07 October 2008

PLEASE Tell YOUR "Reps" to vote for the Unemployment Extension! NOW!

Poster Curtosey: Print the truth.org - c. 2008

NOW is the Time for Congress and the President to Extend Jobless Benefits! I'm asking you to PLEASE call your "representatives"! If they DID NOT vote for the extension, tell them you'll be voting for their opponent in a few weeks time. If they DID, don't forget to congratulate them FOR ACTUALLY DOING THEIR JOB & tell them they MUST do everything possible to make sure this resolution passes on Nov. 17 - 19, because in doing so, YOU'RE going to help save THEIR jobs by voting for them on election day. Get a petition going - e-mail petitions fly like wildfire. The more people in your area who make this pledge, the more signatures you deliver to your "representative", the more seriously you'll be treated. Politicians only "care" during election years. So, MAKE 'EM CARE about YOU and their constituents'! This works, I swear.

In the meantime, let's get on to the meat of the matter. But, to do so requires we go back a bit, so please bear with me - who knows, you might even learn something. In September, the U.S. lost the most jobs in FIVE YEARS and earnings rose less than forecasted as the credit crisis deepened in the then already slowing-d own economy.
This 6.1% equals the HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT rates since mid-1994. Payrolls fell by 159,000 - more than anticipated - after a 73,000 job decline in August, the Labor Department said recently. The jobless rate --> the last reported BEFORE the coming presidential election <-- remained at 6.1%. Hours worked reached the lowest levels since records began being reported, in 1964. This figure represents 8.5 million people who do not have jobs but are actively seeking work.

This 6.1% unemployment rate initially climbed in August ~ cutting around 84,000 jobs ~ then, what should have been dramatic proof of the mounting damage of the DEEPLY troubled economy and how it was inflicting on workers / businesses alike . Before, in July, the jobless rate jumped from the 5.7 percent as the US economy lost 60,000 jobs. In June, a whopping 100,000 jobs were lost! The latest snapshot was worse than forecasts by their economists who were predicting payrolls would only drop by around 75,000 in August and the jobless rate would go up a notch - to 5.8%. Boy were they wrong! Way wrong.

In fact, according to the U.S. Labor Department, job losses in August were not only numerous, they were widespread ~ perhaps an even better economic forecast indicator than merely counting rising numbers. Call it the closest thing to a crystal ball prediction as we could have had. Factories cut 61,000 jobs; construction firms eliminated 8,000 jobs; retailers axed 20,000 slots; professional / busin
ess services slashed 53,000 positions and leisure / hospitality axed 4,000 employees. Though, it doesn't seem Wall Street has suffered the seemingly no-brainer losses most would think are deserving. Anyone have the numbers on this sector's job losses in the last week? Guess we'll have to wait until after the election.

What's even more telling is that these widespread losses swamped employment gains in the government, education and health sectors. Also, that job losses at ALL private employers — excluding government — came to 101,000 in August and WORKERS AGES 25 AND OLDER ACCOUNTED FOR ALL THE INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT, in that month. So, what do all of these numbers and economic forecasting really mean? Well, how about we're in deep do-do and we really have to do something to pull ourselves out of this hole? Except, anyone caught in the quagmire certainly understands this is easier said than done! How does starting with extending those exhausted unemployment benefits to the millions of people who've exhausted their benefits (and extension) sound?

Q: Why are federal extended jobless benefits so important?
A: Unemployment benefits help families get back on their feet after losing a job, but they also go a LONG WAY to help boost the struggling economy when families spend their benefits in communities hardest hit by the recession. Of special relevance to today's housing crisis, one major study also found that unemployment benefits REDUCE the chances a worker will be FORCED to sell the family home by almost ONE-HALF! Thus, unemployment benefits save family homes, which also helps save those communities where foreclosures are having a major impact on the economy. Think unemployment's not a problem in your area?
Just give it a little more time and I guarantee, you'll be thinking again and wishing you had paid closer attention. So, before this happens, SNAP OUT OF YOUR DOLDRUMS and DO SOMETHING! Of course, there are always exceptions, say, like those wealthy Wall Street wanker-bankers living in the top five most wealthy (of the top 25 most wealthy) US zip codes in NY, including: 11765; 11976; 11975; 10013 and 10007. Anyone got a 100 dozen eggs to spare?

Photograph: "Help Me Help Myself", A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2008.
NYC Wall Street BAILOUT demonstration: September 25, 2008.

Q: Why exten
d federal jobless benefits now? A: Despite the MASSIVE $850 BILLION Wall Street bailout, winning the far smaller, simpler and more affordable expansion of jobless benefits to help the 800,000 Main Street workers who have now RUN OUT of their limited 13 weeks of federal emergency aid (as of October 5th), has proven a much rockier road. A report from the Labor Department last week showed a surge in long-term unemployment (now up OVER 2 million workers unemployed LONGER than six months, 600,000 just since January) should have been MORE than ENOUGH to underscore the need for Congress AND our lame duck President to act without delay, but somehow, it DIDN'T. Compare
d to prior recessions, MORE workers are UNEMPLOYED TODAY for MUCH LONGER PERIODS. Thus, making it critical to provide the help they need when their state unemployment benefits run out (after only six months).

Photograph: "Alexis de Tocqueville's turning in his grave.", A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2008.
NYC Wall Street BAILOUT demonstration: September 25, 2008.

Our "representatives" need a wake-up call & they need it NOW! Want to make a difference? Use your vote to jolt them from their slumber! To see how your "representatives" represented you (I.E.: Voted on the bailout), go here.


In January 2008, there were 1.4 million workers STILL UNEMPLOYED after ACTIVELY looking for work FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS (or, 18.3 % of all jobless workers). That's MORE than TWICE the number who were long-term unemployed when the last two recessions began (in March 2001 and in July 1990).
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) estimates 3.2 million workers will run out of state unemployment benefits by the 2008 alone (READ: this ONLY 11 weeks and 3 days from now, folks!).

Q: How long should extended benefits last? A: Given the significant increase in long-term unemployment compared to prior recessions, it's ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT for jobless benefits to be extended for at least 20 weeks, or MORE than the limited 13 weeks provided after the last recession (a mere few weeks ago, waaaaay back in June). Legislation was introduced in the Senate (
S. 2544) to extend benefits by 20 weeks in all states, while also providing another 13 weeks (or, 33 weeks total) to states with especially high unemployment (above 6 percent). During the 1990s recession, (the other) President Bush and Congress provided 20-26 weeks of extended benefits to workers in ALL states. Recognizing the record increase in gas and food prices, the current Senate bill additionally calls for a $50 increase a week in each worker's unemployment check. WoW! - A w-h-o-l-e $50 dollars, peeps! Compared to $850 BILLION bailout, this seems like chump change, doesn't it? So...stop be a chump! REMEMBER THIS chimp-handling on election day! Let's divide the chimps from the chumps.

Q: Where are the Congress and the President on the need to extend jobless benefits? A: Last week, the President issued a message threatening to veto the extension of jobless benefits ~ AGAIN! Despite the mounting job losses, the President said he opposed the extension on the grounds that, "Unemployment benefits should be temporary in nature to encourage a return to work as quickly as possible." This is like McSame's, "The fundamentals of our economy are sound." - just days before wall Street's meltdown. Heck, even former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has noted this ridiculous argument doesn't "hold water" in an economy in which BOTH job losses AND unemployment are RISING!

Photograph: "The DECIDER", A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2006.
NYC anti-war demonstration: April 29, 2006.

F.Y.I.: Bush was against the June extension and it only passed because he was strong-armed into signing as the extension as it was lumped together with the last Iraq War funding bill (US$190.39 BILLION). So, should We be surprised he's against this new extension? Fool me once...Well, you get it. In a twist of irony, Bush found it MOST NECESSARY to expediently demand an $850 BILLION bailout of his PRIVATE CORPORATION cronies using TAXPAYER$ DOLLAR$, but won't support national health care, NOR monies to extend the benefits of some THREE MILLION unemployed workers. Pardon? Where's the Main Street L-O-V-E?

To add insult to this MOST EGREGIOUS injury, leadership in the House of Representatives made a fateful decision NOT to include an extension of jobless benefits in the economic stimulus package they did pass (in just five days time). DUH! The Senate pushed to include an extension of jobless benefits as part of the package, but the measure was defeated after falling JUST ONE VOTE SHY of the 60 votes needed for the initiative to pass. JUST ONE VOTE! Last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a last-minute motion on the Senate floor for "unanimous consent" to adopt the Senate measure (S. 3507) to expand jobless benefits. It was defeated when Colorado Republican Senator Wayne Allard objected to the motion. As a result, the Senate left town for the elections recess WITHOUT passing the extension. Just like that, our "representatives" cold-heartedly left MILLIONS Americans hanging ~ with LITTLE-TO-NO hope on their horizons. REMEMBER THEIR NAMES! WRITE THEM DOWN! when YOU go to VOTE on whether or not to KEEP THEM EMPLOYED!

Last Friday, however, the House of Representatives - in an overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 368 to 28 - weighed-in convincingly IN SUPPORT of the extension measure (
H.R. 6867). Coinciding with last Friday's announcement of major job losses last month, the House vote sent the message LOUD and CLEAR to both the Senate AND the President that action MUST BE TAKEN RIGHT AWAY to address the desperate needs of the families hardest hit by the economic downturn. Well, if six weeks later is considered RIGHT AWAY, anyway.

Photograph: "Bullsh*t.", A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2008.
NYC Wall Street BAILOUT demonstration: September 25, 2008.

Amazing how things work when WE're asleep at the wheel, isn't it? I mean, it took barely five days to bail out Wall Street...handing private corporations $850 BILLION in TAXPAYER DOLLARS was a IMPERATIVE. YET, We the People are forced to wait SIX WEEKS for a, "Maybe you'll get a temporary 7-13 week reprieve, maybe not.

You're just NOT THAT IMPORTANT, Main Street
. Sorry, we have to break now to go forward to get your votes."

s a mighty long time to ask People to hold their collective breath and to stay above the murky waters already drowning them! This is beyond reprehensible! Anyone else feeling sick here?

It's ok. Breat
he...just breathe. This measure the House passed would provide seven more weeks of extended benefits to workers in all states (20 weeks total) and 13 more weeks to workers in "high unemployment" states (33 weeks total). The 8,000 workers who are members of www.unemployedworkers. org were instrumental in moving their members of Congress to support this effort with such an overwhelming show of support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Now, the focus
shifts BACK to the (lame) Senate and this "lame duck" session of Congress will take place - according to Majority Leader Reid, on NOVEMBER 17th -19th. SIX ~ WEEKS ~ IS ~ A ~ LONG ~ WAY ~ AWAY for the families of workers who are struggling to get by with no job and no jobless benefits to support them RIGHT NOW. As Senators of both political parties will be home campaigning these next six weeks, they SHOULD HEAR - IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS - that it was ABSOLUTELY WRONG TO LEAVE TOWN WITHOUT EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND this NEEDS TO BE THEIR FIRST ORDER of BUSINESS, should they be fortunate enough to return to Washington. TELL THEM YOU WILL VOTE FOR THEIR OPPONENT IF THEY DON'T SUPPORT THIS ~ PERIOD!


Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

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