How many weeks of unemployment checks are too much?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by beezel26, Dec 4, 2010.

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  1. beezel26 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 7
    Or is it not enough if you can't or maybe won't find a job. I find it hard to believe that people with unemployment checks at 99 weeks can't find some sort of job. Maybe not the one they were working with before but something.

    At this point I believe at 99 weeks or more you are never getting your old job back. Employers look at you as if you are either no longer qualified or just plain lazy. Sorry but at least while working for say walmart or some other low paying job you got some sort of dignity to go along with the application.

    I mean are we really doing them a favor by keeping them on unemployment. Its worse then welfare. at least with a low paying job you and your family can qualify for food stamps and medicare and other forms of govt help. The kind of help that isn't that undignified. I got unemployment for a while. I couldn't be on it for that long because frankly it was alot less dignified then medicare.

    are these people just to proud to do anything?
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I don't think so. The standard unemployment numbers already aren't counting discouraged workers. If you look at the U 6 unemployment number

    U6 is the broadest measure of unemployment in the civilian labor force in the U.S. economy and includes those who need work but have given up the search, and those who have taken part-time jobs while still seeking full time employment.

    it's well over 17%. I have no doubt that unemployment compensation provides something of a disincentive to work, but I think you'll find that in an economy like this, even people looking diligently are taking 6-9 months to find a job and settling for part time/underemployment when they have to.

    The economy as a whole is going to be in a world of hurt as more and more people have their unemployment benefits expire. More foreclosures, more credit card defaults, less consumer spending. And all that leads to higher unemployment.

    Ideally, there would be a lot more money available for skills retraining. Or, even better, Obama could have launched a giant alternative energy jobs program. I wish we'd spent a trillion dollars on that instead of on bailing out AIG.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, this is a fail.

    Case in point: My fiancee lost her job through being laid off last November. She proceeded to spend until this July looking for work, even work that was borderline impractical, like driving 4 hours each way. What ultimately happened? After spending November to July looking for work, her old job opened back up and she got it again.

    In other words, there were no new employment opportunities for her for 7 freaking months.

    People can't exactly take jobs that don't exist.
  4. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    I agree, but there are people who take advantage of unemployment checks and then refuse to find real work. Someone very, very close to me does this and I find it particularly embarrassing because of my leftward leaning social views. Still, do we need to punish everyone because the actions of a few? Absolutely not. If we're going to extend tax cuts for everyone, we should extend unemployment too. There are other ways to cut spending that don't involve cutting unemployment.
  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Yeah I don't think it helps to pretend that a steady unemployment check doesn't deter some people from looking as hard as they otherwise would. But everyone knows it's not like permanent disability or social security. The problem for unemployed is that the best job searching typically happens early on, when people's business contacts and networks are fresh and the person's skill set seems relevant. As time wears on, particularly after 6 months or more, the productivity of job searching starts to decline. You've talked to everyone you know, hopefully, by then, and the people who don't know you may begin to think your skill set is starting to get obsolete. It's a very tough situation to be in.

    The way I would do it possibly is have limited employment compensation for the first three months. Force people to eat into savings and try to light a fire under the fired, so to speak, so they ramp up their job searches quickly during the time that will be most productive for them. After three months, if someone is still unemployed they're probably in trouble. At that time ramp up full unemployment benefits.
  6. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    There are jobs. The problem, if you want to think of it as such, is that the jobs will often mean taking large pay cuts and/or (usually and) switching industries.

    By way of personal example, my father left his job as the production manager of a major regional theatre to go to live his dreams and work on the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Once the Olympics were over, he decided against continuing to work major events like that, and switched from administration of the technical aspects of theatrical projects to teaching fall safety and auditing industrial installations to ensure that they're meeting safety standards. He makes less and travels more, but has far more spare time, and he enjoys the travel.

    My brother ran out of work as a graphics designer. Too many graphics designers in the city, and declining amounts of work for them. He started working in a print shop stuffing envelopes and folding leaflets to keep paying the bills. He was later able to pick up some extra work doing design at the print shop, but not as much as he wants. More recently, he's expanded his work to do more than just graphics design, and he's now helping local restaurants and other businesses redesign their interiors. Even with the change, he's looking at moving to a larger city, in hopes of finding more work.

    In both cases, the job that they had was over, they were unemployed, they took a pay cut and did a job that isn't what they had in mind three years ago. The same applies to America. Believe it or not, call centers are often still hiring.
  7. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    There was a thing on the Newshour about "malemployment" or people taking jobs that totally mismatch their skill set, like college graduates doing manual labor or jobs that don't require a diploma. They told the story of an anthropology major who had a job lined up in government or something, but ended up taking a job washing trash cans to support his family.

    I feel lucky enough that I have a job that sort of requires a degree, but it isn't my dream job. I wish I knew what my dream job was.
  8. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    Jabba

    I think your analysis of unemployment, and economics in general, is excellent.

    You touched on this in another thread, but I'd add that it is very important to also recognize the psychological effects of unemployment. I think a lot of people have trouble after a while because they get so discouraged, and thus, depressed. That plus the stigma can make it difficult.

    A good friend of mine went through this, and thankfully just got a job in his field with comparable pay to his last job. I could tell that it wore on him, and the thought of taking a job with a drastic cut in pay was demoralizing and would've forced him to move.

    Plenty of other people that I know are either unemployed or underemployed. More and more of them have been getting good jobs, so on a purely anecdotal level it seems like employment may be picking up. But there is at least one person I know who has been marginally employed at odd jobs over the past two years, unemployment has expired, and he has to move in with his parents. That's gotta be tough.
  9. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Um, why? First, unemployment drives people nuts with boredom. Secondly, more importantly, you get more money when you're working. Your idea depends on what exactly? Oh, let me guess, someone with ten fake names (probably a single black mother) driving a Cadillac (which is probably hot since she bought it from a crackhead who was probably also black) or some other Reaganesque apocryphal story?

    Really, if we want to deal with this properly, the first thing to do is to abrogate NAFTA and drop China's most favored nation status. Then we need to stop defending megamultinationals' interests over American interests.
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    It does happen though.

    A girl I used to go to elementary school with is divorced and pregnant with her second kid at the age of 21, and has no desire to ever get a job.

    I also have an aunt who was laid off as a physical education teacher, but isn't trying as hard as she could to find a new job, and has found out she enjoys being a stay-at-home mother, but still accepts the government checks because she's still technically looking for the "perfect" high-paying job and won't accept anything less.
  11. New_York_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2002
    star 6
    We can't legally do that under WTO rules. Besides, most favored nation is really old terminology, its now "permanent normal trade relations" and we have that with nearly every other country in the world (as required by WTO non-discrimination guidelines). We don't favor China over any other nation worldwide.
  12. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    You don't simply get more money while working. From the Boston Herald:
    From an editorial that involved asking those unemployed if they supported an extension of unemployment benefits or not.
  13. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    If you bothered to read the rest of my post, you would have seen that someone close to me (a very close family member) has consistently avoided getting a job because of his unemployment checks. In the face of boredom and that fact that he could earn more money (though not everyone can). Had you read what I wrote, you also would have noticed that despite what my own family member is doing, I am in favor of unemployment extentions because I don't believe in punishing the majority for the actions of the few. And you would have noticed that I have leftish social views, so your weird Reagan-bashing racist comment is kind of out there. But its ok, I understand how boring reading can be.
  14. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    40 hr/week @ $7.25/hr = $290.

    Of course, that's assuming you don't get paid overtime.
  15. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Pointing out racism is not racist. But of course radical free-market fundamentalists can't see that.

    Also, Reagan committed treason by selling weapons to the Iranians. But I understand why you'd defend him.
  16. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4

    ...Okay?

    [face_laugh]
  17. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    ... You did not just imply that goodfellas, of all people, is a neocon.8-}

    Edit: And since I'm posting in this thread, I might as well get my own views out of the way - I don't think there should be a limit to unemployment benefits as long as the individual in question has made an effort to find work within a reasonable amount of time - and I also think the standards for reasonable effort should be kept low, since each particular case is difficult. Yeah, there are jobs out there if you're willing to take a pay cut, but in some cases that's not financially feasible, say if you got screwed in the housing bubble (Wait, would that mean not everyone who bought a house during that nonsense was out to make a profit? Shock of shocks!).
  18. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    You're ignoring that, firstly, $290 is not the maximum for unemployment, and it's likely that people that had better jobs and higher unemployment benefits would be getting jobs that pay below their benefits. As of 2009 or so, most states had maximum benefits higher than your one week calculation.

    Second, I don't get how you can really talk about overtime, given that many people can't even get full time work. For example, estimates over summer for California includes that the "recession has left 1.5 million Californians involuntarily working part time."
  19. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    goodfellas did not say anything racist, that was your imagination. He isn't a free-market fundamentalist, and I don't see him defending Reagan either. All he said was some people abuse the unemployment checks, but we should still have them for the majority. And the comment about the Iran-Contra scandal is completely random. You seem to be having an argument with your own imagination.
  20. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Truth is, I can't see somebody abusing welfare. The money just isn't enough to really use.

    Now, abusing subsidies or government contracts...you're talking about millions, even billions of dollars.
  21. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    What are you talking about? I come from an entire family that abuses wefare.

    Are most people who are cashing unemployment checks bilking the system? Probably not. But I'd wager that many who are on it for more than 6 months, and most who are on it for over a year are abusing it. And I don't personally know anyone who is on unemployment who isn't abusing it. I know a crap ton of people who moved back in with mom and dad and are just cruising along.

    I saw a picture of a dude holding a sign protesting the end of benifits wearing a union shirt on the news. Would that time not be better used in looking for a...job?
  22. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    While I can't claim to know every individual's personal situation, who's to say he didn't take some time off from his job hunt to go protest? People who feel an issue is important enough take time off from work to go protest, so why can't the unemployed take a brief break from job-hunting to go do so? Is he supposed to just pretend this issue doesn't affect him? Or are you implying that the unemployed should be job hunting 24/7 or else they're bilking the system?

    Seriously, unfortunate implications all up in this sentence.
  23. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    I've been unemployed before. While I didn't spend 24/7 looking for a job, you can bet that I wasn't available for protesting during working hours. I was looking for work.

    Just saying. [face_peace]
  24. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Can't say my dad's approach was any different when he was unemployed. But I think that, were I in the same situation, and benefit extensions were up for consideration, I might take a day off to go kvetch.:p Different strokes for different folks or some such.
  25. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    What if that guy attended a weekend protest? :p
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