As I sit tonight, on New Year Eve, I ponder the fact that, as a person currently drawing unemployment benefits, ringing in the New Year is not really a part of my personal entertainment budget this year. The entertainment budget was one of the first things to go when unemployment began. Then my thoughts turned to America’s millions of 99ers that would love to be in my position. To be able to just sit here and lament on 2010 instead of being worried only about how to get through another night so that they can face the exasperation of another tomorrow. New Years Day will just be another day at this point in their lives. Nothing different. Same old, same old. Objective – live to see tomorrow; not a new year full of promise, just tomorrow.
2010 was a year of broken dreams for millions of 99ers that once had hopes that their extended period of unemployment would be recognized for what it is; a futile effort to find work. Millions upon millions of the unemployed chasing too few jobs. Simple math said that millions were going to be left behind without work. The excitement of the stimulus perhaps creating a plethora of jobs and repairing the severed economy was like a balloon that so ever slowly loses air until it becomes the flimsy shell of what it once was. With the dream of proposed Tier 5 unemployment extensions being brought up in both the House and the Senate, hopes buoyed only to ultimately have them wind up being cast upon the rocks in an ultimate sea of indifference. 2010 was not to be the year of the Tier 5 extension. The only good news seemed to be more bad news; knowing that they were not alone and that millions more were soon to join them as 99ers, and the possibility of this making the number of 99ers ultimately just too big to ignore.
Having exhausted unemployment benefits once before in my life I recall the intense desperation that being caught in this condition can bring to bear on an individual. With no options left except to use what meager assets you have left to survive on, to watch these assets dwindle down to next to nothing while you hope to get lucky and land that next job can be debilitating beyond belief. It is one thing to try and pull yourself up by your bootstraps, it is a whole other thing to try to lift yourself up off the ground by tugging on them!
So is hope just another four letter word for the 99ers trying to face realities going into 2011? Will people in America become enlightened in 2011 and turn their efforts towards supporting actions to create new jobs in vast numbers and to providing a life line to millions of 99ers to see them through to the next job? Only time will tell, as this writers crystal ball is in the shop getting fixed, so he cannot predict this future, he can only resign himself to fight for it.
This will be my last article of the year, and very likely the first one of mine that you will read in 2011. I offer my sincere wishes that we all have a happy and prosperous New Year. I ask my fellow citizens to join me in making a New Years resolution to become proactive in our efforts to find ways to support our nations millions of 99ers. To keep them in our thoughts and our prayers. To decide to actively support the creation of an expansion of unemployment benefits so that millions of our fellow citizen are not left in abject poverty while they look for that next job. Peace be with you, and Happy New Year!