Unemployed Anxiously Await Senate Vote on Benefits Extension

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

While lawmakers are adjourned this week for the July 4th recess, many of the country's millions of unemployed workers await their return for an expected vote on an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. 

More than one million people have started losing these benefits this month and, though the House passed the bill to extend the benefits for six months, the Senate's vote will be delayed until at least July 12, when Congress returns from the break.  (The Senate shut down early last week, so the late Sen. Robert Byrd's body could lie in repose in the chamber.) 

Donovan Marsden, in White Plains, New York, received his last unemployment check three weeks ago and is having trouble just making ends meet without the income.  Donovan says about waiting for the bill to pass, "I'm biting my fingernails and toenails."  Michelle Ives, in Cedar Hill, Texas, also received her last unemployment check last month.  Ives says she's counting her bills and is concerned about how she will manage to pay them without the extension.

Guests:

Michelle Ives and Donovan Marsden

Produced by:

Amanda Moore

Comments [23]

stephanie sweeney from New York City

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Also check sites such as freelance switch, freelancewriting jobs, mediabistro etc. on facebook.

If you find me on there, I will send you more information.

Jul. 25 2010 03:00 PM
BARBARA from FROM CLARKSVILLE IN

we the people, the people who we voted in to take care of the united states of america.do what you said you would do,PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS.

Jul. 11 2010 01:48 PM
Char from IL

The idea that extended benefits extends lenght on unemployment comes from a European model, not US historical data. It also depends on AVAILABLE JOBS. During recessions in the past (back to 1958 as I can see on internet research) UI benefits have been extended until UE rates were at an acceptable level. Yes, this recesion had continued far longer than ones in the past, all the more reason to continue the benefits.

Jul. 08 2010 02:53 PM
Pat from Manhattan from New York City

A thought - in this day and age of advanced computers, wouldn't it be wonderful if this analogy would be put to work: Politicians who are supposed to be the Lobbyists for U.S - if 44% of your constituents in the state that you represent, for example, are unemployed, then your salary will be reduced that same amount. In other words, you will feel the pain and the urgency of the citizens that you represent until conditions are changed and improved.

I felt this was something to put into effect during the Health Care debate: if only 2% of your state's population is covered, then the Politician would have to pony up 98% of their health care premium instead of being covered by our tax dollars! This kind of economic pain would produce results I am sure.

But when imprisoned politicians can still be awarded their full pensions (that were increased 9% by vote early 12/24/09), I guess there is no hope for my plan to be taken seriously. Whatever happened to Politics being a way to give service; its seems to only produce Nouveau Royalty now.

Jul. 07 2010 06:57 PM
April, The Boomeranger from Atlanta, GA

My husband, who has an MBA, was laid off in January 2009, and has been unemployed ever since. We decided to move to Atlanta, which was much more affordable than CT where we lived. This move allowed the unemployment insurance (UI) benefits we received to go much further. Furthermore, we moved in with my husband's parents to remove the burden of rent payments from the budget. Effectively, we have become modern day Boomerangers.

Until recently, when our unemployment benefits expired (thanks a lot Republicans...), we were using those funds to buy groceries and pay basic bills for our family of five - no extras, except for a movie once or twice a quarter.

This economic environment has become a tragedy of epic proportions. No matter how much you desire to work, there are simply no jobs. In response, I started www.theboomeranger.com, an online community where people can discuss their similar experiences, frustrations and found opportunities in this our depressed economy. We must find a way to bring more awareness to an ever expanding issue. It is just too easy for those on the Right to make blanket claims and spew demeaning opinions about the "unmotivated" unemployed, many of which are their constituents. Personally, I do not believe it is a consequence of Republicans being detached or ignorant of the needs of the underserved majority of Americans. They just simply do not care. The scary part of this is the fact that the constituents in Georgia, Alabama and many other red states with record unemployment continue to support a party that opposes their issues, interests and concerns? .... Amazing!!!

Recent stats suggest that more than 6.6 million households now consist of more than three generations living under the one roof - a stat only expected to get worse as we collectively look for ways to cope without UI and hope almost in vain for the economy to improve before we completely exhaust our savings (.. which could be 18-24 months from now, if not longer).

If it is helpful, we have compiled a list of suggests many have offered to survive during this period. Check out The Boomerangers Survival Guide: http://www.theboomeranger.com/boomerangers-survival-guide

Jul. 07 2010 02:37 PM
Jeffrey from Minneapolis, MN

I've been unemployed for over a year now. There are a few things that I would like to point out.

First and foremost, there seems to be an assumption that getting a job is a one person affair. The last time I checked, you can apply to every job there is, but if they don't hire you, you don't have a job. So, why is all the burden always on the unemployed person and never on the businesses to hire them?

A great many of these people who lost their jobs in the last 24 months didn't lose them due to something they did, but because management either took large risks or they cut people because they THOUGHT they might be in the trouble in the future. Either way, the same people who now complain about paying for unemployment benefits are the very same people that caused the situation. I would argue that businesses paying for unemployment is just another business cost.

The last point is that contrary to Republicans, not every works just for money. I know that when you hold money up as the end all be all, you think that others love it as much as you do. Many people work, because they wish to be productive in society.

Jul. 07 2010 11:22 AM
Mark Zilberman from Andes, NY

The economist was being honest in answering a narrow question (do unemployment benefits extend unemployment). It is highly unlikely that the methodology employed controlled for the impact of DEFLATION on the length and depth of unemployment.

Serious economists know that our biggest threat to the discontinuance of unemployment and stagnation is a deflationary spiral/trap. That is, a fall in prices/tax revenues. If wages fall there is a consequent fall in purchases/tax revenues. If purchases/tax revenues fall, price setters/government must reduce wages and employment to afford the lower revenue. And so again, lower wages/less employment mean fewer purchases mean lower wages, lower tax revenue, etc... A vicious cycle.

Cutting employment benefits means people taking lower paying jobs. Lower paying jobs means fewer purchases/tax revenue means fewer jobs/tax revenue. Hence deflation.

History, honesty and analysis show that previous recoveries and following prosperities came as a consequence of stimulus (IE., WPA, New Deal, 600 ship navy, borrowing ,tax cuts, etc...). Cutting unemployment benefits is the opposite.

Jul. 07 2010 09:34 AM
Randy G Johnson from Washington State

Please don't insult my intelligence with the idea that this is a valid topic for discussion. Are there jobs going begging? I think not. Does feeding the hungry encourage hunger? Shall we blame the poor for being poor, the sick for being sick? Does health care encourage illness? That's the Republican way. Sorry, but the very notion that this is worthy of discussion got me so riled, i tuned you out, literally. I won't listen to Rush, and I won't listen to you giving air to this fantasy. If this is the best topic you can offer I suggest you try unemployment, as I won't be listening to you.

Jul. 07 2010 06:55 AM
Don Johnson from Texas from Texas

I will never, never, never vote for a REPUBLICAN again. NEVER!!!

I was a proud member of the Republican party, but my view has really changed over the last year or so. They have so many uncaring and ignorant people in their party. So many think that unemployed people are uneducated and gamers of the system that they want to sit home and eat Bon-Bons all day.

So, they have lost my vote forever. The Democrats care about people (I see that now). And, they will take back the Senate and House this November.

Help me to make the Republicans disappear!!!

Jul. 07 2010 02:17 AM
MK Ultra from Here and now

Imagine if the MIC had to wait only half as long as the unemployed to have Congress approve its never-ending extensions to its warmongering, there probably would be no wars for oil raging as we speak.

Jul. 06 2010 09:44 PM
Peggy from alabama

I just wanna be able too take care of My children... two wonderful children who dont know the meaning of depression.
their vacation was ruined this weekend because we have No money but yet congress is out haveing a blast .
its sad when Our country skips out on Us and leaves us with Noone to defend Our Own.
Lost and broken

Jul. 06 2010 05:41 PM
cbl

WE ARE TAXPAYERS AND LAW ABIDING CITIZENS, JUST REMEMBER WE WILL VOTE.. WE WILL REMEMBER THESE SLIGHTS, WHICH EVER GOD YOU PRAY TO, MAY HE HAVE MERCY ON YOU WHEN YOU SHOW NO MERCY TO OTHERS.. IS IT EASIER TO SEND MONEY TO ALL OTHER COUNTRIES AND CAUSES BUT FORGET YOUR PEOPLE ON US SOIL? GOD WHAT HAVE YOU MADE AMERICA.? AMERICA IS STILL HER BEAUTIFUL WONDERFUL SELF BUT PEOPLE LIKE YOU SOIL IT AND DEFILE IT INTO SOMETHING THAT MAKES ANYONE WHO IS NOT ONE OF YOU FEEL SMALL, INSIGNIFICANT AND WANTING OF SOMETHING NOT RIGHTFULLY EARNED. GOD HELP ALL OF US WHO NEED ANY HELP FROM OUR ELECTED OFFICALS

Jul. 06 2010 02:15 PM
karl

this is there second week of vacation since my last check memorial day ........
in america we used to take care of each other no more thanks republicans

Jul. 06 2010 01:49 PM

I was horrified by the callous, self-righteous condemnation of the unemployed expressed by some callers to your show. I say this as a fully employed person.

There's just no question that we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn--probably a double-dip recession--and right now there are simply not enough jobs for Americans who want to work.

It makes absolutely no sense for people to take jobs that don't fit their experience and skill set. That's why we--as Americans, as the electorate-- demanded unemployment insurance in the first place. The idea that collecting unemployment is a disincentive to work is so naive and idiotic, it takes my breath away. We, Americans, fought for these safeguards and pay into these systems with every paycheck. Stop referring to the safety net we working Americans pay for as "entitlements"! They're there to help Americans who fall on hard times get by. Period. It would be disgraceful for a society as wealthy and prosperous as ours has been to have it any other way.

Jul. 06 2010 12:54 PM
Jennifer

I was horrified by the callous, self-righteous condemnation of the unemployed expressed by some callers to your show. I say this as a fully employed person.

There's just no question that we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn--probably a double-dip recession--and right now there are simply not enough jobs for Americans who want to work.

It makes absolutely no sense for people to take jobs that don't fit their experience and skill set. That's why we--as Americans, as the electorate-- demanded unemployment insurance in the first place. The idea that collecting unemployment is a disincentive to work is so naive and idiotic, it takes my breath away. We, Americans, fought for these safeguards and pay into these systems with every paycheck. Stop referring to the safety net we working Americans pay for as "entitlements"! They're there to help Americans who fall on hard times get by. Period. It would be disgraceful for a society as wealthy and prosperous as ours has been to have it any other way.

Jul. 06 2010 12:51 PM
Scott Gordon from Duncanville, TX

People tend to forget that Unemployment is pre-paid as insurance and has
nothing to do with welfare.

This is what I say to the Republicrat hypocrites: Let those without
financial crimes cast the first stone. Or in other words, stop funding
gigantic, wasteful, criminal enterprises and maybe real companies will be
able to compete and create real jobs.

Jul. 06 2010 12:39 PM
Boston George from Boston

Unemployment benefits are critical to the financial survival of the struggling unemployed, to stabilize the deteriorating housing market, to prevent overloading the food assistance and welfare programs, and maintain some stability to overstressed families. We are desperate, in panic mode.

Last month a headhunter said architects (my profession) are 45% unemployed, nationwide.

I believe the rate in Boston is in excess of 50%, with many who are still 'employed' working on rolling furloughs.

The reckless and irresponsible financial sector has not reformed, nor is it likely to change and the financial sector survivors are doing very well, thank you. Meanwhile, the reported unemployment rate uses the bogus U3 statistics of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (a category created to make politicians look good). The real unemployment rate is higher than even the 16% rate reported in the BLS's U6 number.

One economist said the best and most effective stimulous is getting money to the taxpayers and particularly the unemployed. Congress must act to help. I agree with the above comment that Congress acted offensively by taking time off while the people are suffering. Maybe they took lessons from Nero. The behavior of my fellow republicans is embarrassing.

Jul. 06 2010 09:21 AM

Ms Michelle Ives said that she received $744.00 in unemployment pay every two weeks?!
I have not been on unemployment in a long time. It definately does not mean that I have found work that pays well but that is a different issue. However when I was on unemployment in the mid 90s I earned $59 a week. It was the only pay I could rely on for many months. From what I best recall, I was told that I could continue getting some unemployment payments even if I find a job depending on the hours per week of the job, but the job cannot pay more than $300 a week.

I don't know. That was a while ago and maybe that is only in New York.

Jul. 06 2010 08:50 AM
Anne

I would be curious if the study you cited (the one showing longer benefits = longer unemployment) shows that the jobs people take when unemployment benefits run out pay less or are less desirable than people's previous jobs. It would seem to me that very few people on unemployment are lazy or do not desire to find employment. However it does seem feasible that the promise of unemployment benefits means someone would hold off on taking a low paying or bad job (perhaps one that even pas less than the benefits). Has anyone discussed this possible effect?

Jul. 06 2010 08:46 AM
unknown from ohio

My benefits expired a few weeks ago, and I'm very worried. The senate should be not taking breaks with taxpayers money and get the situation fixed, apparently they can sleep good at night me?? Not so much!!

Jul. 06 2010 07:02 AM
George

Those senators are scum. How dare they go on vacation while hundreds of thousands of Americans are on the brink of losing their homes?

Jul. 06 2010 05:40 AM
linda from chicago, il

I know I'm upset because I was counting on my unemployment check this past friday so that I could pay the rent !!!!! I too have to count every penny and now I'm past due on my gas bill. They will shut my gas off this week if I don't make a payment...guess I'll be going back to donating plasma for $$ to make ends meet.

Jul. 06 2010 03:36 AM
Dawn from tucson, az

I am now down to my last savings account which was my childrens college money. I am a single mom, trying to survive on every penny I have. I am so stressed right now I pray every night for some sort of relief, I wish I had a job so badly but there isn't anyone hiring! Every job application I turn in I never get a response. If I could work two jobs I would instead of unemployment , but that is all there is right now. OH GOD HELP US

Jul. 06 2010 01:39 AM

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