Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'll Be Damned

On Thursday, The Huffington Post published a harrowing piece, "No Plans In Senate For A Vote On Unemployment Benefits," outlining Republicans' intent to block extended unemployment benefits for 9.6% of Americans who cannot secure a job.

What's worse, the story pointed out, is that Senate Democrats have their collective head up their ass to defeat Republican opposition, blaming the "lame duck session"—which, let's face it, is nothing more than our elected officials going home for Thanksgiving to enjoy a bountiful feast. What the hell do they have to worry about?

"Previous reauthorizations have been held up because Republicans and conservative Democrats don't want the cost of the benefits added to the deficit, even though extended benefits have traditionally been given 'emergency' status'," the piece states. Democrats have muttered that those denying unemployment benefits are not insisting on offsets for tax cuts for the rich.

At the end of the article, writer Arthur Delancey asked readers, "Are you in this boat? Tell us about it." I'm happy to oblige...Yes sir, i am absolutely in this boat, and fearful of watching the life I know sink amid a tidal wave of Republican apathy... or, more realistically, cruelty.

After 14 years of dutiful service, I was laid off from my job in March 2009 as a print journalist by a major corporation that practically made it policy to lay off its veterans in an effort to lean-down the bottom line as the company aimed to sell its publication arm.

In earnest, I searched for a job—in a dying industry—only to be replaced by a generation of younger, less experienced, cheaper recent college graduates. I suspect there is universality to this in many industries. After searching for a full-time position for nearly a year, I secured a job with the U.S. Census, which, thankfully, paid the bills for seven months. Being paid $20.25 an hour certainly didn't allow for the new sofa I desperately need, but at least it couched my need for sustenance and a roof over my head.

I worked long enough in that temporary position with the Census to qualify for unemployment benefits a second time, thank god, only to find that the job market, if anything, was worse, while unemployment remained locked at 9.6%. In addition, my COBRA health benefits expired, adding the burden of paying for independent insurance in case, god forbid I'm hit by a bus (walking in front of one is as likely, I dare say).

My 26 weeks of benefits are slated to end soon after the new year... as I continue to apply for jobs, network, freelance wherever I can for whatever anyone is willing to pay (reputation be damned) and spend like a pauper.

And now Republicans are spouting that the deficit is more important to them than taking care of the 2 million American citizens out of work that put them in office. Be damned, indeed.

Thanks for listening-
=Chuck Taylor=