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hard hearted?

July 20th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Yesterday president Obama gave a speech about wanting congress to pass more unemployment benefits - going from 99 weeks to 126 weeks. He had 3 unemployed people behind him who would lose their benefits otherwise. One of them gave an interview saying basically "Of course we should extend the unemployment benefits. If your brother or sister needs money you should just give it to them and not worry about getting it paid back."

What if you don't have the money? Are you suppose to borrow it and then figure out how to pay it back in the future? Are you supposed to loan the money and then tell your kids they have to pay it back for you? At what point is it your responsibility to take care of your life? 99 weeks seems like plenty of time for someone to find some kind of work. It may not be what you were doing before or at the wages you want, but I'd think you could find something.

I have no problems with people collecting unemployment that they've paid for - the first 6 months. I have reservations on how effective the tax money is being spent after that. I know things are bad, but wouldn't people take $10 and $12 hour jobs if they knew their unemployment was running out? They would bring in the same amount as their unemployment checks only the tax payers wouldn't be paying for it, with money we don't have as a country. Would people move from high unemployment states if they knew their unemployment was done? There are a lot of part time jobs around here - not great I agree, but isn't that better than the taxpayers picking up the bill?

Lately it seems like the government is supposed to provide everything to everyone and I'm not sure it's good for the national character to think in those terms - government will provide. We fix bad mortgages, we give people money to buy new cars, houses and appliances. We provide money when they don't have a job. We provide more government jobs than any other kind in the country. We let people walk away from bad debt in the thousands of dollars. There are no more consequences for making bad decisions. Buy more than you can afford - no problem the government will fix it, by letting you renegotiate. Get thousands in school loans for a degree where there are no jobs that pay enough to repay those loans? No problem - work for the government and we'll forgive those loans.

I'm all for helping people when they're down. I'm just not sure government is the best way to do that and I think the way government does it is warping our characters. I think we need to work more on providing for ourselves in bad times, by having some savings, by not buying more than we can afford when things get bad, by contributing to local charities to help those around us who are having a temporary tough time. I think better ways for government to help people instead of giving them money when bad things happen in their lives is to put money into programs to help people make better decisions in their live. Like personal finance education in the schools. Like loans to small businesses. Like job retraining when whole industries die. Assistance with finding jobs in other states when unemployment is bad in one state.

But let's not make it perputual by financing tough times so that it makes more sense to wait while unemployed for the perfect job to come along. My brother did this 8 years ago and he's now a bum. After my dad closed the shop, my brother had a job lined up to work with someone else. But he decided to take a couple weeks vacation first. The wait stretched out for a few months and finally the job wasn't there anymore. He lived on his savings and odd and end remodeling jobs for the next 2 years. After that he lived on credit cards for 2 years. Now he has $26,000 in credit card debt and has been living off my parents for 4 - 5 years. He couldn't get a job if he wanted one. Over the years he turned down several $10 - $12 hour jobs, because they wouldn't cover all his bills. He can't see that some money is better than no money and if one job doesn't do it, get 2. Just do something to stop the hemoraghing and get a better job later.

Anyways this was a bit rambling but is it really so hard-hearted to say to people 2 years of unemployment paid for by the american people is enough? Especially when we don't have the money. America used to be a rich land, but now it's a broke land and we need to get the finances in order before lending helping hands. It's like what they tell you in the airplane. Put your own oxygen mask on first or you won't be able to help anyone else. America needs to put it's own finances in order first before it can keep pouring money into a broken system. My mom says she feels sorry for the people on unemployment. I do too, I feel bad for them and try to help by donating locally but there has to be a line at some point where the government says enough is enough. We can't keep giving you money for being unemployed. Where is that line? 2 years, 3 years, 5 years?

I finished reading my book Men Of Danger. Mystery short stories. Ok, the best story was by Lora Leigh, the others were just ok.

10 Responses to “hard hearted?”

  1. Homebody Says:

    Well my own anectodal experience is that you are correct in some instances.

  2. Miz Pat Says:

    This must be an agonizing decision for anyone to make. I'm sure there are people who would rather be taken care of and just complain. I'm also sure there are desperate people out there with no clue on how to take care of themselves.

    I know if I were unemployed, I'd be looking for another job right away and I would be willing to take anything, just to keep some money coming in.

    Perhaps the situation is worse than I can imagine and there are just no jobs of any type in some areas.

    The fact that this has become such a big issue is scary.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    I agree with your entire blog!

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    I agree.

    One thing about unemployment, is that it is non-need-based. I was shocked with how much unemployment my dh got when he got laid off from his last job. It was in a down economy and we didn't apply for extension because he decided to stay home, though baby wasn't due for another few months. Everyone thought we were crazy not to lie and say he was looking for work, to extend the benefits for longer. Rolleyes

    I don't mind helping the needy. What I mostly see is people who don't need it, or abuse the system, though. Most of my very small employers are fighting fraudulent claims from people who quit, right now. They all tell me, "That person has no intention of getting another job - they want a free ride."

  5. Looking Forward Says:

    I agree with a lot of what you're saying.
    The government is expected to provide for everything - except health care! It's crazy. I'd rather good health care for little money than unemployment for two years (among other things).

  6. Single Guy Says:

    I certainly don't blame you for your opinion. When I was unemployed there was only a minor extension given (13 weeks) and I made the money last for 15 months of unemployment by working part time jobs and teaching seminars when I could get the work. Not sure what I would have done if I didn't get the job I did get, but I wouldn't have blamed the government (and this was during a mini recession of 2002-2003). There was no blowing money by me on cable, cell phones, or the other junk that "poor people" seem to require. If I had needed to move for a job, I would have (and I did interview for some work out of my area too - some that required work overseas).

    I know its pie in the sky (and some might say way over the top), but I would say any benefits beyond a certain point (say 52 weeks) comes with serious strings attached: no cable, minimal cell phone plan, minimal internet access, a fraction (third?) of the beneifts would be available via a debit type card that could used for only certain healthy foods, no auto worth more than $XXX (you got a fancy car? - sell it and get something reasonable and use the excess money for your bills), no private schools for the kids (unless the schools let your kids go for free), and I'm sure I could come up with more. People that don't want to go along with the above - no problem - they don't get benefits.

    Reading the above I think its safe to say I can forget a career in politics Smile

  7. baselle Says:

    I've been on unemployment - it was not fun by any means. You had to show 3 job contacts/wk and they had to be reasonable ones, and at the 3month stage you were pushed to apply for anything. Which in my case I wanted anything because I was soooo freakin' bored I would have bit at. You can only clean the house so many times.

    I remember a year ago when NPR had a story about a couple of 20-somethings talking about FUN-employment, etc. UE is not so much fun now - miscalculations all around because people thought "it'll only be for a x# of weeks".

    Isn't it the case that human character is like a teabag - it comes out when it is when steeped in hot water. Some people use UE as a spur to train and do something else; some people used UE as a backup for part time/survival work; some people use UE as welfare by other means.

    My fear is that where UE goes, SS is not far behind.

  8. SavingBucks Says:

    I also agree with you. I have seen articles in my local paper (southern CA) where an individual who was in "management" did not want to take jobs he considered "beneath him" because they did not pay in the 6 figures. He was living off CC cards and UE in a motel but his mercedes and other valuables were in storage. He just couldn't part with them. He finally got some type of manager job - took it for the $$ but it was not in a field that he was used to. I am all for a hand up to help those in need but many do not want to sacrifice (sense of entitlement).

  9. terri77 Says:

    Interesting blog. We have a lot of hard questions to ask ourselves as a country. Even as a saver I do understand that you sometimes have to spend money to make money, but I worry about our financial future. It just seems that people don't want to make the hard choice and sacrifices that our parents and grandparents did. We're trying to finance one of the longest wars in our nation's history on one of the lowest tax rates in history all during this great recession. Just doesn't seem to add up.

  10. Ed Says:

    I'm 56 years old and lost my job several months ago. I'm collecting unemployment insurance and have absolutely no qualms about it. Sorry, but I have no intention of taking some part time job. I've worked since I was 14 and paid a LOT of money in taxes over the years. It's about time Uncle Sam did something for me.

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