[tabi] attitudes toward the unemployed

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 14:33:16 -0400

some of the article below is just unbelievable, and not at all good news
for those seeking jobs:
Back to web version
Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010
Posted on Thu, Jul. 08, 2010
Unemployed need support from Congress
The Kansas City Star
They are our neighbors and our kids' schoolteachers. They are the people
who in better
times built our houses and highways, manufactured the goods we use and
stocked the
shelves in our stores.
Meet the long-term unemployed. There but for some fortunate breaks go
many of us.
So why are they being vilified?
Congress is dithering on extending unemployment insurance benefits. The
longer the
debate goes on, the more it encourages the false but deep-rooted
American notion
that if a person is in need, it's got to be his or her fault.
And so we have senators and think-tank types opining that extended
unemployment insurance
presents a "disincentive" for people to look for work. As if living on
and an average of $310 a week is now the great American dream.
We have Rand Paul, the GOP senatorial candidate from Kentucky, lecturing
on a radio
show that "... ultimately we do have to sometimes accept a wage that's
less than we
had at our previous job in order to get back to work and allow the
economy to get
started again." Like people desperate for jobs haven't thought of that.
We have people using the Internet's cloak of anonymity to express
insulting opinions.
"The great unasked question in the face of bad unemployment numbers is,
how many
of these people weren't performing well even in the 'good' times?" a
reader asked
in response to a piece by journalist Rod Dreher on beliefnet.com.
And we have some employers specifying in their job listings that
"unemployed candidates
will not be considered" or applicants "must be currently employed." And
no, discrimination
against the unemployed is not prohibited by law.
We have in our nation a tendency to want to blame people for their own
bad circumstances.
It reared up in the health care debate, when uninsured people were
maligned as handout
It's social Darwinism in action even if some who exhibit it don't
subscribe to the
theory of evolution. And I will agree that actions and behaviors can and
often do
play a role in one's circumstances.
But right now we have five job seekers applying for every opening. Those
are lousy
odds, even if employers aren't stigmatizing the unemployed.
Who are the long-term unemployed? I asked Christine Owens, executive
director of
the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group.
They tend to be older, she said, usually 45 years and up. A majority are
men. Many,
but by no means all, have less than a college education. Many worked in
manufacturing, banking, and retail. They have been out of work at least
26 weeks,
often much longer.
I know some of these people. Many of them have worked for decades and
took great
pride in doing so. They are people who volunteer in their communities,
send their
kids to college and care for elderly parents.
The notion that they're using their unemployment checks to finance an
extended vacation
would be comical except that some people actually believe it.
Conservatives tell us that "the overwhelming majority" of studies show
that people
postpone looking for work if they're receiving unemployment pay.
Don't buy it. Newer research is finding that it's not the lack of trying
that's keeping
people out of work. It's the lack of jobs.
One example: Economists Rob Valetta and Katherine Kuang at the Federal
Reserve Bank
of San Francisco analyzed the experiences of workers who left their jobs
and received no unemployment benefits, and workers who were laid off and
unemployment insurance.
They found little difference in the length of time it took the two
categories of
workers to find new jobs. For both groups, the search took too long.
Of course Congress should extend unemployment benefits. The money will
act as a stimulus,
stave off foreclosures and keep people from needing other forms of aid.
Agree or disagree, but can we at least not make unemployed people the
villains of
this debate? They don't need the hassle.
They need jobs.

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