accessing information about available job positions, or publish in job ads that unemployed people can not apply.

Obviously, none of this is a substitute for additional weeks of unemployment insurance for 99ers, as proposed in H.R.589. Unemployment insurance provides a critical lifeline for those who have been hardest hit by the jobs crisis, and it is the single most stimulative form of government spending there is. But these are things that have the potential to do something even better for the 99ers, they could lead to secure jobs and reliable sources of income for months or years to come.

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Comments

  • concernedinKY 09/15/2011 7:05pm

    This are all awesome, really, but they do absolutely nothing to address the immediate issues the 99ers face. How will they put gas in their cars to get to these interviews? How will they afford that hair cut and some new clothes to look decent on their job searches? What about a phone so potential employers have a number to call them back? Looking for work is next to impossible without some form of income to help with the expenses of well, looking for work. HR589 would give the 99ers the IMMEDIATE relief they need now so that they can be prepared and have a fighting chance when the Jobs Act actually starts to show signs of being effective. Many of these programs assume that the 99ers are all unskilled, this simply isn’t true in many cases. What they are is at the end of their rope and in need of IMMEDIATE help. This is a crisis situation and should be treated as one, not shoved under the carpet and glossed over by empty promises. They need help, not lipservice.

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    felixsmom 09/17/2011 7:31pm

    I concur with you totally an all the points here, CdinKY. I’m a 99er, and I know I’m not the only one having to make a decision between (A)having a secure place to live and taking care of my family’s medical needs not to mention daily bread! or (B)investing what little money I have left in wardrobe, makeup, internet, phone, transportation etc. which are required to successfully compete in today’s market for ANY available jobs.
    There are job openings in my field, but I realize along with the stigma of long-term unemployment, like many other 99ers I battle age discrimination. A younger generation – NOT necessarily more skilled! IS getting hired for the jobs I qualify for! Many like myself will never be able to compete on a level playing ground ever again, through no fault of our own. I fear the above are halfway measures; TOO LITTLE and far TOO LATE for many.
    8 wks. of $ as outlined in HR589 might just be enough to boost me and others like me back into the game, not retraining.

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    sashabables 09/27/2011 2:30am

    great article!!!
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    Gabitza 12/10/2011 9:55am

    Funny how the estimates were so wrong. Nothing they said worked or did what was expected. free jailbreak

  • AdmiralJedi 09/16/2011 1:06am

    Very curious to hear your opinions on how an extension of unemployment benefits are the “single most stimulative form of government spending there is.”

    I personally define stimulative as leading to increased economic output AND increased employment. Yet extending unemployment benefits would seem to me to have a DISincentivizing effect on employment seekers. I’m sincerely interested in your thoughts.

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    donnyshaw 09/16/2011 4:47pm

    OpenCongress Staff

    The two are intertwined. Increasing output increases employment by boosting demand for goods and services. Any suppressive effects on employment are minimal compared to the positive effects on output and employment. Check out the table on page 18 of this CBO report comparing effects of policy options on output and employment to see how an unemployment extension might compare to other ideas that have been floated.

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    msa651 09/17/2011 8:58am

    I have looked, that report was done in Jan 2010 of last year. Funny how the estimates were so wrong. Nothing they said worked or did what was expected. You might want to consider the report done, I think it was Sweden, showed an inverse effect when unemployment benefits were extended. When they cut unemployment benefit length time, more people when to work.

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    nancym 09/17/2011 10:51am

    @msa651

    I see you didn’t do you homework, if you say you “looked.” That report doesn’t have anything that was wrong about the effect of the types of spending on unemployment. It’s true the rate didn’t go down to 8% a couple of years ago, but that’s not what this report is about. The effect on buying power and overall effect to shore up the GDP is still correct, since it would have been much worse if those unemployment benefits had not been included in the original stimulus package. At that time there were NO jobs to even apply for, and the country was shedding jobs at a catastrophic rate. Currently, things are pretty bad, but nowhere near the job losses of the last few years. The thing is, what to do with all those who have literally been left behind as a result of the totally irresponsible actions of a few megabanks.

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    nancym 09/17/2011 10:52am

    2)
    And reports that show an inverse ratio are equivocal at best. There are always a few on the fringes who sit on the couch, but I can assure you that very few in my state were content to just sit on a couch when they were trying to survive on less than $300 per week and without any other resources whatsoever after they used up all their savings to pay rent or mortgage.

    The report of that type most often quoted by Republicans to prove their own prejudices against the unemployed was also a complex report with mixed results that don’t prove anything of the kind that the Tea Party espouses about the long term unemployed (I did do my homework and read the entire report). In fact, one of the co-authors has now joined the current administration, but long before he did that he wrote a commentary that objected to how his nuanced research was used politically to bash the unemployed, when nothing about his report justified that.

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    ebw 09/18/2011 6:54am

    Hey Donnie, I am a 99’er out of work for about 2 1/2 years, I have been watching this guy for the past year and I LOVE this guy! Here is a video he just did to the President? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23_TQrgOn9Y maybe Obama should see it and then he will help us? or at least get a little tougher, this guy really goes after him lol.

    Cordially,
    Eric Wieder

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  • fedup99er 09/16/2011 6:45pm

    I’m one of those 99ers, the first to suffer and the last to get the aid that’s needed. Sometimes I don’t feel proud of this country. We were taught as kids about the “American Dream.” I don’t feel the urgency from the people we put in congress to take charge and help uplift the people most effected. This isn’t high school peoples lives are in your hands!!!

    We have fallen at no fault of our own. I’m tired of being looked down on as if I’m not worth ish! We’re not mentioned enough in this country. You cannot survive for long in this country with out money. AND MONEY SURE TALKS!! In the last six months I’ve been evicted from my home and I had to sell my car. Just to put a few bucks in my pocket for a few weeks.

    I’m stressed cause I have a hard time making sure I can get to interviews. As a matter of fact I have an interview this coming Monday and I have until that morning to find a way to get there. These are the immediate issues I face. SO WHAT NOW POLITICIANS?!!!

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    quitwhining 09/16/2011 7:39pm

    The last to get aid? Are you serious? You were the FIRST to get aid. Did you forget about the 99 weeks you were already given? Thats 208% of what you normally would have received. There is only so much free money you can get. Yes it is said and yes I am sure it was through no fault of your own but get serious. What do you do all day? Are you out there helping those who are less fortunate than you? Serving at a soup kitchen? nope sitting on a blog complaining. Well done.

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    quitwhining 09/16/2011 7:55pm

    Excuse me 288%.

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    nancym 09/17/2011 10:32am

    @quitwhining

    You are without a clue.

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    quitwhining 09/17/2011 12:30pm

    How is that? Am I not right you received 99 weeks? Am I not right it is 288% more than you would receive in normal times? It is time you all quit saying there are no jobs, and look at the one you think are below you.

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    felixsmom 09/17/2011 8:03pm

    Just curious, Quitwhining. What do you do for a living? You must have a lot of time on your hands. Don’t you have the least concern that you maight be really hurting people with your vitriol?
    I’ve worked full time for 37 years and only became unemployed during this recession. I find your attitude towards those like me ignorant at best, vulgar is really the term that comes to mind here.
    If you attended grades 1-12 & college, I’m sure MY tax money had something to do with getting you there.If you ever collect social security I contributed to your retirement. You drive on roads my $$$ helped build. My dad & legions of others shed blood for YOUR freedom. I have a niece and nephew serving overseas right now – for you!
    We’ve all needed a hand up at some time. Did you change your own diapers when you were a baby? Countless others as well as myself have already worked our butts off for many years to try and secure YOU and your ilk a long healthy life.
    Whining indeed. Shame on you!

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    quitwhining 09/22/2011 8:54pm

    Your taxes have not paid anything for me FYI. 13 years at a private school. Paid for my college. I work for a not for profit group and don’t collect social security. I own my own house and car.
    I am not being cruel towards the 99ers. I have sympathy for you. But there comes a point where you need to stop asking for money and do something to earn it. 99 weeks is a ridiculous amount of time. The government is bending over backwards for you guys. 288% of normal unemployment?! And now that isn’t enough? When will it end?
    PS. Thanks for the roads.

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    tx2step 09/26/2011 2:58pm

    Texas here: does anyone have any current info re: Tier 4 for the last six weeks of benefits? From my calculations we are pretty close and need 8.6 to qualify? Thanks.

  • Sher1 09/20/2011 4:22pm

    Thanks Donnie! The fight for the 99ers goes on, focus on services and PAID programs for those unemployed 1-2 years who have suffered most in this recession. HR 589 is still alive but I see it more as a provision added to the legislation already being worked on. It can happen but its up to the people to wake-up and stop what is being done after being asleep for TOO long.

  • Sher1 09/20/2011 4:23pm

    Thousands at the New York City Protest – Occupy Wall Street – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzLAasLCnak

  • Sher1 09/20/2011 4:42pm
    Horrible VIDEO OF THE NYC protesters & the cops brutality. Thousands showed up for this WallStreet protest. They mentioned no media coverage but I CNN did mention it. OCCUPY-WALL-STREET-PROTESTERS-ARRESTS Spread this video.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyvbI6Eq-qA
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