If all of the Senate members had exhausted their unemployment compensation extensions; if all of them had applied for jobs at least 100 places with no success; if some of their family members were in the same predicament, I believe that there would be a unanimous “yea” for extending unemployment benefits for a little longer.
Although the deep recession did not plummet into a depression, we have millions of people who are jobless nationwide. Their existence is tenuous. They are worried about their day-to-day existence. The future is not bright and many of them lack the necessary skills to move quickly on to a job with benefits. These unemployed people have children to feed, bills to pay, and many of them have some assistance from the government, but not enough. Families have moved in with families. It is not rare to see in-laws reconnect in order to house and feed those who are having hard times. The four million people who drew unemployment compensation has dwindled to almost half of that number, and more will be cut off by the end of the year. It is a devastating blow for them.
Yes, some contend that these benefits have made the victims less aspiring, but you must remember, every one of them was working prior to receiving these benefits which shows that these people were engaged in some form of labor or career. It seems to me to suggest that they simply want “handouts” is most cruel. Only God can read their hearts. The majority of them want to be self-sufficient, I firmly believe. It’s just that if there are no jobs, they cannot work. Not only natural catastrophes have been some of their lots, but illness, and mental stress, too, have contributed to their depression. Depression alone can wipe out any desire to move forward. However, whenever I go down to the unemployment office, it is full of people sitting at computers seeking employment. They do this day after day in hopes that something will come through for them. Temporary employment agencies do yield part-time opportunities for some of them, but these are short lived, usually less than 90 days, and so the round of seeking begins over again.
I feel that the Senate has an obligation to help sustain this depressed working class until the overall economy improves. We all want a heads up for the economy, but the reality is that we are seeing a roller coaster ride-for a while up, and then down. We can look at the daily stock market reports and see that all is not even healed on Wall Street. So what can we expect on Main Street? The government has tried to generate jobs through the Stimulus Package, and many families have benefited from these programs, especially the construction workers who are repairing roads, bridges and streets. Others who are benefiting are the youth who are able to be employed through the Summer Youth Initiative Program. Money sources are often hard to find, and even Non-Profit organizations are finding themselves being set back due to a shortage in grant money which previously was somewhat plentiful. Food pantries have felt the pinch and many local charities have exhausted their resources.
The times in which we live demand that the government help its citizens get through these tough times. A little more unemployment extension funding will not hurt the senators. Instead it will help families, children, the working class who can’t find a job, and the economy at large. It will help those who need retraining and education to have something to work with. I do think that job retraining programs should be offered in conjunction with the unemployment extensions. The two programs will work together to upgrade many and provide hope for a better future.
The backlash of not extending unemployment compensation will be seen in crime rising, desperation, more illegal activity which many will resort to in order to procure money. There will be an increase of contempt and hatred towards those that have. The haves will become the prey of the have-nots. This attitude does not lend toward a homogenous society, but is destructive. Already on my street I have evidenced people posting For Sale signs up in the front of their houses. They are selling for various reasons, however, there are no takers. One of them who had their sign up for a year and a half, finally took it down. Banks just don’t seem to be friendly lenders anymore, and the unemployed certainly can’t buy a thing. We will see more families facing foreclosures. Many will move to places where they can find work, and cities will become hotter beds of vice and crime. Worse ever, will be the despair which, like a cloud, will overshadow those who can’t find work.
If the Senate members would be so gracious as to pass an extension for unemployment at least until we can get a better footing on locating jobs for our masses, it would certainly be appreciated. We are our brothers’ keepers.
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