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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

This is the future of the American worker
Posted by Jill | 5:31 AM
There are no jobs. American corporations are sending what jobs they create overseas. There is no tax cut deep enough to make them have any sense of responsibility towards American citizens other than those wealthy enough to be stockholders. And that -- the profit motive NOT above all else, but EXCLUSIVE OF all else, is where capitalism falls apart.

So what happens to the American worker
in a society in which we're told to work hard but there are no jobs?
Ms. Jarrin is part of a hard-luck group of jobless Americans whose members have taken to calling themselves “99ers,” because they have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits that they can claim.

For them, the resolution recently of the lengthy Senate impasse over extending jobless benefits was no balm. The measure renewed two federal programs that extended jobless benefits in this recession beyond the traditional 26 weeks to anywhere from 60 to 99 weeks, depending on the state’s unemployment rate. But many jobless have now exceeded those limits. They are adjusting to a new, harsh reality with no income.

In June, with long-term unemployment at record levels, about 1.4 million people were out of work for 99 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not all of them received unemployment benefits, but for many of those who did, the modest payments were a lifeline that enabled them to maintain at least a veneer of normalcy, keeping a roof over their heads, putting gas in their cars, paying electric and phone bills.

Without the checks, many like Ms. Jarrin, who lost her job as director of client services at a small technology company in March 2008, are beginning to tumble over the economic cliff. The last vestiges of their former working-class or middle-class lives are gone; it is inescapable now that they are indigent.

Ms. Jarrin said she wept as she drove away from her old life last month, wondering if she would ever be able to reclaim it.

“At one point, I thought, you know, what if I turned the wheel in my car and wrecked my car?” she said.

If that is what the corporations want, if that is what Republicans want -- mass suicide of everyone not in the Rich Guys Club, then let them at least have the decency to come out and say it. Because it certainly seems that this is their goal. Most of the comments to this article are from people who get what's going on. But still, even at the "liberal" New York times, the haters come out, trying to find SOME way to blame this woman for her own predicament, to avoid realizing that what is happening to Alexandra Jarrin could just as easily happen to them:

1) The "Let her get rid of everything that costs her money and let's attack her for getting an education" people:

Some decisions by this person clearly were her own fault - a $90K debt for an undergraduate education is ridiculous in any economy; clearly she keeps feeding a cat (in the photo but not mentioned in the story) that has to cost her money she can ill afford.

1) The "let her take a minimum wage job" people, conveniently forgetting that those who have ever worked at anything OTHER than a minimum wage job are undesirable for those jobs because "they'll quit when something better comes along:"
When you are unemployed you have an obligation to yourself and your family to take ANY work you can find, rather than whining that the rest of us limit you to only 2 years on the dole. So you used to be a white collar worker and cant find a similar job?? Get real and do what you can. That is the type of work ethic that built this country

I wonder what this commenter does for a living and if she has ever tried to get a minimum-wage job with a background of white-collar employment. To his credit, the author replied to the many comments like this:
As Ms. Jarrin tells it, she has applied for plenty of minimum wage jobs, including McDonalds, Burger King and other fast food restaurants, in addition to positions that better fit her background. I've actually heard this a lot from many unemployed with college-degrees. They can't even get those jobs at Starbucks and the like because they're overqualified or perceived that they will leave as soon as the economy improves.

3) The "It's a liberal conspiracy" people:
Can this be what the Democrats in Congress have been hoping for, millions of people who are now dependent on government benefits for their existence? Can it be that the Democrats would like to see people dependent on extensions of unemployment benefits, welfare, Medicaid, etc. so that they remember the Democrats' largesse when it comes time to vote?

4) And then there are the just plain idiots:
Many of these high paying do-nothing cubical jobs are disappearing forever. She needs to fix here resume so she doesn't appear over-qualified and trade down for a lesser job.

Funny how the writer of this one doesn't have any problem with the executives who are making 500 times more than the "cubical" (sic) workers they're jettisoning.

Aside from the severe structural unemployment that seems to be the future of this country, the biggest problem we have is that American simply refuse to wake up to the reality that's staring them in the face, and that is that every single one of us could be in this position tomorrow. If we have some money set aside, or retirement savings, that's only a cushion. But if you have 20-30 years of life expectancy ahead of you, who has THAT kind of money set aside?

As long as people insist that there are pat answers for the long-term unemployed -- go live with family (without knowing what any individual's family situation is), dumb down your resume (how do you do that with 30 years of ever-increasing knowledge level jobs?), work at McDonald's (as if every fast food restaurant has a "come on in, the money's fine" sign out front...

As long as Americans are content with the idea that if it weren't for those darned illegal immigrants, good red-blooed Amurricans could have those 40 to 50 cents per 32-lb bucket tomato picker jobs where you would have to pick 456 pounds (14 buckets) an hour to make even minimum wage, we are going to continue to be like the proverbial frog immersed in the water on the hot burner -- swimming around blithely until it is too late.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I read the whole article; it joins the group of recent articles on the killing of the middle class. I've begun considering what things I could sell: art books, some hand-made pottery, jewelry I don't wear anymore. I've looked into starting a page on Etsy for jewelry and crocheted items I could make. I don't drive or own a car so I must keep my apartment somehow, my development has its own power plant so that utility is covered. Single adults without children don't have many safety net options.

It's bad out here and I blame every Republican and most Democrats for not being concerned about the unemployed. I try not to actively wish harm to any of them, but hope that they meet their karma sooner rather than later.


Anonymous The New York Crank said...
Right on, Purple Girl! Anmd for those items you could make: Million dollar income people don't want your crocheted items and hand-made jewelry. And when the rest of us are facing tomorrow in the same position as you, we probably won't buy it —no matter how good it is—either.

The Republican rich simply want us to go away (except for a few of us who can stay on to clean their toilets.) What we should be doing is thinking about angry marches on Washington.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Blogger jurassicpork said...
My federal benefits haven't kicked in, yet. I was told a week and a half ago that it would take about 3 weeks for it to be implemented into the MA state program. Even then, they said, the extension will last for only 16 weeks.

Barb's hasn't kicked in, yet, so we have no money coming in. I'm not even sure the rent check will clear, although we've managed to pay our smaller bills. THank God we enough food for the next couple of weeks.

But to hear employers talk, it's my fault because my right wing asshat of a boss decided one morning 15+ months ago that I was expendable. It's my fault for remaining unemployed all this time because people have been secretly ignoring me and passing me over for interviews because I'm unemployed.

Like I asked for this to happen to me a month after losing my family & home of 15+ years.

I was hopeful that 2010 would be better than 2009 (It HAD to be, right?) but things aren't shaping up that way this year, especially after I read Paul Krugman's recent gloomy prognostication of unemployment only getting much worse in the next 2 years.

Purple Girl is right in her suspicions that the middle class is more under attack than ever. This would be a predictable state of affairs if we still had a Republican in the WH. But we don't. We have a "Socialist" president who's sucking up to Wall Street's right wing and just saddled us with a health care "reform" that may easily prove to be more expensive than the co-opted, corrupt bonanza that we already have.

Anonymous mandt said...
"I wonder what this commenter does for a living?" My guess is that this heartless bitch is a right-wing, uber Christian Republican housewife parasite.

Anonymous Magatha said...
The plain fact is that our corporate overlords need a lot of us to simply die. A big die-off would clear the decks of a lot of us who hoped for more than just subsistence-level work. Or, more likely, it would clear out those who struggle to find the subsistence-level work we don't want, making such work our only resort.

I'm no conspiracy theorist. I don't believe any corporation is plotting a big die-off. But if, for example, a particularly virulent strain of influenza developed, and it hit malnourished, under-insured or uninsured people first and hardest, they would cheer. Employment would go up - we've got graves to dig, folks - and the remaining populace would eventually have to get back to stocking shelves and mowing lawns and installing entertainment systems and maybe they would throw us a little bone, like forgiving a part of our student loans. Sure, some of their grand-kids might die, but collateral damage happens.

Anonymous BCP said...
You Liberals need to get off of this Corporation=Evil mentality. Not all jobs were outsourced by corporations. There were many jobd inside the U.S. that were outsourced to the illegal immigrant workforce. Thanks to the Republicans AND THE DEMOCRATS who allow the influx of illegal immigrants to continue:

Exhibit A:
"CALLER FROM OHIO: "I was living in North Carolina. We had things going good for us. We was buying -- we had our home. They started bringing the illegals in. They wiped us out. I went from being an employer to being an employee. We lost our home. We had to move back and live in a family-owned dwelling. They're not raising their standard of living; they're lowering ours. I've got friends that built houses all their lives, and now they can't get a job. They're taking jobs from American citizens. Its causing us to lose our homes. Its putting us in poverty, you know? Where's my rights? I got two Bronze Stars and a Silver Star. This is not what I fought for. I didn't fight for Mexico. I didn't fight for these illegals. I fought for this country because I love it." - CSPAN Washington Journal 8/2/10

Democrats don't give a damn about the American worker. It shows by the Hisapandering that they do on the illegal immigration issue. It's the main reason I no longer consider myself a liberal.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, we're always bragging so much about our "democratic" form of government that we completely overlook that fact that on a socioeconomic level, we are descending into a kind of feudal system.

The Masters of the Universe are getting much fatter and richer, and on their way to becoming a de facto American nobility, while the rest of us seem headed for a form of serfdom (a lifetime of minimum-wage work! Hooray!)

Of course, the serfs will be persuaded that A) it's God's Will that this should be so, and/or B)that it's all the fault of the liberals. Just ask the Teabaggers.