By: T. Cahill
National (May 6) – With the first week of May drawing to a close and no mention about any action to be taken to extend unemployment for those currently in the system, things look dire. For those who have long since run out of unemployment extension benefits, money of their own paid into the system when they had jobs, anger and despair continues to breed.
Sarah Smith writes, “I am a 99er. The congress said it does not want to set up a welfare system and that another tier will cause people not to look for a job. I was sent a letter from unemployment that said if you can not find work you may be eligible for welfare.” Welfare is not what Sarah seeks nor it is the dream come true for millions of others. They want to work, they want their job back or a new job – any job. Her frustration is the expression of all the millions of unemployed whether still within the structure of receiving weekly checks or not.
She continues, “I have worked for 22 years and this was my first time collecting unemployment. I do not think anyone who is on unemployment enjoys being on it. My unemployment was not even enough to pay my rent. I had to move out of my 3 bedroom house into a one bedroom apartment.”
But her story, like so many, does not end there. The amount of unemployment she received was not even enough to pay the rent and her electric and water. Compounding her dire straits is the worry about how she is suppose to feed her child. Sarah, along with millions of others, feels deserted by her own government. “I would love to have a job,” she declares, “So if you can not give us a Tier V I suggest Congress finds a job for each us. It seems like they are living in another world.”
Her voice rings out the cry of all Americans abandoned by those on Capitol Hill, “The unemployed workers did not cause this! They did and now we have to pay for their mistakes, while they have no worries about where their next month’s rent is coming from. We get cut off while Wall street gets billions of our dollars. It is wrong!”
John is another wants-to-work individual who is reaching the end of his unemployment. Not yet a member of the rank and file “99ers”, he has at least the small comfort of a minimum check each week. John is organized to the point of almost obsessiveness. Color-coded folders, high profile resumes, follow up phone calls, requests for interviews and a background filled with construction awards from prominent companies, John searches the nation daily in the hopes of finding a job, any job, any where. With a family, he is more than willing to move or commute. Yet all his hard work, which he will continue, goes unanswered. He cannot find a job anywhere.
The trouble is two-fold. The inability of Congress, or their unwillingness to help, coupled with jobs that do not exist and are not being created as promised. Against their will, millions have been forced into a system they never tapped into before; people who have stood on their own two feet their entire lives, yet through the fault of greed and neglect of administrations past and present are the one’s made to suffer.
Congress cannot turn their backs to this situation. Jobs will not magically appear. People do have a breaking point. It is time for those on the Hill to look out their windows, answer their telephones, pick up their faxes, and read their emails. Things are not getting better, unless you are already rich. Will this country end up with two classes? Rich and dirt poor? Will our government allow this to happen? These are serious questions and many millions of unemployed have long since started formulating their own answers.