Category Archives: #99ers

112th Congress – Now what?

Speaker of the House, John Boehner
Photo by: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

This week marks the beginning of the 112th congress. As of noon on Wednesday, January 5th, the House of Representatives is now a Republican majority and Rep. John Boehner was elected Speaker of the House.

Throughout the campaigning in the summer and fall, many promises were made by the GOP as to what they would do if the American voters would just give them another chance. The American voters not only gave them another chance but the GOP has the majority vote, at least in the House.

In a speech made from his hometown in Ohio on October 8, 2010, Rep. John Boehner vowed the GOP would get people back to work. He told those in the crowd, “This speech is about jobs, because this coming election is about jobs.”

Was it just the election? Since the election and their big win, not much discussion has been about jobs and the desperate need of the American people getting back to work.

A major goal of the GOP going into congress seems to be focused on repealing healthcare, which for those who deal with healthcare, need healthcare and/or have taken the time to understand Healthcare Reform know this is a big mistake. If the GOP wants to do anything with healthcare, work together and build on what is there to make it better, stronger.

Just today, the CBO – Congressional Budget Office has said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) repealing healthcare will add $230 billion to the deficit over the next decade and leave 32 million fewer people with insurance and raise cost for those covered by insurance. See the CBO Director’s detailed report on his blog here.

Millions of Americans are driven to bankruptcy each year due to not having health insurance or their health insurance carrier working against them through “loopholes” such as saying their condition was pre-existing or they had reached their lifetime payout amount so the insurance company is no longer required to cover anymore costs.

These are just two examples of “loopholes” insurance companies have used. There are plenty of stories of how insurance companies have basically ripped off their customers after years of paying premiums only to leave them without coverage when it was time to pay a claim.

Currently there are millions of Americans needing jobs. They need jobs and healthcare. This will help the American economy, American families and help get America back on track.

Why is the new congress coming in and trying to undo one of the greatest advancements that have been made over the past few decades instead of helping the American voters as they promised? Is it due to not having a plan on how to do what they have promised?

Help create jobs. Help promote hiring of jobless Americans.

Instead of working to repeal healthcare, work to make things better for those who elected you into office, the American voters in the towns across America.

Start with improving Washington and the ability of its elected officials being able to work together and get things done in an appropriate amount of time, appropriate in the eyes of the American people, the voters. Have press conferences about solutions and advancements, not about conflicts, broken promises and how the other party is unwilling to work with one another. Make it work.

Make America work by getting Americans back to work.

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Is the "American Dream" still possible?

Sure, there are those that have opportunity made available either by family means due to inheritance or acquaintances, people that have opportunities come to them because of their looks (i.e. models or actors that are just approached at some point) and of course those very rare occurrences of a lottery win or hitting the jackpot! Who doesn’t have that dream?

However, the belief has always been that if a person had set goals, studied and worked hard they could accomplish the “American Dream.” Many people have grown up and done just that and have lived to tell their own version of the “American Dream” and many people have come to the United States from every other country for that reason and have accomplished their dreams as well.

Although the dream may be different for each individual, basically the idea was being able to get an education, find a career, buy a home, have a family and work toward a decent retirement at an age a person could still enjoy a retirement.

Between a retirement plan at a person’s job and social security, a person could plan on retiring as long as they had worked along the lines of saving towards their goals. The “American Dream” seemed to be within reach more and more through the years. Even when times were hard through the 80’s and 90’s, people continued to work hard and focus on what lied ahead because that is what they had been taught to do and it still seemed promising, enough.

 

As the younger generations have been raised, their parents have brought them up with the understanding to get an education, work hard at your job, set money aside and you can plan toward retirement. The question of whether social security would be around for retirement for the younger generation was causing concern so people were leaning more toward investments and attaining a higher level of education to move along further in a career. “Hard work pays off”, was said to be the key to success.

 

However, is this something to plan on? How solid is long-term planning? How solid are a person’s investments? Is the “American Dream” something to even strive for anymore? Is it possible?

 

Not to sound pessimistic, but here are some recent lessons learned.

 

Many companies let their long term employees go along with their benefits and pension plans. Financially, it saves more to keep those employees with lesser benefits and lower pay doing the same job.

A big investment for an individual or family is their home. However, if that investment suddenly depreciates at the same time a person has their hours cut at their job or loses their job and they find themselves unable to pay the mortgage, that investment is suddenly the hook, line and sinker that leads them to bankruptcy. The home that was once a part of their “American Dream” is suddenly a part of a terrible nightmare.

 

Unemployment or even being cut back to part-time from full time can take a person’s health benefits or for an employer trying to keep their employees but still cut back cost, an employer might just cut healthcare across the board. Health care cost for people without insurance causes more bankruptcies than most anything else. Bankruptcy can take everything away from a person they have worked so hard to attain. That definitely isn’t part of the “American Dream” and having this happen to a person isn’t something anyone would plan on.

Many people that have been planning for retirement, saving for retirement or putting aside for that “rainy day”, have either ended up having to use that money to replace lost income, increased bills due to possible loss of benefits, or possibly helping out friends or family that are facing financial crisis. It is a good chance that everyone knows someone facing a financial crisis due to the recent recession. The economy is still in a crisis and so are families, small business and therefore America.

The “American Dream” to those that have lost a job and cannot find work is simply to hear, “you’re hired”. Ask the 99ers. These are people that have been without work 99 weeks or more. To have a group, a large group of people that have formed a name and been on several news networks now because they have not been able to acquire work for that long shows how bad the job market still is.
For those that have been able to keep their job and benefits, the concern lingers about how steady their employment is and how steady the economy is.

For those still owning their home, the concern lies with how steady the housing market is, home values, property taxes and what will happen with homeowners insurance. What is around the corner?
People are concerned, very concerned. Voters are concerned about the choices in Washington D.C. and what the consequences of those choices will be. What will be the long term effects of today’s decisions and the lack of decisions? Who are the politicians looking out for, really?
 What is today’s “American Dream”?

 

Help for America Pt.2 – Where are the jobs?

In 2008 alone, at least 2.6 million jobs were lost, the highest level in more than six decades. In January 2009, Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute said, “We’re seeing a complete unraveling of the labor market and are on track for getting beyond 10% unemployment.” That was a little over 18 months ago and unemployment has continued to soar.

CNN wrote an article, “Looking for work? Unemployed need not apply” This article was talking about companies that may be putting unemployed applicants aside feeling they may have been laid off due to performance issues.

Getting a job is extremely tough and having the fact of being unemployed held against an applicant is a crucial downfall. Possibly unknown to some employers and applicants is the HIRE Act which was signed March 18, 2010 and includes incentives for businesses to hire applicants that have been without work.

A petition is posted for people to sign and be heard that companies not wanting to hire the unemployed is just not right. Visit the Care2petition Site to sign.

On the well known social media website Twitter, a hashtag #99ers has been appearing next to tweets about unemployment and people looking for work.

Who are the 99ers? According to an article put out by AOL News, the “99ers” is a term for the group of unemployed workers who have been out of work for over 99 weeks and thus are no longer able to receive unemployment benefits.

Unemployment benefits and extensions are heard about on the news as they go to the senate to pass, expire or get pushed aside for a later date to vote on. Many people feel differently about unemployment benefits and the need for these extensions.

The unemployed want their jobs back and the ability to receive a paycheck, benefits and take care of their responsibilities and families. Many have lost what they worked years to gain. Across America the outcome of this has been seen in the alarming rates of foreclosures, bankruptcies and overall the continuing downfall in the economy. However, many employers are looking to put out the least amount of funds possible making the hiring process difficult for both the applicant and the employer.

Numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say there are currently 14,600,000 unemployed with 6,800,000 being long term unemployed.

To get jobs back, a lot of small businesses need to be able to build up their capital but also their confidence in the future of the economy and hire the unemployed. Larger corporations need to reach out and hire as well. By putting people back to work, more money goes into the economy and the cycle can begin to fix itself.

As people are able to go back to sufficient jobs, unemployment becomes less necessary for more people. The economy can grow, businesses grow, new businesses can open and therefore more hiring can occur. But, to see America’s economy grow and the deficit decrease, the businesses and employees that need to be supported have to be here in America.

It’s not just about today or next week. It’s not just about numbers, policies, or parties. It’s not about who is getting elected or even who says what in their campaigns when it comes to this. This is about Americans supporting America. Supporting it now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now and continuing to do so from one generation to the next. Helping America to grow and strive, to move forward as the great Nation it is.