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Obama’s tax bill means nothing to long-term jobless

By The Associated Press
December 17, 2010

The tax-cut bill President Barack Obama is expected to sign Friday renews benefits for millions of unemployed people. But it does nothing for hundreds of thousands who have been out of work so long they’ve used up all benefits available to them.

In the 25 states with unemployment of at least 8.5 percent, people can receive up to 99 weeks in aid. In other states, the unemployed get less than 99 weeks — in some cases just 60 weeks, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

The bill keeps 99 weeks as the maximum anyone can receive. It doesn’t provide any more weeks of benefits to people who have reached the limit in their state. Those who have exhausted all benefits are sometimes known as “99ers,” even though the duration of their benefits varies by state.

The legislation renews federal programs that extend benefits beyond the 26 weeks states always provide. Those federal programs expired Nov. 30.

The Labor Department says it doesn’t know how many Americans have used up all their unemployment benefits. But the number reaches well into the hundreds of thousands.

In California, 5,000 unemployed people use up their extended benefits each week. And 274,185 Californians will have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits by year’s end.

In Florida, 105,011 people have run out of benefits; in Nevada, 27,325. In New York, 125,284 out-of-work people have stopped receiving unemployment checks because they’ve exhausted their 99 weeks of aid.

New York’s 99ers tend to be older than those still receiving unemployment: Thirty percent percent of the state’s 99ers are 55 or older, compared with less than 22 percent of those still receiving benefits. And more than 48 percent of New York 99ers are women. That compares with 43 percent of those receiving unemployment aid.

Many more people could be joining the 99ers. Job losses peaked in January 2009. Those who lost jobs then, at the depths of the recession, will soon lose their benefits if they haven’t found work or run out of aid already. The number of people who applied for benefits for the first time peaked at 651,000 in the week that ended March 28, 2009 — 94 weeks ago.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in August introduced legislation that would help the 99ers by tacking on 20 more weeks of benefits in states with unemployment of 7.5 percent or more. But her bill has gone nowhere in a Congress that’s been reluctant to spend more federal money to jolt the economy.

“They have to be taken care of,” says a supporter, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. “They are next to be homeless. They are the people who have hit the wall through no fault of their own.”

They’re people like Sylvia Kittrell of Orlando, Fla., a former social worker who ran out of unemployment benefits over the summer. Without her $224 weekly unemployment check, Kittrell has been getting by on food stamps and occasional contributions from her 84-year-old mother and grown son.

She says her job search has been fruitless. Potential employers keep telling her she’s overqualified. Her savings are long gone. She’s about to be evicted from her apartment.

“It’s the worst situation a human being can be in,” says Kittrell, who turned 58 on Thursday. “What am I to do? Keep praying. I keep praying for a miracle.”

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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12 Responses to Obama’s tax bill means nothing to long-term jobless

  1. Carl Nemo

    December 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    People need to get it in their heads that this nation has been the victim of a heist; i.e., a “job heist’. The jobless are all dying like frogs in a soon to boil pot of water, not realizing its too late to save themselves. This is “globalism gone bad” for us. The Chinese, Indians and Malaysians surely aren’t going to export the jobs back to us and in fact their attitude is we as Americans can all eat crap and die…! The only utility we have to them is to ‘feed’ on the endless supply of necessaries and toys they export to U.S. consumers. We don’t make shoes, clothing, underwear or toothbrushes etc. for ourselves anymore, nada…nothing other than the weapons of war, raw materials, ag products and the scrap cardboard and metal we ship back to them for recycling.

    American based corporations, now globalized had a record third quarter posting 1.6 trillion in profits while our job market has cratered with no interest on their part to turn things around. The greedy mattoids that own these companies enjoy the nuclear umbrella that protects this nation from aggressors, also enjoying the ambience and safety thereof in their gated enclaves while contributing less and less to our national maintenance.

    I know the summary solution to this problem, but it would be foolhardy to mention it on this forum. Use your collective imaginations.

    It’s times like these that try men’s souls. At times “We the People” need some rousing music to not only cheer us up, but to get us to “think” seriously what has to be done in order to survive as a nation. The solution is not in D.C. since it’s the root cause of all our collective problems. Don’t think for a minute that todays passage of the sorry butt ‘tax bill’ is the solution. There’s 6,600 “earmarks” in the bill, a goodly portion being simply wasted which is now our government’s most important product; ie., WASTE as so too it is! : |

    I offer you Christy Moore singing …”Ordinary Man”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsmAMKUIXbE&feature=related

    Carl Nemo **==

    • griff

      December 18, 2010 at 12:34 am

      No work today, no work today.

    • griff

      December 18, 2010 at 1:22 am

      Three Days Grace has a solution, too.

      Live from Detroit. It might be a little too heavy for you Carl, but you get the idea. Saw them play this live a couple of years ago. I almost thought there would be one. Ha. Enjoy.

      • Carl Nemo

        December 18, 2010 at 1:43 am

        Not so Griff. My musical tastes span all genre’s. : )

        Let’s start an “effective” riot nationwide. My solution is for citizens to relentlessly attack their Congressional District reps and Senators state based offfices with “intense” picketing and in their face demands. Never slack off and convey the underlying message that there’s a price to be paid for “non compliance”….period!

        Carl Nemo **==

        p.s. I’m shor glad you like Irish folk music and ballads as myself. These are tunefully expressed thoughts of one’s core spirit…no?

        • griff

          December 18, 2010 at 8:58 am

          Yeah you posted that link once before. Good stuff. They say music soothes the savage beast, but some times it serves to awaken it.

          Speaking of never slacking off, the trillion-plus dollar omnibus spending bill was defeated yesterday thanks to the People staying active.

          Take it back? To borrow a well-worn phrase from the One…Yes We Can!

          • logtroll

            December 18, 2010 at 10:46 am

            I think that’s “soothes the savage breast”, though the meaning changes little.

            Mr. Moore sings of one of the faces of capitalism. It raises the question of why do so many American “Ordinary Men” idolize capitalism?

            Three Days Grace proposes an action, but I am not recognizing anything resembling a solution in their song. I did recognize that they were playing a sizeable concert, they are probably living large, and likely do not really want the staus quo disturbed by what their song advocates.

            Both artists are enjoying the exploitation of social discontent to further capitalistic motives. Interesting, no?

            • griff

              December 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm

              Just some light banter between “friends in thought,” but you are correct. TDG offers no solution, just a means to an end. Of course they probably don’t actually want rioting, but hearing one’s own feelings played out in some one else’s music is why music has been such a driving force behind social change throughout history.

              The artists are engaged in capitalism. They produce a product that people willingly pay for.

              By capitalism, do you mean true capitalism or our so-called American “capitalism,” which is nothing more than thinly veiled fascism these days, i.e. the merger of the State and corporations?

              In order to have capitalism, one must have capital. The very basis of our monetary system is debt, so the very well from which capitalism springs is poisoned. That’s why your dollar bill says “Federal Reserve Note,” and not “Federal Reserve Currency.”

              That’s why we can run huge deficits. There is no check on what this government can spend. And unlike capitalism, this government is unencumbered by market principles.

              For instance, the Department of Education gets increased funding year after year, yet the product they provide is of very low quality. Actually, the worse our education system gets, the more funding they get. They hold a virtual monopoly on education. There is no competition and no accountability. If this were a private sector endeavor, the people would not continue to buy their product, and the free market would provide an alternative that the people would want.

              Now consider gas prices. Oil prices are not derived from market principles such as supply and demand, they’re driven by Wall Street speculators. Demand is down right now, yet prices continue to rise daily. Part of this is due to inflation of course, thanks to our endless printing of money.

              You might remember in 2008 when the “economic crisis” was in full swing? In the span of just a couple of months oil prices plummeted from $150.00 per barrel to around $50.00 per barrel. You may remember that this happened at the height of the high-demand summer travel season as well, when gas prices historically rise (they always say it’s because of increased demand, to foster the illusion of market-derived prices, but has more to do with profiteering than any thing else).

              What happened was these Wall Street speculators were cash-poor because of huge losses in their housing market shenanigans. Without the ability to speculate up prices, the free market took over and gas prices dropped rapidly from near $4.00 per gallon to $1.50 per gallon.

              You may also remember that gas prices immediately began rising again after these same Wall Street speculators received their TARP money.

              So what would you rather have? Self-funded enslavement and outright highway robbery, or a little more freedom?

              So yes, this American indeed idolizes capitalism. True capitalism. Once people start to realize that we don’t really have any thing resembling capitalism, they might just stop blaming it for all our woes (Democrats), and start to look at the real culprits. Which happens to be a straight line between Washington, DC and Wall Street.

              • Almandine

                December 18, 2010 at 8:25 pm

                Nice lesson, Griff. You’re in a particularly sanguine state today… hope it’s more than just the holidays, but that would be good enough, too.

                Tu Ne Cede Malis.

                • griff

                  December 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm

                  It ain’t the holidays, believe me.

              • logtroll

                December 18, 2010 at 9:05 pm

                Now we’re getting somewhere.

                Agreed on the meaning of capitalism — it means all manner of things to any particular person and is mixed and matched with all of the other -isms into an endless variety of chaotic systems.

                Agreed on the basis for our monetary system –it runs on debt and it is crazy. One thing you didn’t mention is that money itself is an abstraction, a symbolic exchange tool. It is not a good or a service and is fundamentally useless as a real product. That includes gold, unless you are making something out of it.

                Agreed on the evils of speculation, aka gambling. An economy is made of countless trade transactions of goods and services. Markets determine trade values and fabricating fictional markets ought to be a crime. You can’t have a healthy economy that is based on gambling whether it be in casinos, stock markets, or housing “bubbles”.

                Not so fast, however, on the wonderfulness of “pure” capitalism. I think I know well enough what you mean by that term and I believe that humans are not evolved enough to make “pure” capitalism work in a nice way. I think the era of the Robber Barons was an example; I think the very existence of the Fed is a result of the abuse of power that rich assholes enjoy when they amass too much of it (they still want more, out of all reason); and I think that far too many non-monetized (and non-recoverable) values and assets get sacrificed at the altar of capital acquisition to make it a desired “pure” system. Human society is much more complicated than can be addressed only by a system of trade.

                Finally, “pure” anything is a fantasy; unless you have the power to force others to follow your will. Then you’ve got a whole ‘nother basket of -isms to sort out. I bet a bunch of folks will even be wanting a riot…

                • Carl Nemo

                  December 19, 2010 at 3:06 am

                  Thanks logtroll for this piece of writing. I’m impressed. It seems over the past number of weeks you’ve begun to expose your intellect and native analysis abilities evermore so. You both think and write well. I agree with your thesis as well as Griff’s ideas which were a catalyst for your thoughts. : )

                  Carl Nemo **==

                  • logtroll

                    December 19, 2010 at 9:45 am

                    Cap’n,

                    Glad you are can bask in the glow of my newly exposed self. I promise not to do it near any schoolyards.

                    I really prefer the Fool’s way, though, with more twinkle and tongue-in-cheek with a salty dash of satire to throw on any open sores. You know, rile the beast then scamper away from the slathering jaws, laughing like an idiot?

                    As Yogi Berra was wont to say, “Ya can’t always take the World Serious”.