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Politics puts thousands out of work

By Doug Thompson
March 1, 2010

Political posturing in the Senate put thousands of federal transportation employees out of work Monday, stopped an extension of unemployment benefits for 400,000 Americans and halted federal payments to states for highway programs — thanks to the stalling efforts of Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning.

Bunning threw a political stall into extension of federal highway and transit programs last week, saying the $10 billion price tag for the program adds to much to the deficit.

The programs expired at midnight Sunday. Included in the package was an extension of unemployment benefits for the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose current aid is running out.

Democrats see Bunning’s political stunt as an opening to nail Republicans for allowing popular programs to expire.

Republicans think the effort pays off in showing they want to reign in costs.

Both sides, however, agree the stoppage is temporary until each side believes the political benefit has run out.

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20 Responses to Politics puts thousands out of work

  1. Sue

    March 1, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Why Congress trying to halt our payments all of a sudden without any notice? How they expect us to find a job in a couple of days and pay to eat? Bunning and Congress need to see what it is like to have no job.

  2. Janice

    March 1, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Just another example of partisan politicians who don’t give a damn about the American people.

  3. Patrick

    March 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Three cheers for Jim Bunning. At last someone has said no to more debt. At last someone has the common sense to recognize that our national credit rating will be downgraded. A downgraded credit rating will mean creation of less jobs, increased debt load and a real danger to national securtiy. Living within our means is tough; for a family or a nation. This is a taste of tough love to come. Get used to it. Once Jim Bunning is retired, it does not change the picture. Face it now or face it later.

  4. Almandine

    March 1, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Interesting for anyone to think that there is “political benefit” in denial of temporary subsistence to someone thrown out of work. It’s even more interesting to think that “our payments” are something the govt should maintain, ad infinitum.

    Saw a show on early morning news yesterday about a woman who had made an entire career – she was clearly successful – out of shining shoes. She was at the Olympics, shining shoes there, and in the interview she made note of the fact that she goes to political conventions, rallies, and other large venues, in addition to more regular gatherings, to ply her trade. She even has young “trainees” learning the way she conducts her business.

    Wake up Sue – nobody owes you a living.

  5. John Russell

    March 1, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I just can’t wonder where the congress was when Bush was handing out dollars like ice cream to his cronies. I bet their hands were out for some of that delicious ice cream and not too object or block the greatest theft in history!

    • griff

      March 1, 2010 at 5:31 pm

      In case you haven’t noticed, the greatest theft in history is happening right now. It started back in 1913 and will be coming to an abrupt, disastrous end here pretty soon.

  6. Sandy Young

    March 1, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I am an unemployed bookkeeper in the homebuilding industry. Every morning I go into my office and begin my job search. I attend meetings at crossroads career. I am even going to teach a crossroads workshop in about a month. I had the chance to talk to the number two man for Georgia DOL last thursday at a job fair. I want to know what the unemployed can do to a. help each other b. find a job. I was told that it is all about community. 1.2 million people are effected by Senator Bunnings hold up – we don’t want a hand out but we do need hope. Since he helped nail the coffin shut maybe i should ask him if he will help with my house payment that is due today? Maybe AIG could help us out.

    • woody188

      March 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

      You only need be better than the others applying for the same job, but the major problem this time around is those jobs are not coming back. There will not be enough jobs for a long time and we will see 10% (20% if the government was honest) unemployment as the new reality for a lot of ex-middle class. In fact, lay-offs are still steady or increasing and with white collar accounting, HR, and payables/receivables moving overseas over the next decade the pain is going to increase many times more for many more of the middle class.

      It is true that it is who you know and not what you know that will likely land your next job.

      In the meantime, why not identify some thing you have always wanted to do, and make a company/job for yourself?

      When I was laid off in 2004 that is exactly what I did. Yes it is hard. There were times I did not eat for days. I went for two years where if I got sick I had to tough it out on my own or pony up the cash for the doctor and dentist. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. But now the calls come in most every day, and I make a decent living working from home and raising my 4-year and 2-year old boys. Once they are off to school I’ll expand even more and possibly have to *gasp* hire some other people to work for me.

      If you are out of benefits and no one is hiring what else can you do?

  7. Sandune

    March 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I have no idea what kind of income is received from unemployment insurance. I did not work during the years that I was married but when my huaband lost his job cutting back all payments of child support I was left on my own. I had done some sewing professionally and did laundry washing for others and sewing repairs and fitting. My husband had remarried and moved out of the state. We cut back in our daily living costs and I did what I could to feed and shelter us. My kids had been in private school and I sold my own jewelry and some antiques to keep them there. The kids gathered fire wood for us and some neighbors and my older girl took a evening job.

    I never considered state welfare and we simply stopped buy anything not necessary. As soon as the youngest girl was older, I located some jobs selling merchandise in stores. I was older and considered unemployable. I got my typing skills up and worked for a secretarial group who discovered my good spelling and grammar skills. This is not much more than minimum pay.

    I learned that money is nice but does not bring certainty. Somehow the kids made it through the University and with my own frugel investments I am proud to say that nobody ever paid me for not working. Here in Arizona we have Mexicans on every corner looking for jobs. They know that if they don’t work, they don’t eat. Americans have a safety net under them from the crib to the grave and Big Daddy is elected to keep this going.

  8. Patrick

    March 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

    No, it is not easy finding a job. What seems to be hard is accepting a job that is below one’s ego. I see plenty of “help wanted” signs and few takers. I’ve done my share of jobs of what I would consider myself over-qualified for… but it was not about me.. it was about my family and the dignity of work. Please don’t say I don’t know what it is like. In my career and jobs, I have been fired, let-go, down-sized, bought-out, re-aligned, re-organized, RIFFED (Reduction in force: and some how survived them all. As a Viet Nam vet, I came home to a job market where the “good jobs” were all filled up with the “Me Generation” and Bill Clinton management types and been asked the question:”If I had ever killed anyone?” as part of the course of a regular interview more than once. I accepted jobs of picking produce, being a department store santa claus, construction laborer, working customer serevice counters, sales of all sorts, painted houses and hung wall paper on the side and even shovelled ****. I had to accept unemployment payments once in my life for a few weeks to feed my family and was proud to get off unemployment as fast as I could. I’m old now and entitled to my opinion. Yes, we have a good life now and the satisfation of knowing we worked for “EVERYTHING” we have and know that everything is a blessing from God and the good fortune of living in this great country of opportunity. Earning a dignified dollar is another dollar earn, no matter if it is below my perception of who I am. Many make fun of our lifestle. We don’t indulge in the excesses that many do. A case of beer could last one or two months in our refrigerator. Dining out could cost us $20 or $30, not $60 or $100 to include the bar-bill. We don’t have cable TV. I would just laugh along with those that thought I was a bit out-of-date because I still had a rotary dial phone for about 20 years after touch tone was invented. It only saved me $1.20 per month for 20 years. Nor should I say we didn’t have a TV set while my wife and I attended college. I changed my own car’s engine oil, gave each other most of our hair cuts. My wife tells me that so many at her workplace say they are having a hard time making it. In the next breath; she tells me how those same people are lamenting about how much their manicures and pedicures cost or how much that new Christmas outfit cost for their three year old child. One lady insists her every other week appointment for the hairdresser at $100 a visit is so important.

    Well, here I sit. I payed for my son’s college. I hope he appreciates it, especially, when he thinks about the school loans he’s not needing to repay. I hope I didn’t spoil him buying him a car for his high school and college years. I know, I shouldn’t have made him pay for the gas and maintenace: but I did. I was surprised when Prom time came around and he and his date went down to the “Thrift Store” to pick out a used suit. He said he had a great time and so did she. They got a picture to show for it. When the two of them eventially got married, we said we would give them a certain amount of money to get them started and they could decide how them wanted to spend it. They had a nice wedding; nothing fancy too much. They have a nice condo. Not bad for a starting home. He says all their bills are payed. They both have jobs. I think they work too many hours, but feel glad and blessed they are independent and on their own. They seem happy together. Just the other day my son was telling me about how he can’t believe the things people thow out in the dumpster. He found a brand new, never opened box. That object in-the-box is now part of their decor, thanks to some clever and resouceful talents his wife contributed. I wish I was a smarter investor: Just like most people I know, my 401-K’s and IRA’s took a 30 to 40% hit. I’m not too worried though. I’m in the same boat most people my age find themelves, financially. It is not easy to see that much savings evaporate. Here is how I got things figured: If I don’t live excessively or friviously, if I use coupons when available, if I don’t make any loans I can’t repay, if I continue to educate myself on new technologies, if I pay attention and particpate in my nation’s government: I should be okay. I might take one of those unfilled, low-paying jobs to make my next million on. This is a great country. Find the right priorities in life, work hard and be thankful.

  9. Sandune

    March 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Well done Patrick! I have no regrets for the awful jobs I had to take. Had I kept working after I got married, I would have better employment records. I was with my kids when they were little and that was worth more than any executive pay.

    You are smart to keep training in the new technology. I went on line at 65 years old and learned to use Dos and Windows but my experience with the internet sites themselves was a terrible shock. I had been active in the GOP since Ike and discovered a new culture called Family Values that meant we had to live as Christians to survive. Looking at the many Christians in my family and neighbors showed me a hypocrisy so prevalent to be absurd. There were no definite lines between right and wrong and if I had been smart I would have closed down my computer and continued my vast reading of real values. I went from 1964 to 1984 without television and that was a cultural shock I never got over.

    We are the survivors and it took years for me to realize American culture no longer fit my individual desires. I even read the Constitution differently than others. I see no benefit of giving my choices over to a massive corrupt government.

    If you are new here, let me welcome you to a great site of individuals.

  10. Christine

    March 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    It saddens me to hear the views of above. Those out of work are not lazy. They as well as hundreds others are applying for one job opening. I am hard working. I have no debt, I had a dual family income. I was then let go and pregnant and my husband’s sales job cut his pay by almost half. I have worked since I was 13, paid for college, and spent 50-60 hours a week at work, giving up family time to my Company. We give the banks money, other countries money but NOT ARE OWN PEOPLE. Thank you for closing the door on millions of Americans. This will down the road effect you. When homes close this will devalue yours. Your ignorance is what slows down the progress of America. The true greed of me first – is all around. You are truly the new terrorist to those out of work, out of hope, and desperate to support themselves/their family. Thank you for closing the door on your neighbor. Crime will rise, the dollar will devalue and you will be effected. Like it or not we’re all in this together. So why do we not give a helping hand to those Americans that helped make America what it is today. This will effect you. See you in the unemployment line – because that is where we are all headed. God Bless America- it needs it.

  11. Issodhos

    March 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Well, Patrick, perhaps if you can show where this pol demanded that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq be paid for instead of being added to the deficit every year for the past 9 years, he might be deserving of “three cheers”. Did he oppose the bank bailout cooked up in 2008? If not, he is just another contemptable political hack hoping to score a few points on his way out the door while making a pretence of giving a rat’s patoot about the debt he helped build. And yet, you think he is deserving of cheers? Odd.;-)
    Yours,
    Issodhos

  12. Issodhos

    March 1, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Christine, it seems there are always some folks who like to tell others what horrendous sacrifices they made in their lives – usually with a sanctimoneous air of superiority, and in so doing they imply (well, proclaim, actually) that those who are out of work or going through hard times are at fault and deserve their situation. Of course, many of those getting unemployment checks may have been frugal and watched their pennies but still took a hard economic hit (a.k.a. lost a job or jobs), and many are undoubtly looking for any job they can get, but because they are currently down and in need, they are viewed by some as deserving their current circumstance. For some reason the sanctimoneous crowd among us tend to think that they alone have faced adversity or taken menial jobs to make ends meet). It strikes me as a rather pecular need on their part to brag about how great they are. Don’t wast too much emotion on such self-congratulatory back-slapping, Christine. I suspect most Americans do not hold you to blame for what has happened to the economy. Things will get better because one way or another we will make them better.:-)
    Yours,
    Issodhos

  13. griff

    March 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Is this guy for real? A three trillion dollar budget and this bozo thinks he’s doing every one a favor with this? A real conservative hero.

    Our defense budget has more than doubled since 2000. We spend more than the rest of the world combined to “defend our freedoms” as our defense budget increased this year by 20 billion.

  14. b mcclellan

    March 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I haven’t fired a shot against an enemy foreign or domestic in years either Griff.
    Why do these fools push, pull, tug, and try to waste our resolve.

    Have they truly come to the false conclusion that they are impervious ?
    Do they think that there is not one American left with nerve enough to kick them in the balls ?

    Do we need a Military coup ?

  15. Patrick

    March 2, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Sandune: Thanks for welcoming me to the world of blogging. That was my first time. I have read some before, but not jumped in. It appears I made a mistake in using myself as an example. Perhaps, in trying to make my point, I sounded self-congratulatory and sanctimonious to some. I did not mean to sound that way. I see that I must take my style of writing from those that have been at it for some time. That is, I need to whine incessantly, denigrate those I don’t agree with, vilify people and personality, invite and incite stereotypical descriptions to put people and organizations into and generally cast a negative, no-hope message.
    I USED TO BE A DEMOCRAT: THEN, I GREW UP
    Yes, I’ve also refreshed myself in reading the Constitution and Bill or Rights several times in the last several years. When I was young, I admit to being liberal minded. It seemed, at the time, a necessity for social change and justice in our country; needed to move forward. As I aged, I witnessed the squandering of those ideals by a mentality of welfare and dependency. We were dumbing- down, not lifting up the masses of citizens to freedom, dignity, independence and self-sufficiency. The liberal crowd built their power and political muscle by catering to those locked into dependency. It is a sick relationship. I refer to this phenomenon as the “Smooching Effect”. Politicians SMOOZE the voters for votes….and, voters MOOCHING for a living vote for them. This isn’t the American model of society that is of hope, strength and growth. It is creeping socialism; changing our country little by little until we can hardly recognize it. The path to political power has become the selling of smoke, potions, and snake oil to cure our ills. Are we in danger of losing our country in the midst of the greatest social experiment ever conceived or ordained? This is a big world and things are changing, fast. The USSR’s experiment in utopia failed and it can happen to us. When Europe became too crowed and too miserable to live in during the 1700’ and the1800’s the New World with opportunity became the place of promise. As the world approaches 7 billion people; clamoring for their piece of the pie and a decent living for their families, change is going to happen. By 2050 the USA population is predicted to go from 300 million to 400 million. Those people coming (and they will come) will compete for jobs, schools and housing . They are hungry to succeed. They will impact the America we know and will want to participate in freedom and opportunity they have been denied or gone without. Those of us sitting around on welfare, under educated and dysfunctional-ly equipped will pay the price. We will be swept away as yesterday’s history. So we have a choice. It is a tough choice. Re-align our priorities, improve our lot in life, and stave off immediate gratification for something more enduring. Or, choose a path of wringing our hands and defeating ourselves by accepting those voices of negativism, whining and pessimism. We are not the first generation to face challenge. Our parents and grandparents (for the most part) faced challenges and circumstances far more difficult. Were they tougher? Were they people unlike us? We know the answer. They were determined to succeed. They endured the difficult times, paid the price and overcame circumstance. They did not dwell in or on negative whiners but in optimistic hope. We will succeed if we turn heads and minds from the nay-Sayers. Let them whine until their heart is content. They can whine alone. I choose to move ahead and embrace the future and an America of freedom and opportunity: An America that lives confidently, with pride and spirit; An America not afraid to face tomorrow.
    For anyone going through tough times now, I bet if they looked back a generation or two into their own family’s history , they will find someone to inspire them to persevere over present day circumstances.
    For those wondering where I’m coming from try reading ATLAS SHRUGGED. If that book is too big, read CHARLETTE’S WEB.

  16. Almandine

    March 2, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Stick with it Patrick… as if I even had to say it.

  17. b mcclellan

    March 2, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    LLAMRAF , three bottom plow all day long.
    Atlas sent Charlotte’s children to the wind a weaving, with the audible sound of gossamer a simple twang just out of their reach.

    I second Al..

  18. Patrick

    March 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Christine. You sound like a nice person trying your very best to hold things together for your family. I am sorry you are going through such a rough time. I will keep you in my prayers and hope things get better for you soon.
    I do not wish anyone the pain of unemployment and living under the stress of trying to provide for their family and themselves without sufficient income.
    I can see from your message you have done many things right in your life in order to improve your chances of succeeding. Please hang in there and don’t let those preaching a negative message hold you from reaching success. I hesitate to say it, but I truly can understand where you are coming from and your frustration. I have been broke and in debt and out of work and hungry. It can tear at you in ways that makes you feel worthless; as if no one cares and the world is mocking you.
    You and your family, through no fault of your own, have been caught up in this economic disaster: just as many other hard working, decent families have.
    There are plenty of people to blame for this economic chaos. I would bet you and I agree on more than you think of whom to place blame on. I encourage you not to let your energy be frustrated and wasted on finding who to blame. Focus on you and you and your family’s future. They are the priority of your energy and focus.
    You suggested that the neighborhood I live in could see a decline in property valuations if people continue losing their jobs. It is not only a possibility, it is a reality. I see the bank foreclosure signs. I see the lives of families disrupted. I see the children that must be uprooted from schools and friends.
    But the truth is: I also see how many got to where the bank foreclosure sign came to be put on their homes. Many were into debt for their home for way more than they could afford. I watched as the repo man came to collect boats, RV’s, four wheelers, motorcycles, leather couches, flat screen TV’s. And that doesn’t count what I didn’t see on their credit cards.
    You and I and my neighbors are the ones paying for their excesses of accumulated debt. We are paying in the form of unemployment, failed businesses, higher taxes, bank bailouts and devalued property values.
    If there is one thing we probably agree on it is allowing the mega-banks to get away with the thievery that helped set this economic chaos in motion. When I hear of anyone on Wall Street getting a bonus, my blood boils. But the banks alone are not the ones to blame. That is a much bigger story. If you care to hear about it; let me know. It is time for an old man to go to sleep.
    Goodnight and God Bless.
    I wish you a better tomorrow.