When President Obama introduced many of the details pertaining to negotiations with the Republicans on tax cuts and unemployment extensions, he addressed the fact that up to 2 million of our unemployed may lose benefits by the end of the year. Short sighted individuals will wipe their arm across their brow and say, “boy that was a close one!” The fact that this does absolutely nothing to help an estimated 6 million 99ers that have already exhausted all of their unemployment extensions, a number 3 times as large, is of little concern to many. What they fail to realized is that a vast numbers of the unemployed will never make it to the end of this 13 month extension with benefits in tact…for they will become 99ers themselves soon enough.
Yes, misery loves company. Those busy wiping their brow today will be wondering what hit them soon enough. Thy will begin to ask the question, what about us? The economy hasn’t picked up, there are no jobs, and my benefits have run out. People that thought they were being protected by this mega-deal will be left unprotected, dejected, and alone; alone with their fellow long term unemployed 99ers that already know all too well what this is like, and what a lack of support is all about. Welcome to the world of the 99er, the world of “by no fault of our own, we are the unemployed too!”
In a past life, this writer worked as a Director of Operations for an Eight Billion Dollar a year Fortune 250 company. Part of my responsibilities included forecasting sales, profits, and production requirements such as the number of people, hours, and materials required to meet our customer’s demands. I got pretty good at it. I’m pretty good with numbers, so let me give you some that just might scare you back into sanity.
Reviewing the figures for the unemployment level as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Series Id LNS13000000) one can quickly calculate that the number of people that were laid-off between the period of Nov. 2008 and Nov. 2009. The total number becoming unemployed during this 12 month period is 4,723,000 people. Yes, almost 5 million individuals, spouses, families were impacted by becoming unemployed during this one year period alone. Why is this number important? It is important because many of them will be slipping into the world of the 99ers very soon; all this despite the resounding joy veiled with the unheard whispers of doom spoken by the President as this deal was cut. We are dumb, but we are not so dumb. We know better than to accept this travesty as some form of nirvana for it is just another disaster in the making.
One only needs to perform some simple math and do an apples to apples comparison to predict what is going to happen. From November of 2008 to November of 2010 is 2 years, or stated differently 104 weeks. Anyone being laid-off in November of 2008, and currently without a job, is now a 99er as their maximum allowable weeks of unemployment benefits maxes out at 99 weeks, well below the 104 week threshold for being without work. These people are now America ‘s newest 99ers and just like Frito-Lay, don’t worry, we’ll make more! Again, simple math and a little logic would project that on average we will be producing close to an additional 400,000 new 99ers a month. Those that would argue that some of the long term unemployed might have found a job by now I would counter with where? Let’s assume that every job created over the last year went only to one of the long term unemployed (even though this is highly unlikely). The net number of jobs created from November of 2009 to November of 2010 is only 507,000 jobs total. If every new job went only to the long term unemployed this would leave 4,216,000 people still without work!
It is said that you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. I will not be fooled by this meaningless gesture to offer unemployment extensions for another 13 months as some sort of panacea for that is not what it is. It is a political cruel joke being played on the unsuspecting. It is an act of immorality dressed up as something good. It is a brutal slight of hand being perpetrated against wives/husbands, mothers/fathers, sisters/brothers, aunt/uncles, and families all across this great nation. Do not buy into this offer of empty promises offered by the President and the Republicans. Contact your representatives and let them know that you see through their smoke screen and that this is not acceptable. Urge them to do the nations business and extend much needed benefits for America ‘s 99ers so the unemployed are not further punished for the sins of others!