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Thread: Do we really need to keep extending unemployment benefits indefinetely?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Do we really need to keep extending unemployment benefits indefinetely?

    Federal unemployment benefits began to expire June 1st. A House bill to help extend benefits through November at a cost around $40 billion. Hedge fund managers, through heavy lobbying, will pay a top tax rate of just 25 percent of their earnings, versus of top rate of 35 percent for all higher income Americans. Closing the 10% loophole would raise an estimated $25 billion over 10 years.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/op...5tue1.html?hpw

    I am probably going to be pummeled for saying this, but how long do we need to keep extending unemployment benefits? I was unemployed for 7 months last year before relocating to my current job, but I had to pay a huge amount in state income taxes in two states (and that's after I itemized all moving and job search expenses). Unemployment is taxable income (and until a year ago 100% of the money was reported as income). Only a few decades ago, we didn't even have unemployment insurance, COBRA health insurance extensions started only in the 1980s. I think plenty of the unemployed are in for a bigger shock with taxes on unemployment not to mention hyperinflation knocking on the door.

    I have plenty of friends back in Chicago who are eeking by working just enough in part time jobs to collect the maximum unemployment insurance rather than sitting down and getting to work at finding full time jobs with benefits. They are out there. True, there are families with children who can't easily move to a new job. Yes, there are handicapped and elderly who also face daunting realities. However, I think a sizeable majority of unemployed workers are far more mobile than they think. Our society is growing more spoiled in its own comfort zone that is unwilling to take new risks.

    I am sick and tired of people pointing the finger at government, wall street, the housing market, etc.and expecting a prolonged handout. I think the state and federal governments need to invest more tax dollars in (1) helping private businesses recruit workers (sorry but census work is temporary and most of it can be done by computers and phones) and (2) better monitor the job-hunting process of those people receiving unemployment assistance.
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    If you really want it the work is out there. Unemployment should only be used in emergency situations, but everyone I know rides it out as long as they can and treats it like a 6 month vacation. Not saying I wouldn't too, but..

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Hedge fund managers, through heavy lobbying, will pay a top tax rate of just 25 percent of their earnings, versus of top rate of 35 percent for all higher income Americans. Closing the 10% loophole would raise an estimated $25 billion over 10 years.
    Yeah, but they do so much for the world

    I am on your side of this coin, but I think it is hard to vote against anything like this when you are given everything and pay for very little, like our trusty public servants in congress.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I agree that there must be some sort of end to the benefits, but I also think this is one of the better government aid programs that there is. The money goes directly to people who actually need it and the vast majority of the funds gets recirculated out into the economy rather quickly. The funds are not getting put into an investment account or savings account but rather being used to pay for housing, utilities, and groceries.

    Yes, there are (and always will be) some recipients that will abuse the system but that will be true of just about any program that there is. You can talk all you want about how spoiled or entitled some people are but compared to the rest of the industrialized western world, our social safety net is pretty minuscule.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post


    Our society is growing more spoiled in its own comfort zone that is unwilling to take new risks.

    I am sick and tired of people pointing the finger at government, wall street, the housing market, etc.and expecting a prolonged handout.
    Are you for real? The worst economic downturn in 70 years, triggered by Wall Street greed, and you're going to piss on the unemployed for using the benefits that they paid into with their own tax dollars while they were still employed? Do you know anyone that is unemployed and have any idea of the toll that it takes on one's self-esteem and overall health, not to mention the ability to keep a roof overhead and provide for one's family? Chiding the unemployed for their unwillingness to pack up and move cross country for work and deeming them spoiled is painfully crass. Moving long distance is not cheap, a fact of which you should be quite aware.

    I don't even know what else to say. You'd think a planner-type would have a little more empathy.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    As someone that relied on partial unemployment for almost a year, i tried my goddamn hardest to get the hell off. Yes, there should be a time to say, "yup, you have been on this thing for 24 months now, time to go." The unemployment system needs to be completely overhauled (like requiring skill training for compensation or other community service type benefit) because for some folks, the honor system is just that, "honor". I fielded a ton of calls from my old employer whom simply asked our address and phone number and hung up, and didn't even bother to ask if we were hiring. Why? Benefits. If you really need money to keep the family going you will do anything. Trust me (i was there).
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Its an interesting question...what would happen if unemployment were ended now? I think foreclosures would go up again, leaving more ruins and blighted neighborhoods. That is something the "working" people would be paying for in terms of further reduced property values. You'd probably end up with more people in jail as some turn to petty theft to keep themselves fed. You'd have more people getting arrested for vagrancy and squatting, ending up with criminal records that render them nearly unemployable. The country's already world-record holding incarceration rate would go up. You'd have more people on foodstamps and welfare. More social costs. More kids that drop out of school because they can't handle the pressure with an unstable home life. More people camping out under bridges and in tent cities, where you can look at them and think of how much better you are.
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Are you for real? The worst economic downturn in 70 years, triggered by Wall Street greed, and you're going to piss on the unemployed for using the benefits that they paid into with their own tax dollars while they were still employed? Do you know anyone that is unemployed and have any idea of the toll that it takes on one's self-esteem and overall health, not to mention the ability to keep a roof overhead and provide for one's family? Chiding the unemployed for their unwillingness to pack up and move cross country for work and deeming them spoiled is painfully crass. Moving long distance is not cheap, a fact of which you should be quite aware.

    I don't even know what else to say. You'd think a planner-type would have a little more empathy.
    I WAS unemployed for 7 months last year, although I spent 4 1/2 months actively looking for work (the other 2 1/2 were entirely devoted to the LEED-NC exam and wrapping up two years of work on my portfolio). Although I haven't lived at home for years, my parents called me nearly every week last summer constantly berating me for not going on more interviews in the first 2 months of unemployment (that didn't happen until month 3 of unemployment).

    I have read at least 3 newspapers a day since I was 15 years old and saw this giant mess coming since late 2005. I started working 3-5 days a week in my free time on the portfolio starting in August 2007 in anticipation of this recession. Is it my fault that maybe I was a little better prepared than the next guy? I have worked at one paid job or another since I was 13. Work is work is work, and fortunately I am working as a planner right now, but if it didn't work out, I would have left the profession to find work to put food on the table.

    The national savings rate is hovering around 1-2%, and it was in the negatives during the boom. I have always lived within my means, even at my last job when I was severely underemployed, I managed to set aside at least 15% of my net income into emergency money. I always give myself an allowance, and when I was slapped with a 20% paycut at work, I reduced my allowance by 25-30%. Right now, my savings rate has surged to 35-40% of my net income (not including investments). Again, is it my fault that I stored away all my acorns? Unemployment is emergency assistance and is supposed to be a temproary relief. It is supposed to be supplemented by people's own emergency reserves (the 6 to 12 months of living expenses one should set aside for emergencies). I am working right now, and my first responsibility is to replenish those cash reserves. I have made tons of sacrfices over the years to put money away into savings and investments, which is far more than most of this country, including our government, has done. Will the government keep extending unemployment benefits until we reach 0% unemployment. That last happened VERY briefly during WW2.

    Despite the enormous stress and uncertainty when I was unemployed last summer, I did not get emotional or hysterical, which alot of people have done. I was calm and prepared for any grilling question an interviewer threw at me. I did not take rejection letters personally. I went on to the next application, and the next application, and the next application. I put in my 60-70 hours a week looking for work, earned interviews, prepared for them, and earned an offer. Done. Move on. Again, a job is a job is a job.

    Bottom line, always prepare for the worst, count your blessings, take responsibility for your shortcomings, and have at least one solid backup plan.

    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater View post
    Its an interesting question...what would happen if unemployment were ended now? I think foreclosures would go up again, leaving more ruins and blighted neighborhoods. That is something the "working" people would be paying for in terms of further reduced property values. You'd probably end up with more people in jail as some turn to petty theft to keep themselves fed. You'd have more people getting arrested for vagrancy and squatting, ending up with criminal records that render them nearly unemployable. The country's already world-record holding incarceration rate would go up. You'd have more people on foodstamps and welfare. More social costs. More kids that drop out of school because they can't handle the pressure with an unstable home life. More people camping out under bridges and in tent cities, where you can look at them and think of how much better you are.
    If unemployment ended abruptly, I think it would either lead to people complaining/rioting OR it would force some to re-evaluate their own finances and quickly learn to depend more on themselves than the government.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 16 Jun 2010 at 9:17 AM. Reason: double reply
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I think the important word here is unemployment INSURANCE. Part of the taxes payed by your employer go to purchasing this insurance so that it can be offered to people who become unemployed through no fault of their own. In a good economy there is good reason to minimize the length of time people may collect. In a bad economy, where there are few jobs available it makes sense to extend the benefits.

    Most economists predict that it will take years to simply replace the jobs that were lost, much less create new ones for new entrants to the work force. Yes, there are jobs available, most of which pay poorly and are not in the career field of people who are unemployed. Should a planner, or an architect, or another professional, with years of experience and advanced education, take a customer service job in a call center? Analysis shows that people who become unemployed take a lasting hit to their earnings. Their best chance to recover is to gain re-employment in their own field, rather than starting over at the bottom. Extending unemployment benefits may make that more feasible for some, which is in everyone's best interest.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Are you for real? The worst economic downturn in 70 years, triggered by Wall Street greed, and you're going to piss on the unemployed for using the benefits that they paid into with their own tax dollars while they were still employed? Do you know anyone that is unemployed and have any idea of the toll that it takes on one's self-esteem and overall health, not to mention the ability to keep a roof overhead and provide for one's family? Chiding the unemployed for their unwillingness to pack up and move cross country for work and deeming them spoiled is painfully crass. Moving long distance is not cheap, a fact of which you should be quite aware.

    I don't even know what else to say. You'd think a planner-type would have a little more empathy.
    Especially a planner-type with a lot of education that should have taught her that there were different socioeconomic strata in societies, having asymmetric learning and information gathering capabilities.

    My sister is a well-placed educator in Michigan. Lots of her kids are hungry. Not much work in many places for large sectors of the society with far less education than white-collar professionals.

    Or there may be nothing but part-time service work that cuts into your unemployment while your driving expenses go up as you drive all over the place for much less pay.

    A wee bit o' tunnel vision or blinkered vision, methinks.

    And lots of people didn't have white collar-jobs and the time to read three papers a day to see the recession coming. Instead, they did what they were supposed to do and looky what happened. Fortunately I used to be in the banking industry, so we knew it was coming when they started deregulating and repealed Glass-Steagall.

    Sure society needs to be re-ordered. But the prescription in civil societies is reordering with little pain. We need a wake-up call, but that call doesn't need a slap in the face with it.

    My, my.

  11. #11
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    nrschmid - you certainly are an example of a very forward thinking person coupled with a great work ethic, but I think you are missing the major part of the equation for the typical person on unemployment - dependents.

    Once you start having to provide for 1, 2, 3+ children or elderly parents or child with disabilities, etc, etc saving 1% let alone 5% a month gets difficult or impossible. This is where many unemployed people are at.

    Unemployment insurance is such a touchy issue (hell I'm on it right now). 6 months is a good amount of time, but I would be OK with extensions up to some number under 12 months. It's tough.

    I would love to stop unemployment and move to my hometown and reopen the Trek/Specialized bike dealership that closed a couple years ago, but it takes too long for a new business to make a profit and that wouldn't work with 5 mouths to feed.
    Last edited by mendelman; 16 Jun 2010 at 9:23 AM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

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  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    You do bring up good points, and yes, as I said in the first post, that it is harder for many raising families or even the elderly themselves getting off unemployment. I never said finding work was easy for anyone.

    Plenty of data shows that people are marrying later in life and starting families at older ages than 30-40 years ago. In 1970 or 1980 more people married in their early 20s and started families soon after that. There were also fewer people with college degrees. Today, more people are marrying in their early 30s and starting families into their mid to late thirties. There are several reasons for this "delay": increasing demands on higher education (not just a bachelors but a masters), little to no growth in wages. In most generations, couples hold off on starting families until there is enough long-term stability to support one or more children.

    I am not questioning any of you for your reasons for wanting children. That is none of my business. However, I am baffled in general why so many couples decide to have kids when they are struggling to save even anything (again this is not directed at you mendelman). My parents were married 9 years before they had me, their first born. They also told me it was the norm in the 70s and 80s for working couples to have plenty in reserves before starting families. I don't have my own family, but I am curious if maybe the ticking biological clocks "persuade" more couples to start families, regardless of stagnant wages. Some of my friends who are married start having kids in their mid to late thirties, even if they are not financially prepared because it becomes harder for most females to conceive in their 40s. Is this a new trend? We also borrow more and more money for day-to-day purchases than we did even 20 years ago. I think of all of these factor into our growing dependence on unemployment assistance as our primary, not supplementary, form of income when we are not working.
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    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Just when I was thinking "gee, it's been a long time since we heard from M'skis..."

    grateful for the unemployment that is keeping me afloat at about 60% of my previous salary

  14. #14
    I am struck by the great amount of compassion among this group. So representative of the US today.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I tend to agree with nrschmid.

    At one point, I was a young, unemployed planner in graduate school with a wife and a child. Sure, I collected unemployment for 6 months, but we also moved in with my father-in-law, and drastically changed our spending habits.

    I don't have a problem with unemployment benefits being extended per se - the problem is that people are not also changing their lifestyle and spending habits to reflect the fact that they're still on unemployment. They keep their high cable bill, their fancy smartphones and continue to buy that $25 bottle of liquor. They don't revisit their living situation or how many times they eat out.

    I'm not sure how we can tie lifestyle changes to unemployment benefits.
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  16. #16
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    You do bring up good points, and yes, as I said in the first post, that it is harder for many raising families or even the elderly themselves getting off unemployment. I never said finding work was easy for anyone.

    Plenty of data shows that people are marrying later in life and starting families at older ages than 30-40 years ago. In 1970 or 1980 more people married in their early 20s and started families soon after that. There were also fewer people with college degrees. Today, more people are marrying in their early 30s and starting families into their mid to late thirties. There are several reasons for this "delay": increasing demands on higher education (not just a bachelors but a masters), little to no growth in wages. In most generations, couples hold off on starting families until there is enough long-term stability to support one or more children.

    I am not questioning any of you for your reasons for wanting children. That is none of my business. However, I am baffled in general why so many couples decide to have kids when they are struggling to save even anything (again this is not directed at you mendelman). My parents were married 9 years before they had me, their first born. They also told me it was the norm in the 70s and 80s for working couples to have plenty in reserves before starting families. I don't have my own family, but I am curious if maybe the ticking biological clocks "persuade" more couples to start families, regardless of stagnant wages. Some of my friends who are married start having kids in their mid to late thirties, even if they are not financially prepared because it becomes harder for most females to conceive in their 40s. Is this a new trend? We also borrow more and more money for day-to-day purchases than we did even 20 years ago. I think of all of these factor into our growing dependence on unemployment assistance as our primary, not supplementary, form of income when we are not working.
    Careful... you're going down a dangerous path in questioning people's choices in starting families and comparing to past generations, even with your statement that you aren't. People in the 70s and 80s were struggling through 'stagflation.' Starting a family hasn't been an economic decision for many generations--it is an emotional/social choice coupled with biological pressure. That can lead to the very rational decision of "Gee, I have maybe only a few more years to have a biological family without increasing health risks, but I still have three decades of viability in the workforce to reach a higher level of financial security."

    Many of these unemployed people today started families 5-10 years ago when they had the necessary income to support it given their current lifestyle. They lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and now lack that income. I don't know of any families in which a provider has lost a job that creates a major financial strain, yet they are starting a family anyway. You are asking a lot for a family of five to sock away enough savings to have an emergency fund to float for several months. Due to wage stagnation, many families have been forced to operate as 2-income families. If one provider still has a job while the other is looking, that limits the reasonable geographic area of the search unless the employed provider can also find work in the new location. Otherwise, you have a provider going off unemployment, but another one becoming unemployed. Then factor in sell of a home for relocation in this real estate market, and you've got a situation in which it really is impossible to make a major relocation for the sake of a job to get off unemployment.

    Heck, the hiring process for many government employers takes six months alone from the date you apply.

    You are more forward-thinking than probably 90% of folks out there, and obviously have a tenacious work ethic. I have a nice emergency fund, but it took a lot of hard work to create it even without having any kids. Data has shown that borrowing/saving habits have changed in the last two years, so you are getting at least some to make that turn toward self-sustainability. You conducted a very comprehensive search for a job and aggressively applied, and even then it took you seven months. That is to be commended, but your job search experience was not normal. I know you're a decent, compassionate guy and aren't trying to hurt struggling folks, but you're showing a lack of empathy for unemployed people that are in a much different situation than you were and had a much different experience.

    There is a lot of collatoral damage that comes with yanking unemployment benefits, many of which have already been touched upon (i.e. increasing foreclosures further destabilizing neighborhoods, and deepening recession due to reduced consumption). Pushing for self-sustainability is great and should certainly be encouraged. That said, the technique for getting there should be gentle rather than yanking the rug. If you had a family of four and had to get to the bottom of a cliff, would you rather base jump with no experience or rapel with no experience? Rapeling takes a bit longer, but is more likely to get you to the ground safely. That is the purpose of unemployment insurance--you pay into it so that in your worst case scenario you have a rope to help you down the cliff, with the height of the cliff being determined by the state of the overall economy. The length of the rope should be approrpiate for the height of the cliff, and the current cliff is the worst recession in seven decades.



    EDIT: btrage makes a very important point that some continue lifestyles despite unemployment. I think we would all love a system that could tie unemployment benefits to lifestyle changes to reduce expenses, but I'm not sure how to fairly and objectively do that, at least not through a government program that could be practically administered.
    Last edited by Suburb Repairman; 16 Jun 2010 at 11:08 AM.

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  17. #17
         
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Are you for real? The worst economic downturn in 70 years, triggered by Wall Street greed, and you're going to piss on the unemployed for using the benefits that they paid into with their own tax dollars while they were still employed? Do you know anyone that is unemployed and have any idea of the toll that it takes on one's self-esteem and overall health, not to mention the ability to keep a roof overhead and provide for one's family? Chiding the unemployed for their unwillingness to pack up and move cross country for work and deeming them spoiled is painfully crass. Moving long distance is not cheap, a fact of which you should be quite aware.

    I don't even know what else to say. You'd think a planner-type would have a little more empathy.
    Excellent points. The OP notes that he was on unemployment for several months but that unemployment benefits should be halted after a certain period of time. How long? Two years may seem like a long time to the OP, but seven months may seem like a long time to the next guy.

    The OP notes that he worked on his portfolio and was prepared. Apparently not. If he was prepared, he wouldn't have been unemployed for seven months.

    This disaster was not created by working-class folks. It's beyond our control, yet we're expected to pay for it.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Thank you, Sub Repair. My sentiments exactly (except much better worded than I would have). This thread was getting a bit out of hand.

    BTW, a couple can NEVER afford children.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    To restate something I implied above, as planners, we shouldn't impose our belief system on others. Scales up to everyone in general, but that is the human condition overall.

    Our ideals don't play out in reality, we have to deal with and adapt to what exists on the ground. What exists on the ground is ~6.7B humans careening around everywhere, heedlessly consuming and exploiting what they can with only a small %age thinking ahead.

    We can't expect everyone to act the way we want them to, or for everyone to act in the interests of the general good.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by danthonyjr View post

    The OP notes that he worked on his portfolio and was prepared. Apparently not. If he was prepared, he wouldn't have been unemployed for seven months.
    To clarify, I started work on the portfolio in August 2007 and at the time I predicted it would take about 2 years of work to finish. I took the AICP exam and LEED-NC (New Construction) back to back, in November 2008 and June 2009 respectively. I wasn't planning on looking for work until AFTER I passed both exams and I would be more marketable. Well, I was laid off in May of 2009 inbetween the exams. I took the LEED-NC exam on June 30th and wrapped up work on the portfolio in mid-July THEN I started work on the job search. I accepted my offer here on November 2nd and started work on December 7th.

    Had I not started the portfolio in 2007, I would be playing serious catchup when I was laid off. I wanted the final product in Flash and taught myself Actionscript and programming, not to mention preparing all of the graphics for +75 projects in a web-friendly format.
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  21. #21
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CubbieBlue View post
    but everyone I know rides it out as long as they can and treats it like a 6 month vacation.
    If I was to become unemployed today, Arizona graciously pays a maximum of $250/week whether you are single or have 5 dependents. Unemployment insurance is pitiful here and even the single people can't treat unemployment as a 6 month vacation with those payouts.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    What a ...lively...discussion. My main comment is that, in contrast to many of us here in these forums (who use a computer, who even HAVE a computer, let alone internet access) many people in this country have much less education, specialized job skills and the bigger picture knowledge to effectively seek out a new job in short period of time.

    When I read CubbieBlue say "If you really want it the work is out there," I think "wow, really? so, 9.7 percent of the population is, what, just not looking hard enough? Were the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the last few years secretly recreated somewhere around the corner that I forgot to look?" These are VERY difficult times for a lot of people. I feel extremely thankful that I have a job, but I also know that, with my education and experience, my relative youth and, of course, good looks, that I will probably land on my feet again. I can't say the same for many others in my town. Maybe it is because I live in a poor state with a generally lower level of education than much of the nation, but I see folks with these backgrounds as the truly vulnerable among us. It will be much harder for these folks to find another job. Is it their fault? Of course not. I work in a neighborhood where 53 percent of the households earn less than $15,000 a year (2000 figures). Even saving 1 to 5 percent of their income is not going to sustain them for long.

    I think many people today don't have a very visceral sense of what the Depression was like for so many because we did not live it. But I think it provides a good barometer for just how bad things can get. My family walked away from their farm in Oklahoma and sought manual labor in Arizona and then California. My great grandmother got TB and died before they could reach Phoenix. The family split up and most never talked to one another again because of the distance (my grandfather totally lost touch with 5 of his 6 siblings - he stayed behind in OK because he got a scholarship to Texas Tech).

    These are the kinds of ruptures and crises things like unemployment benefits were designed to prevent. Is it possible that the system is being abused, or may require some fine tuning, adjustments and changes to help it achieve its primary purpose? Absolutely. Do I think that people who are unemployed for a year are lazy, not looking hard enough or somehow at fault for their situation? No. Sure, that may be the case for a select few, but I would guess that MOST people WANT to work, are actively looking, are responsible citizens, and should be supported.

    So much more to say on this, but work beckons...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  23. #23
         
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    To clarify, I started work on the portfolio in August 2007 and at the time I predicted it would take about 2 years of work to finish. I took the AICP exam and LEED-NC (New Construction) back to back, in November 2008 and June 2009 respectively. I wasn't planning on looking for work until AFTER I passed both exams and I would be more marketable. Well, I was laid off in May of 2009 inbetween the exams. I took the LEED-NC exam on June 30th and wrapped up work on the portfolio in mid-July THEN I started work on the job search. I accepted my offer here on November 2nd and started work on December 7th.

    Had I not started the portfolio in 2007, I would be playing serious catchup when I was laid off. I wanted the final product in Flash and taught myself Actionscript and programming, not to mention preparing all of the graphics for +75 projects in a web-friendly format.
    Point taken. Thanks for the clarification.

  24. #24
    Effectively, Nrschmid is planting his fists on his belt, puffing out his chest, and harrumphing "I did it--why can't others do it?"

    My 75-year-old Depression-era Great Uncle says the same thing, who still has Fairtax and W'04 bumper stickers on his car.

    People who are possibly gifted with a higher drive than others and who experienced some amount of fortunate circumstance, and who lack emotional intelligence, wonder the same thing: "Why don't they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps? I did it--why can't others do it?"

    It's tempting to look down on the world from the precipice of an impermeable public policy perspective, but in reality, we're talking about real people with real problems that are not your own. So what if unemployment payments puts a drain on society. You know what puts more of a drain on society? Having millions of people without a source of income. That in itself causes so many issues that ripple through generations, it's almost scary. This is not about survival of the fittest. It may be comforting to those who have succeeded to have a Social Darwinist outlook, thinking all their success comes from their own efforts, but it's just not true. And public policy itself will never be shaped that way, because we're not animals. We're humans with human compassion.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post

    It's tempting to look down on the world from the precipice of an impermeable public policy perspective, but in reality, we're talking about real people with real problems that are not your own. So what if unemployment payments puts a drain on society. You know what puts more of a drain on society? Having millions of people without a source of income. That in itself causes so many issues that ripple through generations, it's almost scary. This is not about survival of the fittest. It may be comforting to those who have succeeded to have a Social Darwinist outlook, thinking all their success comes from their own efforts, but it's just not true. And public policy itself will never be shaped that way, because we're not animals. We're humans with human compassion.
    If I can add just a bit to the excellent comment:
    It's tempting to look down on the world from the precipice of an impermeable public policy perspective, with apparently no kids or partner impinging upon your choices
    A measure of a society is how it cares for the weak and less fortunate - and also how it cares for the the official, lowball 9.7% unemployment figure, which is a well-known undercount and the real national rate is ~14-16% and many places are much higher.

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