Saturday, August 28, 2010

HR 6091 Tier 5 Bill for the 99ers - does not pass the Laugh Test

HR 6091 Tier 5 Bill for the 99ers - does not pass the laugh test. Then again, millions of unemployed Americans without UI payments going on 8 months (with no jobs in sight) is no laughing matter.

Earlier this month, Rep. Jim McDermott cosponsored legislation to create a 5th tier of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in states with high unemployment. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and would add an additional 20 weeks of benefits for states with unemployment rates of 10 percent or higher.

“Right now, there are more long-term jobless Americans than we’ve ever had on record, and we can’t just let them all fall off a cliff,” Rep. McDermott said. “I don’t believe how we can cut and run from helping unemployed workers when there are five of them competing for every available job. You only have to hear from a few unemployed workers to know how hard they are looking for work and to feel their sheer sense of desperation. Are we really prepared to just stand by and watch them sink into abject poverty?”

The economy would have to create nearly 10 million new jobs to return to its pre-recession level, which would take about five years of consistent, month-after-month job growth. While the country has seen job growth in every month this year, the unemployment rate remains at almost 10 percent, and many economists predict that it will remain high for the foreseeable future. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office projects the unemployment rate to average 9.5% next year.

“The Bush administration and Congressional Republicans presided over the implosion of the housing market and world economic collapse, and handed us the worst economy in 70 years,” opined Rep. McDermott. “Ending assistance to the long-term unemployed will reduce consumer demand right at the point when the economy is struggling to get back on its feet. It will surely increase the number of homes going into foreclosure. And it will drive some individuals permanently out of the labor force. All of these outcomes will increase our nation’s budget deficit. But even worse, they will bring about a crippling deficit of hope for the future.”

With Stabenow's bill S. 3706, the Berkely bill's best use would be as a Tier 6 in addition to the Tier 5 legislation proposed by Stabenow. The 10% unemployment rate in the Berkely/McDermott bill would only cover 16 states plus the District of Columbia. That is completely insane, and not what America needs now.

What needs to happen to the Americans Want to Work Act is that it must be extended to cover all states (as written now it excludes 16 states from the 20 week extension). Then we need to add the Berkely - McDermott bill on top of that to give the states who are hurting the worst extra weeks, much like the Tiers 3 & 4 did last fall. This would make far more sense than the Berkely/McDermott bill alone. Only the 10% UI threshold seems way too high to be of real service to millions of hurting Americans.

Hopefully, while in the midst of the latest Tier of UI benefits, Congress can pass a real effective Get America Working Again bill, much the scale and scope that Roosevelt did in 1939. These are serious times indeed and we all really want to earn our own living, rather than to lobby heartless legislators every few months while the jobs creep back, a few thousand at a time.

Exactly who do the House members who introducing HR 6091 think the 99ers are? Most 99ers understand that Republicans taking the majority in the House and/or the Senate is a very bad idea. Ms Berkely blew her chance to help the 99ers weeks ago and chose not to take on "too hard of a fight", when there was still time to fight hard for legislation that would help the 99er Nation. She did not step up for millions of 99ers and they likely will not help her keep her seat in November. In fact, the smart money says 99ers will be working feverishly to oust her from Congress. This bill is nothing but another ploy to make it look like lawmakers are doing something to help America, while all they really are doing is trying to do is save their seats in November.

Instead of helping the 99er Nation, by introducing this legislation, it may well cost all 99ers more valuable time. Time they do not have. What part of unemployment being a national emergency do they not understand?

Let's say that the Senate passes the Stabenow bill, then sends it to the House. Will the House waste more precious weeks of 99er time trying to reconcile the McDermott/Berkely bill with S 3706? No thank you. We saw that on March 10, 2010, HR 4213 passed the Senate. The House did not act with any sense of urgency with their attempts to reconcile that bill with their own, waiting until the end of May to pass their version. This is not the time to squander more lives of 99er families by wasting precious time.

To date, most 99ers are struggling through their 8th month with no benefits. We all know the jobs are not out there, so what exactly are the long term unemployed to do? If you really care about the longest term unemployed in America and not just grandstanding, then either redo HR 6091 so that it can be a Tier 6 on top of the Stabenow Tier 5 or simply kill that bill.

In short, HR 6091 Tier 5 Bill for the 99ers - does not pass the Laugh Test. Only, there is nothing funny about millions of Americans forced into abject poverty, from which many may never again escape.


  1. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Thank you, Paladinette, for your excellent ideas. I love the cartoon that is included with this article. It really annoys me that those in Congress are set for life when so many of us are in dire straits.

    Debbie Stabenow's Americans Want to Work Act is very well thought out and would give businesses incentive to hire 99er's and others on their way to becoming amongst the destitute.

    I still think that it is in the best interest of 99er's to vote for Democrats in the upcoming election, even though I am disappointed in what they have not done for the 99er's so far.

    Maybe with the considerable number of senior voters worried about their Social Security benefits being gambled away on Wall Street or the benefits ceasing altogether, plus the 99er's, plus the unemployed union workers votes will help to deter Republicans from having a majority in Congress in November.

    I keep wondering when utter chaos will break out from the anger of the destitute.

  2. Wow my first comment. I am so honored! Thank you! I too feel it is imperative that we keep the Republicans from seizing power this fall and will be working hard to see that never happens.

  3. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Yes, we have to get out and vote. The Tea Party has absolutely no tolerance for Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and Gays. If we could unite, we can defeat them.

  4. Anonymous9:14 PM

    Thanks for the report, I'm a 99ers whose benefits ran out about three months ago. I've called Pete Stark on the House Appropriation Comm. My rep. Barbars Lee, and Sen. Feinstein and ask them to support the U.I. bill. I certainly am holding on by a string. My chances of bouncing back into a productive member of society will be greatly improved if I don't have to uproot myself to a shelter or the graces of a friend or family somewhere.

  5. Anonymous7:43 AM

    Most 99ers are going on 2 and 3 years without being able to find employment... Not just 8 months.

  6. Anonymous8:27 AM

    I am an unemployed union worker and my question is this. If i worked straight through for 8 years at my job. and my employer paid roughly 300 bucks per week for unemployment requierments
    where did all that money go thats about 15000 dollars per year multiply that times my 8 years of consistant work thats 120 thousand dollars paid in minus the 30000 from my two years of unemployment, seriously i want to work i dont want to get paid every to weeks by the goverment. In my situation ill take whatever i can because i already lost everything im just trying to stay alive and healthy(you can get link benefits for food so you can get hypertension but you cant use it to buy vitamins so you can stay healthy) If you ever seen oceans 11 after they rob the casino, the guy that was knocked out from the flash bang wakes up and he"s like "I dont understand what happend to all that money" Thats what we should be asking our goverment leaders what happend to all tht money?

  7. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Create JOBS or accept tier 5.

  8. Anonymous1:09 AM

    Well, maybe I could move overseas to where my job moved overseas. You know, follow the job?

  9. Anonymous10:38 AM




  10. Chrisy. That you have had your job for 27 years is a blessing. Don't mess it up by putting down those who are less fortunate.

  11. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Chrisy up dumb bitch. I've seen your dumb comments on other blogs. Wasn't funny there, and it's not funny here. Get lost. Our stories are real.

  12. Anonymous3:00 PM

    Hard to take Chrisy seriously when Chrisy does not seem to know how to spell. Amazing to think that Chrisy is a registered nurse and yet so ignorant.

  13. Thank you and God Bless you and Yours, Paladinette. There are soooo many of us who are trying still and yet see life ebbing away in so many areas! I still believe that the US should help "its own" first ...

  14. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Great article,tier 5 is a must pass issue and a tier 6 will certainly be needed.

    People can help by contacting their various representatives, the contact links for both the Senate and the House are below.

    Also they all have a Facebook these days.

  15. My name is Sandra Sullivan. I am an Independent Candidate for Congress. I am running for US House Representative District 9 in Tennessee(Memphis and Collierville). I am all for Tier 5 Benefits.

  16. Anonymous6:50 AM

    It is very sad that so many people who are employed are very ignorant about what is happening in this country and really do not understand that the people who have been hit by this recession and have lost their job are not lazy. We want to work and are doing everything we can to find something...anything...

  17. Anonymous4:22 PM

    I've been unemployed for over 3 years now. I send out at least 5 resumes a week and go in person to fill out applications frequently. I haven't collected UI for months now and my savings have run out. I have no family left and only a few friends, none of whom have the money to spare to help me. State services are apparently closed to anyone who isn't a female with dependent children. So it's likely that I'll be joining the ranks of the homeless soon. After 30 years as a hard-working and honest member of society I don't understand this. How can we NOT have a safety net to help people? My standards aren't especially high in regards to jobs and I've applied for positions at places like bed Bath and Beyond and Staples. I'm willing to work anywhere. No one wants to hire me. I never thought my productive life would end so early. I'm not even 50 yet and I've been cast aside like garbage. I don't understand this at all.

  18. Anonymous10:53 AM

    People that have jobs and have had jobs all a long have no idea what we are talking about or care. their world is the same so why shouldn't the rest of the world be as they are. It just doesn't work that way. I'm glad someone makes so much as Chrisy. Frankly I don't think most have ever earned that much an hour. If they pay healthcare employees like that no wonder healthcare is through the roof. Thanks so much for the update on what people get paid. Thing is we are not lazy

  19. Anonymous8:09 PM

    and are a liar too once you get in there, if you do, it will be the same crap as the other guy.....I will be the change you need.......go suck an egg

  20. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Chrisy i think you are one of the lucky ones i hope you don't end up like most of us who was laid off because the companies couldn't do better you might end up on the unemployment line the have people who worked longer than you and is unemployed good luck and continue doing what you are doing. Cut on congress big checks reduce there personal spending power and let them see how the unemployed, families with children feel

  21. Anonymous6:27 AM

    I have been unemployed for over 2 years now and have lost everything, I am now homeless, in transitional housing provided by the VA, no job in site, my job was out sourced over sea's... is this really America?