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mesaSteeler
05-24-2010, 09:12 PM
http://www.nypost.com/f/print/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/jopocalypse_now_aBqypUvJHV3CkbUHj454KK
Jobpocalypse now

By CATHERINE CURAN

Last Updated: 9:34 AM, May 23, 2010

Posted: 1:30 AM, May 23, 2010

This week, the Senate is expected to extend jobless benefits to more than 5 million Americans through the end of the year. It is the sixth time in nearly two years that they’ve expanded or extended unemployment benefits — putting off, again, a day of reckoning our political leaders seem unwilling to face.

With the national unemployment rate at 9.9% — and 9.8% here in New York City — officials are afraid of what will happen to our cities, our welfare rolls and our struggling economy if these long-term unemployed are no longer given government assistance.

But we pay for this feint in other ways. The government shelled out $140 billion in unemployment benefits last year to an estimated 21 million people. That price tag is likely to increase this year.

This is no ordinary jobs crisis. Compared to other eras, our long-term unemployment numbers are staggering.

Back in the grimmest days of the 1980s recession, the share of those out of work for six months or more never rose above 26%. Today it stands at nearly half the roughly 10 million Americans seeking jobless benefits. In New York City, more than 145,000 are long-term unemployed.

And economists say this extend-and-pretend policy may be exacerbating the employment problem. Much like housing programs that have kept people in homes they couldn’t afford — and kept payments flowing to banks — when renting might have been a sounder financial choice, the current long-term handouts don’t address the larger economic issues. They don’t give people enough money to increase consumer spending, and do nothing to put people back to work in high-paying jobs.

The “stimulus” has benefited primarily public workers, with state governments using the money to shore up things like education spending.

Gail Corrado typifies the quiet victim of what many economists fear is the Great Recession’s permanent destruction of the American dream for millions. Corrado, 55, is a college grad with an 800 credit score and a successful career in interior design. She had bought and sold two homes before purchasing a 740-square foot condo in 2007 in northern New Jersey. That was no McMansion, and she got a prime mortgage and put 20% down.

Then the recession hit. First, Corrado’s employer cut her hours in 2008, and she began dipping into her savings to make her mortgage payments. Her lender, Chase, refused her requests for a modification to her mortgage. (A spokesman for JPMorgan Chase said the bank encourages Corrado to reapply under HAMP guidelines now in place for the unemployed, and said that the bank will work with her to review other options if she does not qualify.)

Her savings depleted, Corrado was laid off in 2009. Unemployment benefits are helping her get by, but only barely. Even with the COBRA subsidy offered by the government, she cannot afford health insurance, so she goes without. She has given up everything nonessential, from haircuts to Christmas gifts, and skimped on food to make ends meet.

Corrado doesn’t want a handout from the government — she wants to get back to work. Every day, she sends out at least five resumes, and she has been learning new computer design skills. But she’s facing a job market biased against older workers with greater earning power, and competition from five other candidates for every position.

“There are no decent jobs,” she says.

Corrado and others like her have managed to stave off the wolf at the door by cutting back expenses and drawing down savings. But a crisis is looming, as a new economic underclass runs out of personal resources, can’t find work and becomes completely reliant on assistance.

If that assistance fails, the vast and growing ranks of the long-term unemployed will suffer a constellation of hardships. They’ve already seen their standard of living slide as they’ve made obvious budget cuts like vacations and meals out. Loss of a home, hunger, and debt are the next phase of this struggle, economists said.

A new survey by Rutgers University of the long-term unemployed gives a snapshot of their struggles and a preview of what’s in store for those who cannot find work as the recession drags on. Forty percent or more have no health benefits, have gone without medical care, have racked up higher credit card debt, and have sold possessions to survive. One quarter have missed credit card or mortgage payments.

“This is equivalent to the Great Depression in terms of how many people are affected, how much they have to do [to cope] and how much longer it’s going to go on,” said Cliff Zukin, senior fellow at Rutgers John H. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and co-author of the study.

If, as expected, Congress passes another extension, Corrado and others on long-term unemployment assistance will have some cushion through the end of the year.

But the larger backdrop of millions thrown out of work, and the scarcity of new jobs still needs to be addressed before American consumers can kick-start the economy again. More than 8 million jobs have been lost in this recession, yet only 290,000 jobs were created in April. At that rate, it will take 27 months to make up the loss.

“At this moment in the economy, the question is about demand,” says Heather Boushay, senior economist at the Center for American Progress. “Corporate profits are up, but we are not seeing an increase in consumer demand.”

Reporting assistance by ProPublica.

WH
05-25-2010, 03:53 AM
They can't grow the job market because there is nothing to grow it on. There aren\t enough low-skill jobs to fill the low-skill job demand. All of those jobs disapeared while large corporations were remaining competitive.

Godfather
05-25-2010, 10:36 AM
They can't grow the job market because there is nothing to grow it on. There aren\t enough low-skill jobs to fill the low-skill job demand. All of those jobs disapeared while large corporations were remaining competitive.

It's not just low-skill jobs though. We have large-scale problems in the economy.

Wallace108
05-25-2010, 10:41 AM
Don't worry ... the green jobs are coming!! The green jobs are coming!! I'm not sure what a green job is, but I've been told over and over again that they're coming. :noidea:

revefsreleets
05-25-2010, 10:47 AM
There are some things out-of-kilter right now for sure...with the Chinese renmimbi being kept artificially deflated, and the drop in the value of the Euro, the dollar will be artificially OVERvalued, which will hit US manufacturing looking to bolster exports harder.

revefsreleets
05-25-2010, 10:49 AM
Don't worry ... the green jobs are coming!! The green jobs are coming!! I'm not sure what a green job is, but I've been told over and over again that they're coming. :noidea:

They will be SO heavily subsidized by the government, it might actually just end up better to give unemployed people an extra $500 a month.

Wallace108
05-25-2010, 10:51 AM
They will be SO heavily subsidized by the government, it might actually just end up better to give unemployed people an extra $500 a month.

Funny you should say that ...

By Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS — Ohio families relying on cash assistance will get an extra $100 in their June welfare checks.

Gov. Ted Strickland ordered the one-time payment to each of the 103,000 families now relying on the safety net program to meet their basic needs.

“Ohio is committed to ensuring the improved well-being of families and children in these trying times,” Strickland wrote in an executive order last week to authorize the payments.

With the state unemployment rate at 10.9 percent, the governor noted that the challenges facing families are great, particularly as many begin to exhaust their jobless benefits.

The state is using $8.4 million in federal stimulus money and $2 million in state funds to cover the payments. Federal regulations require states to provide a 20 percent match. The state funds will come from money budgeted but not spent by the Department of Job and Family Services, which oversees Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and other assistance programs, said Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst.

Advocates for the poor have long sought additional help for Ohio’s poorest families.

“We see the need every day,” said Philip E. Cole, executive director of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, in a release.

“These families exist on such slim margins; this really will make a difference to them.”

Families eligible for cash assistance have incomes about half of the federal poverty level — $9,155 a year for a family of three — and get about $434 a month in benefits.

The last increase the families received was a cost-of-living adjustment on Jan. 1, 2009.

revefsreleets
05-25-2010, 10:58 AM
A new Gucci wallet for all! And, hooray for me! I get to help pay for it!

Wallace108
05-25-2010, 11:08 AM
I find it disheartening that the same week I find out I'm going to have to take a pay cut, I also find out that welfare recipients are getting a raise. I'm not bitter or anything ...:banging:

And $8.4 million is coming from federal stimulus money. I can't wait to see all the jobs it creates. I'll be waiting .... still waiting ....

WH
05-25-2010, 11:54 AM
It's not just low-skill jobs though. We have large-scale problems in the economy.

Right but it all starts with the ''grunts''

Wallace108
05-25-2010, 12:04 PM
The problem isn't so much with the low-paying jobs or the high-paying jobs. They're still here. The problem is we've lost most of our middle-paying jobs ... mostly in manufacturing.

Low-paying jobs are supposed to be transition jobs for younger workers or those wanting a second income. It's hard to support a family with a low-paying job. And not everyone has the abilities or resources to obtain a high-paying job. Not everyone can be a doctor, lawyer or software developer.

Manufacturing jobs offered those with relatively low skills the ability to learn skills and make decent money. Our economy can't thrive until we get those jobs back. Any improvement will only be temporary.

Godfather
05-25-2010, 12:28 PM
Best jobs stimulus we could do right now is start a Manhattan Project to insulate our electrical grid and communications systems against an EMP attack.

If I remember correctly, an EMP set off 400 miles above Kansas would wipe out the all the electricity and communications in the continental US. But Iran and North Korea are a long way from having that capability. We should start working now and that way, when they get to that point we don't have to try to detect a missile and shoot it out of the air.

We can start along the perimeter of the country and work our way in to the center.

fansince'76
05-25-2010, 12:58 PM
I find it disheartening that the same week I find out I'm going to have to take a pay cut, I also find out that welfare recipients are getting a raise. I'm not bitter or anything ...:banging:.

But, but, but, the recession is over! :jerkit:

On a serious note, very sorry to hear that. That really sucks.

Wallace108
05-25-2010, 01:36 PM
On a serious note, very sorry to hear that. That really sucks.

Thanks .... and short of a new job, the only thing that will make me feel better is another Super Bowl. Do you hear me, Tomlin? :wave: