(Some how the top of this article disappeared)
The attitudes of many people in this country amaze me. They think that people don't want to work.
I just don't understand how so people who know the statistics in this country...they can see how stores, restaurants and business are closed can say this. Where ever you go you can see a strip mall with empty stores, or drive by empty buildings with for rent signs on them. So many homes have for sale signs on them and many indicate foreclosure signs. You would have to be homebound with no television to live in the illusion that for many people in this country, their world has drastically changed. Thrift stores are crowded and their business is booming as people no longer have the budget to buy new.
In many ways my husband and I are having to start over. Although it may have been better timing had we been younger, it could have been a lot worse, and I thank God everyday for that. We at least have a roof over our heads.
I used to say, "many live two pay checks to the door" and I think it is now "one pay check" as once you find yourself filing for unemployment, there is little time to stay where you are. Foreclosure on homes may take time because the courts are so swamped with the huge amount of cases, but for the renter, the Landlord can at some point just remove belongings, lock the apartment and people go home to find their stuff out by the curb.
Getting a job in my opinion is almost like winning the lottery. There are so many people out there looking for work. So many jobs are ending because of slashed budgets. Schools are scrambling to find ways not to lay off teachers and fix their budget... as well as the local government.
Everyone is feeling the pinch and many people are scared. I noticed whenever I go in the local Sweetbay store that there are few shoppers each time I go in. I've never had to wait in a line, I wind up behind one person maybe. Last week the premium hamburger meat was marked down to around a dollar something a pound and I grabbed many packages for the freezer. The butcher saw me and offered to give me more packages. One nice lady in the deli offer to mark down the fried chicken pieces in the cold case for me, I got 8 pieces for $1.99. I'm not used to people giving me so much attention and finding great deals.
When I went in there on Sunday to get some of the missing ingredients to make my beef burgundy for our anniversary which was yesterday, I asked some of the people there if I just was lucky when I went in, finding it so empty. I wasn't "lucky", it evidently is that empty all the time. A large K-mart had moved out to another location before we even moved here. Another nearby store, a Goodwill is closing in January. The people who work there said when the K-mart left they lost a lot of customers. One nice man told me that he and his wife work there and if it closes they will be in a real mess. I hope it doesn't happen, I like the store and the people working there, but I'm not sure how much longer the corporate office will keep it open at this rate.
When I heard there were not extending benefits for people last week, it worried me. But the most upsetting thing about it was the attitudes I heard about it. Yes, 99 weeks on unemployment is a long time, but there are just so few jobs, I can see how someone could wind up not finding a job for that long. I know my husband sent out resumes for over a year last year looking for work. His contract ended in June of 2009. He had the wonderful fortune of being extended a few months he mainly dealt with passing the work over to his replacement. In all the time he looked for work and it was for over a year because we wanted a permanent job with benefits, he had a total of 3 interviews. The first one is still being advertised, the second one he interviewed for 5 hours and another applicant who had more experience in a certain area was hired, and the third one, it boiled down to two candidates and it took 3 days for the decision to hire him and that is the position he has now.
Though he is making more than unemployment, it's much lower than what he was making before. It was not easy at all and my husband can do many different jobs in the computer industry. He has an eclectic background in the last 35 + years of working in the industry. Like he says, I can wear many hats, so his job search is not as narrow as many other people who are only specialized in one area. My point is it should have been easier for him than some people, but it wasn't easy at all.
We ran into one of the women who he knew from his years at IBM. She was probably in a higher pay band than he was being a manager. She was laid off and scrambled to find something she said because she needed more than what unemployment paid. She had rung our purchases up at Walmart. I imagine when she was at IBM she probably made over $80,000 a year maybe $100,000. The only job she could find was being a cashier...and she seemed very grateful for it. I don't know how much Walmart pays, but it couldn't have been more than $22,000 a year. What a huge drop in pay...
We just don't know what other people are going through and it's awful that people have the attitude that people are sitting on their butts not looking for work, and taking advantage of their unemployment benefits. I don't think so at all. For us, the unemployment amount wouldn't cover more than 2/3 of our mortgage...never mind utilites, food and car and medical insurance. In fact it was $300 shy of the medical coverage we had to drop out of. Being laid off of IBM ion 2007, even though my husband found consulting work, was the beginning of our financial slide...unemployment did pay not enough for us to stay in our home.
We though, are the lucky ones. He is working.
I just can't understand how with all the signs that are out there, the coverage of the economic mess for years on tv, and in the magazines and papers... how anyone can say that the people on unemployment are not looking for work and want a free ride. I bet if you could look at all the foreclosures in the country, you would find that a great percentage were filed once the home owner wound up on unemployment.
And if you think that the million people who lost their checks are going to suddenly be motivated to find jobs and the government will have less of a strain...think again. Many will be filing for welfare, medicaid and if they don't get them already, food stamps. This is the first round of people losing benefits, it's not capped on just this group of people, as others will reach the 99 week mark they too will be heading for welfare. As these people leave the unemployment system, others are taking their place.
I worry what will happen if these people can't get welfare or what happens when welfare ends. I don't think a million or more people are just going to fade into the wood work.
I really think a federal projects program where people can work and opt out of unemployment would be good. The infra structure of so many bridges roads and buildings could use work. When you take someone off of unemployment and give them a little more, you are really paying the extra amount to get work done. If our government could see the wisdom of it and put people back to work we might turn this around...and how would it help? Well we'd be needing materials to do the work and that would increase employment in those industries, that would also take people off of unemployment and generate income taxes. Many people doing work in a government program could get experience for jobs in industries that could hire them... We need to do something and what is being done isn't working. Maybe my thoughts are unrealistic, but it seems to me many people would go to work in this kind of program to get that extra money...
I just don't think blaming the unemployed for their situation is going to do anything. And those who are blaming the unemployed may find themselves laid off and learn the struggle first hand.
It is appalling too, that the Senate claims their decision was made because of concerns for the gross national debt... how did they not see this huge huge debt for the last 20 years and it wasn't ever mentioned before influencing their decisions....
They also have people concerned about Social Security. If that shuts down, how are the elderly going to make it. How do you notify this large group of retired people that they too will need to find a job....
Personally, the only way to save Social Security it to raise the amounts contributed. Why they don't do this, I don't know. They also need to cut the benefits of the people that collect that never paid in....who shouldn't have been added in the first place. There's going to be a lot of angry angry people if social security shuts down.
As much as I like the tax breaks like everyone else, I don't understand how it really helps when the government is in crisis and can't give the states funding. It's like a mad version of Ronald Reagan's trickle down theory. If the federal government cuts the states, and the federal state and local governments cut their budgets.. who is going to be minding the store?...and when all the people who are broke and have no money decide to literally go rob stores, who is going to stop them? Unless something happens soon, we are going to see riots and mayhem.. we can't just turn our back on people and expect them to disappear into the wood work. Meanwhile the attitude is one of ignoring the problem and the potential mess that lies a head, but just deciding these people "Just don't want to work..."