We are paying people right now to be unemployed for over a year's time instead of just taking a dang job. Do I sound heartless? Hardly in the real world.Here is a person, and don't tell me it is not available more or less to anyone with the gumption, Sorry Tinker but you don't get to choose what I get to tell you about. I couldn't help but notice that you conveniently used what we are currently doing with unemployment, but select one story from a period in time that preceded this current mess we find ourselves in.Do I sound heartless? No, if I wanted to choose just one word I guess it would be dishonest. Your statement that we are paying people unemployment instead of just taking a dang job is all of that and more. Oh, I'm sure there are some individuals in the country that fit your little slander, but then, there are crooked lawyers as well. Does that make you crooked?My wife took a crappy "admin" job that I practically made her take about 20 years ago because I knew the company, and it was a great company. Within a year she had schmoozed her way from admin to actual consultant and was off to the races. Another "flash from the past" I see; since you like to tell individual's stories perhaps you will allow me to do the same.It is about a man I know that I will call F.Around 10 years ago F was living with his family in Chicago with his wife and 3 kids. Working class, (he worked in asbestos abatement) owned his own home and although he was never likely to become wealthy, all was well with the world. Except for one thing that is and that involved his daughter M, (Their youngest child) you see F's wife had complications delivering M and M nearly didn’t survive. The complications left M not only with mental disabilities but with physical health problems as well.Like most parents, faced with a similar situation, they had only one choice and that was to “deal with it”, which they did. They continued to try and build a good life for their two boys and their “Miracle baby” M, until one day the doctor advised them that M, who continued to battle health problems, might benefit from a move to a different climate. There wasn’t even a “should we” discussion in the family, everyone knew that if it was good for M that it was the only thing they could do, so it was sell the house, quit the job and off to Florida for F & family.This is how I met the family. M when she arrived was placed in a class with my daughter Elizabeth and although the school pretty much immediately knew she had been placed in the wrong class (M is classified as “trainable” where as Elizabeth is classified as “teachable”) they decided to let her finish the year so as not to disrupt her life any further. By the time the year was over M & Elizabeth had become friends and despite several moves by the F family they remain so to this day.About those moves, well they are part of the story as well. You see because the move from Chicago may have been good for M, from a financial perspective it was anything but good for the family. From the beginning although F found work right away, it was for around $10 per hour less than what he had earned in Chicago. (From $24 down to $14) But hey, because they had owned a home in Chicago they were able to buy one in Florida and with the wife working as well as their oldest son ( helping out with the bills) they were getting by. Then, as I recall, F was laid off and although he immediately found more work this time it was for $12, oh well.I won’t go into all of the details but through a series of events, none which were attributable to the family doing anything wrong. They were forced to sell their home and to become renters, then forced again from renting a house (too expensive) to an apartment. Eventually and before all of this current economic mess started the family had achieved a bit of economic stability, if not exactly prosperity. All three of the adults were working in various jobs out at the Airport when suddenly this latest economic mess hit and not just one, but all three of them lost their jobs over a period of a few months.From that point I’ll just limit my story to what F did after that. From day 1 he was out looking for a job every day and after several months he was offered a job in Houston. The job was temporary, working for a company subcontracting the rehabbing military equipment for a larger company. $16 per hour plus a per diem, living out of a hotel room with several guys half his age and he was thrilled to have the work so he could provide for his family. The job lasted maybe 6 months and then he was back to Florida and on unemployment, where he spent every day looking for work again. After a few months he receives another call from the same company, another contract (in Houston ), only this time they could only pay him $9 plus the per diem. I remember saying to him when he came by and told me he would be leaving town again, that he would hardly be making anymore than if he stayed on unemployment. His response? “Well at least I know I won’t be using up my unemployment benefits in case I need them in the future”.Sorry enough story for you yet? Well unfortunately it gets worse. Because the job involved military equipment the employees were issued key cards to enter the secured buildings. One morning as he was entering the building a lady behind him asks him to “hold the door” which he did so she could enter. The next day he was called into the office and told he would no longer be allowed to work there because he had breached security by allowing her to enter. (She never ended up losing her job however.) So for this lapse in judgment, not only did he lose his job but when he returned to Florida and after several months of fighting it, he was denied unemployment benefits as well. Never mind that he had accrued those unemployment benefits through a previous job, or that the loss of his recent job wasn’t through a deliberate act of misconduct, or that no harm was actually done, or that the infraction didn’t lead to the lady losing her job, or that he had given up his previous unemployment compensation, packed up and moved half a continent away to live out of a hotel room for little if any extra money, you are just SOL buddy. It even got so bad for him that during the unemployment proceedings, when he was instructed to keep filing his weekly claims, they essentially harassed him over “following proper procedures” when he was forced to go sit on a daily basis for hours each day at a temporary labor agency inn a attempt to get any kind of work.So where is F today? Well he never did get his unemployment and he ended up taking one of your “starting” jobs at a food service company that services the airlines. To be fair I think he told me he makes about $0.50 above the minimum wage (after nearly a year there) and most of that is because of the type of job he chose to accept (one no one else wants to do). The job, as best as I understand it, involves running a pressure washer all day in a refrigerated building cleaning the various carts etc. But what about it leading to something better? Well I asked him about that as well and as it turns out he asked his boss the same question. The response was, if you don’t want to take the risk of being laid off or having your hours cut (due to changes with the airlines requirements) yours is the only job that we have to do every day regardless of the ebb and flow our business.F is 50 years old Tinker, stuck in a job that is only guaranteed to continue to make economic situation deteriorate even further, he’s scared too even apply for a slightly “better” job within the company he works for fear of being exposed to another job loss. I’m sure he spends most of his days off looking for better employment as well, but he not only faces the prospect of competing with ten’s of thousands of other laid off workers but with the knowledge that many companies will pass him over strictly due to his age.I’ve know a lot of people in my day and no one I have ever known, has faced so many challenges, with so much persistence, self sacrifice and dignity as I have seen F do and all while trying to maintain a positive attitude.I ‘m not ashamed to admit, when I see you espouse this kind of right wing claptrap, where anyone with problem is somehow responsible (bad choices and not enough work) and anyone who needs assistance is somehow trying to get over on the system, it takes all I can muster to not wish something would happen to you and perhaps then you could get a taste of reality.But I refrain; I won’t refrain from telling you how much contempt I have for your world view however, because that would be dishonest.B
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