Is a November Unemployment Benefits Extension in the mix? Or should I dare say, we cross the awful bridge that saw nearly 2 million unemployed collectively hold their breath several months ago when the Senate battled about the controversial issue?
What’s at stake? The numbers just haven’t improved enough to warrant the end of the Unemployment Benefits for those who need them. But there could be drama when the issue once again pops up in November. Will there be more waiting to get benefits or will there be a smooth passage?
To understand what might actually happen, it’s important to review what did happen a few months ago when the Senate came to a stand still on Unemployment Insurance. What happened then was an epic fight that yielded little answers. Finally, after a new member of the Senate was introduced(not to mention two Republican Senators crossing the aisle), the drama ended with a passage and extension of benefits for the unemployed. In the meanwhile, around 2 million people saw their Unemployment Benefits resume. Perhaps many of those 2 million are still jobless. The economy certainly hasn’t recovered to the extent where Unemployment Benefits Extensions should be dropped. But the fight was so furious last time in the Senate that it’s hard to imagine it will play out that way again. Unfortunately, I think the Democrats may actually give in to the Republican desires to fund the Unemployment Insurance. That means unless someone draws up a proposal, the much needed extensions might fall by the curb for some time.
There is a school of thought by some that these Unemployment Benefits Extensions aren’t needed anymore. I say that school of thought is absolutely insane at this point in time. There will be a time and place to dissolve the lengthy extensions–but that time isn’t right now. The American people who have suffered through this horrible depression deserve to have a fighting chance. Many educated people will unfortunately assume that there are many Americans living off unemployment for great lengths of time. While that may be true to a small extent, the majority of Americans take pride in working. Not just that, but Unemployment Benefits pay so little in comparison to many jobs that it’s not a smart decision to stay home and pass up opportunities for work.
I was one of those people who happened to be unemployed long term. In fact, I spent over a year on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity as I made a career transition during the worst possible time in the past five decades. I finished second for several jobs after landing dozens upon dozens of interviews in the awful year I was unemployed. Maybe I once thought that there are certain people who do avoid taking a job because unemployment benefits afforded that opportunity. Now I believe differently. It truly was next to impossible for me to find a job for a long period of time. I finally did land an opportunity after one year plus of being out of work.
I am thankful for that opportunity but it didn’t come without many trials and tribulations of attempting to find a position that wasn’t commission only sales or some other gimmick type position.
I completely understand and can relate to the horrible nightmare many Americans are still facing. I was sending out 20 resumes a day on sites like Indeed.com, Careerbuilder and HotJobs. I can only imagine what a person without a college level education is going through if I struggled for such a lengthy period of time. That’s why unemployment benefits extensions should be an essential “yes’ in the Senate when the issue comes up once again. People who haven’t been in these positions of unemployment can’t understand or empathize truly with those who have. It’s the most frustrating experience I have ever been through and I hope that I never have to go through it again.
That’s why the November Unemployment Benefits Extensions need to happen swiftly this time around. There are people who are taking advantage of the benefits without truly looking for positions. I truly believe that for every person who does this, there are 10 more good, hard working people who are praying desperately to find a job that fits their resume. How else could you explain the high unemployment levels in this country? I can’t believe no matter how skeptical you may be-that anyone could honestly believe that millions upon millions of people are just lazy and willing to accept the Unemployment Benefits without seeking jobs. Why would anyone in their right mind want to wait for a hand out when there are politicians who can decide by a literal flip of the coin whether they have money or not? It’s just not a proposition anyone wants to volunteer for. I knew that there was a possibility the last time this issue came up that the politicians might not allow me to keep receiving unemployment benefits–and that only made my search that much more desperate. I nearly accepted a gimmick commission only sales job with no benefits just because of the threat of not having the insurance we are supposed to have anyway.
Republicans blocked the passage of the bill for 2 months or more because Democrats didn’t offer a way to pay for the Unemployment Benefits. Will that happen again this time around? It seems like the politicians who used the issue last time around as leverage toward future elections will once again play with the future of Americans who desperately need that money. I waited nearly two months without income. Fortunately, freelance writing for sites like Associated Content offered me the opportunity to survive in the meantime. Not everyone is that fortunate or has that avenue to pursue should Unemployment Benefits just come to a screeching halt once again. I feel sad for the 99’er or Tier 5 hopefuls who have yet to find positions, too. At the end of the day, we should all remember that we are in this together. But unfortunately there is so much separation between those who have and those who have not right now in America that empathy has been completely tossed aside in lieu of disrespect. “Go out and get a job you lazy bum,” critics might say of those who are still receiving benefits. It’s not a proud thing for anyone in that position to receive benefits. But it should be a right. The economy crumbled because of bad decisions made by politicians-why shouldn’t the people who were collateral damage be allowed to survive on a minimal income like Unemployment Benefits.
It just doesn’t make sense to me that people who have high levels of income can actually donate money to charities but not understand the significance of or empathize with the plight of someone who is long term unemployed. As a college graduate who held jobs for the first 20 years out of college without such an event, unemployment was completely new to me. Yet, I never had the nerve to criticize those who couldn’t find jobs even when the economy was good. Life isn’t easy. We all should know that by now. If the first 20-30 years of your life hasn’t taught you that, get a grip or educate yourself. Unemployment is a real issue and will continue to be until the economy straightens out., Even then, there will always be a certain percent of people in this country who are unfortunate and will get fired. If that happens, they should always be entitled to draw unemployment insurance.
The extensions are a byproduct of this current era of depression like surroundings that we all should acknowledge. Perhaps some politicians just don’t get it because they are pampered-but I beg to differ. There isn’t a single man or woman who is that out of touch with reality in this country. The issue is instead used as a game when real lives and families are at stake. Why I even have to write about the possibility that Unemployment Benefits will not be extended is a mystery to me. It should be a no brainer. It always should have. We are supposed to help one another and lift up one another in this country. More importantly, it’s Unemployment Insurance-meaning if you are in an unfortunate position of losing your job it should be there for you–not the ultimate decision of someone whose life it doesn’t affect.
Hopefully when that day comes and the vote is needed the politicians will pass it for those who desperately need it. Maybe the people in this position in November won’t have to wait two months before receiving retro pay like I did. And that would be a great thing and a great day. Should we expect the politicians to pull together for more of a joint effort this time around? Unfortunately it can only be summed up as a roll of the dice. That’s exactly my point. Why would anyone want to remain unemployed when their fate lies in the hands of a rich politician who plays the “out of touch” card? But I’m not buying it. They know. We all know. I am convinced that some people would rather just ignore what’s actually happening.
I cringed every time I heard a politician say we were mortgaging the lives of our children in reference to not funding unemployment–yet they were willing to sacrifice the people who are already alive but suffering. We are doomed if we don’t learn from our mistakes. Waiting two months when the Unemployment Benefits Extension was being discussed last time was an awful mistake. I’m certainly interested to see if anyone actually learned from the Senate fiasco that took place the last time this was discussed. I would like to be pleasantly surprised in November when the issue comes to the forefront once again–but the skeptical side of me says Americans turning their back on their fellow Americans might be a bit easier. I would love for the Senate politicians to prove me wrong. My trust was vacated last time this happened. But just like many other Americans, I still believe there is good in the heart of many and the good will eventually prevail–even if we have to witness stupid mistake after stupid mistake. Eventually we, and the politicians of course, will get it right.