Senate Gives Christmas Gifts to All … Except the 99ers

Posted: December 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’ve been watching the news to see an incredibly prolific lame-duck session in the US Senate.  Most notable are the extension of tax cuts, benefiting anyone who earns income as well as those unemployed less than 99 weeks, 9/11 first responders medical aid, benefiting those who are sick and/or dying due to doing the right thing, food “safety” legislation, benefiting huge farmers and today, the repeal of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell”, benefiting military homosexuals and their families.

Merry Christmas to all … except the 99ers.

Hello?  Tax cuts don’t stimulate the economy when they are given to people who earn more than they need to survive.  I remember when George Bush Junior sent my husband and me a check for several hundred dollars.  We put it directly into savings.  We made more than the average Metro-Detroit family of four and established a prudent life-style.  I was by no means “rich”, but I didn’t go out and spend the money.  If the rich would have been enticed to create American jobs with the extra money, we wouldn’t have had a decade of domestic decay.  Unemployment wouldn’t be so persistently high.

Where are the jobs?  Ah, I forgot:  India, the Philippians and China, paying 60 cents an hour.  From a business perspective, with a fiduciary responsibility to enhance shareholder wealth – by any means (not necessarily legal), capitalism forces everyone in a corporation to cut service, quality and social responsibility while working longer hours (covering for laid off workers), compromising health, life-balance and killing the spirit.  So what if millions of Americans, well-qualified, experienced, educated middle-aged former contributors to society are banished from the opportunity to support themselves?

An argument against help for 99ers (those unemployed more than 99 weeks and cut off from receiving compensation) is that it dissuades them from taking any job.  “Get a job flipping burgers or cleaning toilets!  Think you’re too good for that?”  If that argument were true, there wouldn’t be millions of 99ers.  Aside from the facts no one wants to hire seriously over-qualified people (that will leave if the economy ever improves or replace the hiring manager) and that there are an insufficient number of jobs for the number of job seekers, what happened to the “American Dream”?

Is the American Dream a Nightmare?

When I was born, my dad had three jobs and went to graduate school.  He worked hard to put himself through private high school and college as in investment in his future.  As I grew up, Dad was an upwardly mobile executive by day and church music director on nights and weekends.  I learned that the American Dream gave an opportunity to earn a life style commensurate with skill, education and experience.  Anyone willing to learn, loyally serve with integrity and follow the rules would enjoy job security, progressive income and life-time benefits.

In undergraduate school, I held up to three part-time jobs.  Immediately upon graduation, I began climbing the corporate ladder.  It wasn’t long before I noticed a discrepancy between the “American Dream” and reality.  As an attractive young woman, I saw many doors opened before me led to the bed room.  I refused to get ahead by giving it and those doors slammed shut.  I used to believe in public corporate mission statements and open-door policies but suffered for challenging corporate masters to walk their talk.

Now I see a divided world:  People who still believe in the American dream and those burned pursuing it.  The people who still believe don’t have time to think straight, juggling excessive work hours, insufficient pay, family needs and medical challenges by compromising a balanced life to cling to illusion of financial stability.

Many short-term unemployed still believe in the American Dream.  They spend their days searching for work on line, at career fairs, through personal and professional acquaintances, networking events and writing unsolicited letters of interest.  Some go back to school, sharpen job-seeking skills and reduce income expectations, desperate for near poverty level wages to avoid homelessness, starvation and preventable death.  But, as I was misquoted by the Associated Press last month, “It doesn’t matter how good your job (seeking) skills are. You’ve got to have jobs available”.

According to Barack Obama, there won’t be a significant reduction in the unemployment rate for a couple/few years.  With unemployment compensation cut off after 99 weeks, (with no regard to the number of years worked), the number of 99ers will significantly increase.  That means fewer consumers and more lay offs.  The housing market will not recover with more foreclosures (despite the rampant bank and mortgage fraud, dereliction of oversight and tax payer dollars loaned to prevent a foreclosure crisis).

What is the solution?

There are thousands of different action items that will lead to a resolution of this economic depression, targeted at the American middle class.  My opinion about the details of recovery is no better or worse than yours.  However, the solution can be summarized in four words:  Replace fear with love.

If you’re working too many hours and/or sacrificing quality because you are afraid of losing your job, stop it.  Show love for yourself, your family and the rest of humanity by doing your job well and within a reasonable number of hours to maintain life balance.

If you see broken laws or deceptive tactics by your employer but remain silent, fearing retribution, blow the whistle!  Have some self-respect and compassion for others.

If you’re in a decision-making position at a corporation that is sitting on money, making unreasonable demands on your workforce, playing the short-term illusion of success game, hire more people and explain to the higher-ups you’re interested in long term success of the company and community.

If you have the opinion 99ers don’t deserve “free” compensation, coordinate a local group to hire them for community projects and domestic work.

If you work for a company that refuses to hire the unemployed, challenge their practice as contributing to further decline of the country and your company.

If you’re a 99er, find an outlet to release your fear, anger and resentment then sweep up the shattered pieces of your ego and find a way to help someone else by doing what you love, even for free.  Put that as your current occupation.

If you must take a near-poverty level job, find one doing something that can lead to working in your passion and/or keep looking for meaningful work.  Dumb down your resume if necessary and refrain from telling the whole truth when prospective employers ask about your education/experience.

If you face foreclosure, fight it!   Don’t roll over into self-pity and self-loathing.  This is a war against the middle class by elite corporate interests as well as international bankers, allowed to ravage “The People” by the very government they purchase … and you’re collateral damage.  Read this website:  Homeowners Justice.

Forgive yourself for being fearful.  It is the way the old paradigm has thrived for thousands of years.  The masses are programmed from birth to make decisions out of fear.  But we are entering a new paradigm as the veil shrouding our eyes is violently ripped away.  Acting out of love, and returning to a love state every time we fall back into fear is essential.  We can’t always see how we impact the whole, but believe we do.  Everyone taking a seemingly insignificant step to build an empowered community makes a huge difference.

What can you do to replace fear with love?

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