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The '99ers' Share Their Stories
Paul Solman, PBS, MAKING SEN$E -- August 6, 2010

I'm a 49 year old single mother of a 15 year old. I was laid off in September of 2008 and my unemployment ended in April of 2010. The way New Jersey calculates your base year made me ineligible for more than 79 weeks.

I apply to just about 50 jobs per week and I went to school and got some medical certifications that are just about useless. Everyone I speak with says "your certifications are great, but we're really looking for some experience."

I have been unable to pay my rent since June and expect to be evicted shortly. I have no one in a position to help, and can't even imagine what it's going to be like, telling my daughter that we have no home. [...] Although I can't consider suicide, I understand where these people are at!

That was just one of the personal stories out of the MILLIONS of fellow out-of-work Americans,

also known as the 99er's ...

What is a 99er?

They are our fellow out-of-work Americans, who somehow --

KEEP FALLING through the Cracks -- of our Broken Economy ...

from the previous link ...

Last month, Congress extended federal unemployment benefits for people who had been out of work up to 99 weeks. But for the millions of Americans who have been jobless longer than that -- the "99ers" -- there will be no more checks coming.

More of our fellow out-of-work Americans, Share Their Stories ... There but for the grace of ... [the-powers-that-be] ... Go I ...

Unemployment extension won't help '99ers'
WWMT - NEWSCHANNEL 3 -- July 22, 2010

Newschannel 3 spoke to a 99er in Battle Creek on Thursday. He's 62, but doesn't want to retire, however a combination of bad luck and a down economy has left Doug Deaton feeling like he has nowhere to go.

Deaton's often at his computer before the sun rises, searching for jobs and submitted resumes. Deaton has exhausted his 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, but he hasn't given up.

"I've applied everywhere in the country," said Deaton. "I've applied everywhere I can find something here."
"For those who have been out of it for more than two years, we're hurting," said Deaton.

The benefits extension passed on Thursday will not help Deaton our the thousands of other 99ers.

Deaton says he feels like a hostage of an unforgiving job market. In order to make ends meet he's sold off his Disney collectibles on eBay and took Social Security early. He says he's not looking for a handout.

"We've heard enough people say 'Well, the people who are unemployed are just sitting home and are playing or doing nothing,' and that doesn't cut it for me because that's not the people I know," said Deaton. "The people that I know want jobs."

Deaton talks to other 99ers from across the country online. He says he's heard from some who are becoming homeless and even contemplating suicide.

Homelessness and Suicide ... those are the ultimate "Downsizing Plan" ... eh?

The ultimate goal of that Corporate-driven "Race to the Bottom".

Cast-aways.  Obsolete parts.  Cheapest Labor.  Discarded Overhead.

Who needs em? ... It's just Bizness, in the Big City!

Like I said, Our.Economy.IS.Broken.

The causes are many.

The Excuses are everywhere.

The HELP -- is Nowhere to be found ...

for far TOO Many of our fellow out-of-work Americans:

Suicide Rates Up Since Recession Began, Debt A 'Way Of Life' For 99ers
Jonathan Daniel Harris, HuffPost  -- July 26, 2010

Though experts say we may not know for years how much the rate has increased, calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline increased by 36 percent in 2008, and another 15 percent in 2009.
This trend was also seen during the Great Depression, when the suicide rate increased by 21 percent in the early 1930s (about 17 of every 100,000 people).

Well these 4 million-plus desperate out-of-work Americans -- finally DO HAVE a few Advocates on their side ...

The Ed Show Fri Aug 6, 2010

SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, Senator Debbie Stabenow broke news on this program last night when she announced the democratic bill to help the 99ers, it's called the Americans Want to Work act. People who have exhausted their unemployment benefits could get them extended for another 20 weeks. But most importantly, the legislation addresses the real issue and that's getting Americans back into the labor force. The Americans want to work act, "doubles the general business tax credit for businesses that hire and retain for 52 weeks someone who has exhausted all unemployment benefits." Joining me now is another senator fighting and a cosponsor of the 99er bill, Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a cosponsor of the legislation as I said. Senator, good work.


SCHULTZ: But this isn't going to get down until September.


SCHULTZ: And these folks need help now. Why not do it before you go home?

WHITEHOUSE: We'd like to, but we're up against an absolute wall of republican opposition as you've seen in the last few weeks, we've been trying to get through the small business jobs bill which is supported by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, supported by the community bankers who are the ones who are be able to get the funds out to their small business customers. Complete shutdown. So, it's a very difficult situation.

Why in the world, is the GOP against Bills that are supported by Business Lobbyists, against Bills that provides REAL Incentives to Hire Real Americans, in need?

99er’s Tier 5 Unemployment Extension 2010: S.3706 Is Capitalism at its Finest


Every time a business considers a new hire, its major concern is the effect the hire will have on its bottom line. Will the person bring more money in than he or she will cost?  It’s a complex equation, because there are many costs beyond just the employee’s hourly wage that the business must pay, like taxes.  S3706 provides not only a discount on the amount of Social Security tax that a business pays for hiring an unemployed worker, but also offers a two thousand dollar tax break if they keep their new hire for at least a year.

How can the Pro-Corporate Republicans be against these Pro-business "Hire Americans" incentives?

Oh wait Nevermind -- in the Party of No Ideas, it's NOT about People -- It's about THEIR Power.

If real People get hurt in the progress, Well, that's just Politics, in the Big City!

Only in the cynical arena of American Politics,

Could one Party get away with Blocking nearly every piece of Legislation, and then expect to be rewarded for it, by Blaming the other Party -- for Doing NOT ENOUGH to Help these Folks !

As K.O. might say ...  W.T.F !?

It's like you were working on a 'Group Project' at school and half of the students in your group just goofed off and refused to help the entire time -- and then the "loafers" just pointed fingers and blamed YOU, for what a shoddy presentation, your group ended up turning in, at the end of the Semester.

In the real world -- they'd ALL get D's ... (or F's)  [ie. it's Results that matter.]

In the Political World -- Well get ready ... to roll out those non-reality-based, corporately-funded, Political Ads ...

Turns out,  Votes -- are a very 'fungible' resource.  (ie. equivalent to $$$ spent.)

Well here's one Project Leader, who IS trying to get something done ... will she get the help she needs from the "other students" or not -- is still yet to be seen.   (Will she get some extra moral support from the 'Classroom Teacher' in Chief ... one wonders about that too? )

The Ed Show Thur Aug 5, 2010

SCHULTZ: So it's not just helping out the 99ers who are in desperate need right now. It is somewhat of a jobs creator, because you're telling businesses across the country if this bill passes, that there will be tax incentives, tax breaks on the table, especially if you hire someone who's been in that 99er category.

STABENOW: Absolutely. And the bill's called Americans Want to Work Act because Americans want to work, Ed. This is not about folks that want to be on unemployment, just barely holding it together with $300 a week. They want to work. So this provides -- it's a unique combination of helping people temporarily that are out of work, but also giving tax incentives, cuts to businesses.
SCHULTZ: OK. The rumor out there is -- some people have mentioned to me that the 99ers are going to become very politically active until one party or another say we're up for sale right now. I mean, they want SOMEONE to step up legislatively and do something for them.

Afterall the 99er's -- they are MORE.Than.a.Statistic.

They are former Workers, they are heads of Households, they are VOTERS.

They should not be underestimated.  They should not be cast away.

Compassion, THAT should not be another one of those "Commodities",

that also gets Outsourced to somewhere else -- always to the cheapest bidder!

Compassion, THAT should BE the ultimate Home-grown Resource ...

Buy American.  

Hire American.

Shop Local.

Support the The Americans Want to Work Act (S.3706)

Above all, give a Damn -- DON'T 'look past' your fellow out-of-work Americans ...

They are NOT lazy, they are NOT shiftless, they are NOT dumb.

They are simply

Americans -- WHO up until 2 Years ago -- DID Work.   Worked very hard, thank you very much.

Now they are looking around and simply wondering  -- WHAT HAPPENED !?

Those of us, lucky enough, to still be gainfully employed -- SHOULD BE Wondering the same thing.

[Note:  All emphasis, and witless observations expressed above, are only those of the author, and not the sources cited.]

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 12:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (33+ / 0-)

    Simply ignoring the Facts of our Broken Economy --

    will NOT make most of them US, Go Away ...

    Middle Class is STILL Losing Ground -- the Facts are in.
    by jamess -- Jul 26, 2010

    The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

    by jamess on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 12:49:44 PM PDT

  •  What a bunch of bullshit that it even has to be (17+ / 0-)

    said.  That they want to work. Jeebus.  My 62 yr old sister is in the same boat as old Doug there from Battle Creek.  She's a 99er, or was, and has literally sent out over 2500 applications/resumes in the last two years.  Ten interviews, one call back and tons of frustration.  That's in Seattle, home of the benevolent billionaire Bill Gates who helped create a nightmare of an employment atmosphere in the hi-tech industry.  Now she has no choice but to move from the place she's lived for 20 years and cram things into my spare bedroom.  But we do think about all those that don't have that type of option.  Where are they going?  

    "I will no longer be labeled, except as a human being."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 01:15:53 PM PDT

  •  I'm a 99er (13+ / 0-)

    And have been holding my breath for creation of TierV.

    Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) together with several other senators, including Dick Schumer, and my own Dick Durbin, have introduced legislation establishing Tier V.

    Like one of the persons mentioned, my benefits ended in April '10.

    I may be close to being hired, but in this economy, I'm not holding my breath.

    My daughter's on a full academic scholarship for college, so that is a huge relief.  But if her BF's family hadn't invited her (at their expense) to visit them in CA before she returned to school this Fall, I don't know how I would have gotten her back to the East Coast to start the next academic year, for which she already has a job lined up.

    So, yes.  

    Please contact your legislators to support Tier V unemployment.

    Thanks in advance.

    Master's degreed tri-lingual professional looking for work. Email in profile.

    by pvlb on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 01:21:31 PM PDT

  •  Why should it wait until the 99 wks run out? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What about starting the tax credit for a few months before the 99 weeks because once the 99 weeks ends it's too late and the 99ers will be homeless before finding a job under the tax credit.

  •  It's not always 99 weeks (6+ / 0-)

    The current extensions are through November. Many states end benefits at the end of the current extension, not at 99 weeks.  So if the bill states 99 weeks that doesn't help people whose benefits end after 70 or so weeks.  As the example in the diary showed, some people had benefits recalculated after 1 yr

    •  great points proud2Bliberal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous, blueocean

      there's no guarantee
      of a minimum level of Unemployment Benefits.

      (as recent Senate battle demonstrate)

      Apparently, the US Worker is not "important" enough,

      to "Bail Out".  

      er, I mean Help Out ... out of the W crater.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 02:09:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even the term 99er isn't entirely correct. (4+ / 0-)

    Those who were forced out of a job they held for a short amount of time, say around 18 months, didn't get nearly 99 weeks of benefits. I think the max here in CA was 59, depending on when the original claim was filed.

  •  99er's want to work (8+ / 0-)

    I am sorry for your situation, being told you need the experience even though you did what is suggested, get more training.

    I'm a 99er too, and my situation is just the opposite. I have experience, but it's too much experience. I cost too much to hire. I've offered to work for less than the RN salary they list. I've applied for every kind of job I can think of, most of them minimum wage and it's the same story--- too much experience.

    I've decided this job crisis has nothing to do with
    how experienced either of us are, It's simply greed and too many Americans who do not understand that the corporations are running our government, our country and us. They do not care if we ever find work and they don't care about the people who still have jobs and they don't care about anyone's bottom line except their own.

    The villains I am the most angry at are the journalists in the mainstream media, all of it. They are sacrificing the truth, which they are very aware of, to tell us lies every day. Outrageous Lies!!
    Please, wake up people. We 99er's are not as far away from what awaits too many of you sooner than you could ever imagine. And not one of those mainstream media thugs cares about you.

    They try to divide us into sides and have us fight each other so that we won't stop and see the truth. We are being swallowed up by the same villains.

    The banks and corporations are never going to care what happens to you. They are the cause of all the hardship Americans are feeling right now and it will only get worse if people listen to Rush Limbaugh and whoever your choice is. We have to begin to see that we are all the same. And we've been taken for a ride for so many years. Jump off their rattletrap lies and get on your feet and open your eyes, ears and learn the truth and join each other to save what is left, the truth.

    •  first my sympathies for your situation one person (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous, Alexandra Lynch, blueocean

      second, wow!  great summary observations:

      I've decided this job crisis has nothing to do with how experienced either of us are, It's simply greed and too many Americans who do not understand that the corporations are running our government, our country and us. They do not care if we ever find work and they don't care about the people who still have jobs and they don't care about anyone's bottom line except their own.

      It's really isn't a matter of "experience" is it?

      It's really more a matter of mechanical soulless Greed ...
      where have all the Opportunities gone?

      Third, you might find this clip of this Iraq Vet Mike Prysner, raging against the Machine, stirring ... I did:

      May something break your way soon, one person,
      many thanks for sharing your story.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 01:57:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous, one person, jamess

      and it's very discouraging. The myth of the liberal media is so pervasive.

      Dream, that's the thing to do (Johnny Mercer)

      by plankbob on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 03:35:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  job creation is a better solution than (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, bablhous, 3goldens, jamess, blueocean

    unemployment payouts. if the private sector refuses to hire, the federal government must start building, repairing or maintaining. i have proposed a national construction corps that could be put to use on federal projects as well as moved, as needed, to help with any national disasters. but whatever, it is just as wasteful to pay for inactivity as it is to wait for the private sector to get off the mountains of cash they are sitting on. job creation should be priority one, if the private sector won't do it, the government must.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 01:54:55 PM PDT

    •  I agree rasbobbo (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rasbobbo, bablhous, blueocean, DawnN

      since WHEN is investing in our OWN Home
      [our infrastructure]

      a bad Investment ???

      Since Republican, got Nothing to run on, that's when.

      We Need a New WPA, to "Bridge" Workers with Hope
      by jamess -- Oct 25, 2009

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 02:01:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not all construction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, blueocean

      All of these older workers can't physically do construction.  And many of the workers are educated.  The jobs need to include tutoring, child care, elder care, R&D, etc.

      •  that's a pretty narrow way of looking at it (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, bablhous, jamess, blueocean, DawnN

        a construction corps needs materials to work with, wood to be milled & transported, machinery, tools, & a myriad of products to be manufactured. places that manufacture need bookkeepers & receptionists & janitors & security guards, etc.. a construction corps needs places to sleep & food to eat. a large group of working people will be buying all manner of things, as well as paying taxes. the benefits of such a program would spread out all over the economy, the "trickle up" would percolate all through the land. & we'd be building things & doing something other than curling up in a ball waiting for the fat cats to loosen their wallets.

        Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

        by rasbobbo on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 02:20:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Humans are mentally herd animals (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theran, jamess, Kickemout, blueocean

    They make herd-based decisions like sheep do.

    If house prices are going up, they buy even at absurd prices.

    If stocks are being dumped, most people avoid buying.

    If no one has hired Mr. Unemployed after about ten weeks, Mr. Employer doesn't want to individually go against the collective employer herd judgement.

    •  so how do we (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      change Herd behavior?

      any ideas?

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 02:03:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a recommendation for others (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bablhous, jamess, nchristine

        but I'm trying a few new approaches that I've never needed before.

        Keep in mind that my circumstances may be different than those of others as I've been ill for three years and unable to work.  I'm looking to reenter the workforce now that my health is returning.  I'm also expecting to work for minimum wage as opposed to the much higher salary I once earned.

        I no longer use a resume.  I now simply fill out simple applications.  No need to list my wonderful skills earned over a lifetime when they will be used to disqualify me as too experienced.  

        The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is no longer something I can AFFORD when job hunting.  I fudge a bit here and there.  It's not honest but I need to eat and pay my bills.  

        I downplay my previous earnings.  I tell potential employers that I have no desire to return to my former occupation or the higher salary.  Much to my surprise some of them actually buy this line of bull. lol

        I focus on the jobs I once held as a teenager.  Yes, I've cashiered before.  I've waited tables.  I'm experienced in these areas.  I downplay my intelligence.  

        It's working.  I'm finally getting some interest.  

        I'm not proud of this but it was getting a bit hard to be proud anyway since I wasn't able to pay my bills.

        I will be glad when this ends.  It will end, right?  It has always ended before...  Good times will come again?

        Just trying to do what is necessary and hang on until something breaks in a more positive direction.

      •  green grass for sheep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        greenbacks for employers

        [40% of any first of $10,000 compensation]
        [30% of any second of $10,000 compensation]
        [20% of any third of $10,000 compensation]
        [minimum two-year bar on unemployment liability]

        The money would be for any person unemployed for over ten weeks over 23 years of age. If things don't work out, the balance would be available to subsequent employers.

        It would cost the federal government about $9,000 for $30,000 of initial pay, about half of which would come back in federal income tax.

      •  The normal solution is growth (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Which puts upward pressure on wages, which forces employers to look lower down in the labor market, etc.

  •  New Deal Jobs needed now (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, susie dow, jamess, blueocean

    Need a program in which anyone who wants to work can sign up and work, at least for a survival wage.  People could create their own jobs if necessary, such as finding an elderly person who needs household help or finding a school that needs tutors or starting an R&D project.

  •  Employers like at-will employment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, jamess

    They want to be able to fire at-will and not have to pay a price that includes unemployment compensation.

    They don't want to get stuck with the costs of 26 weeks of unemployment compensation or any person that has a proven track record of expensive unemployment compensation.

    To make long-term recipients employable, the law would have to be changed say to bar unemployment compensation for say five times the period collected in the past five years.

    I personally favor unemployment on the social security model, with 2% of pay contributions from both employer and employee, payable by the IRS upon receipt of a pink slip or employer withholding of less than $500 of income tax for the most recent quarter. This would make unemployment income more certain and loosen the banks' lending leash.

  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Isn't this bill DOA in Congress?

    •  Stabbenow (0+ / 0-)

      thinks she can get Collins and Snowe, per the interview.

      now Nelson and Lieberman, are probably another story, lol.

      In Event, Dems NEED to Take a Stand for Working People!

      Draw a Line in the Sand ... etc.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 03:17:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  New York no longer gives 99 weeks 'cause the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ninkasi23, jamess

    unemployment rate has gone down. Would we even get the additional benefits even IF this bill passes?

    •  I believe so, from Senator Stabenow's site (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous, ninkasi23

      Tier 5 – Unemployment Insurance

         * What it Does: Provides 20 weeks of additional unemployment insurance for states with 7.5% or higher unemployment. This tier will benefit the people who have exhausted all of their benefits.

         * Retroactive Eligibility: Would apply retroactively to everyone who has exhausted all of their previous tiers in recent months. However, benefits would not be paid retroactively. (Example – If you exhausted your benefits 3 months ago, you would be eligible to begin your Tier 5 at the date of enactment. You would not, however, be paid out for the 3 months in which you did not receive benefits.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 03:40:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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