In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on January 8, 2014 at 3:04 am

On January 7, the United States Senate voted to allow debate to go forward and avoid a filibuster.

The topic under discussion: Reinstating temporary unemployment benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans.

The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program was created in 2008 and has since been reauthorized 11 times.  But those benefits expired on December 28 and have not yet been renewed.

For renewal to occur, the measure must clear the Senate by 60 (out of 100) votes and then the House of Representatives by a majority of its 435 members.

At present, there is no set time by when lawmakers in the House plan to reinstate unemployment insurance.

And even if Congress votes to restore the benefits, those payments will run for only three months.  Then, once again, more than one million jobless Americans will be on their own.

The battle lines have been clearly drawn.

Democrats claim:

  • They want to help Americans struggling to pay their bills until they get back on their feet; and
  • Failing to pass an extension will reverse the reviving economy.

Republicans claim:

  • Such extensions encourage the unemployed to not look for work; and
  • To offset the $6.4 billion price tag for extending benefits, there must be cuts elsewhere in the Federal budget.

Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine) said she wanted to see changes to the unemployment system:

“If someone has been unemployed for more than a year it is very likely the job they once had is not coming back.  It would be better if a condition of continued unemployment benefits after a year … [was linked] to a job training program participation.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he told President Barack Obama in December, 2013, that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits “should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work.

“To date, the president has offered no such plan. If he does, I’ll be happy to discuss it, but right now the House is going to remain focused on growing the economy and giving America’s unemployed the independence that only comes from finding a good job.”

Collins’ and Boehner’s support for job-retraining programs ignores several brutal truths:

  • The national unemployment rate has declined by seven percent.
  • But the unemployment rate among the long-term unemployed remains persistent.
  • At least 4.1 million Americans have been out of work six months or longer.
  • And if you’ve been unemployed six months or longer, the vast majority of employers refuse to even consider hiring you.

Boehner is correct, however, when he says the country needs “something to help put people back to work.”

And that “something” is a nationwide Employers Responsibility Act.

According to Right-wing Republicans, every employer is now a “job creator.”

But if that’s true:

  • Why are so many employers not hiring at all?
  • Or, if they are hiring, why aren’t they hiring American workers?
  • Why are they hiring mostly part-time employees on a no-benefits basis?
  • Why are so many employers shutting down American plants and starting new ones in China, Mexico or the Philippines?

Meanwhile, U.S. corporations sit on nearly $2 trillion in cash.

Among the monies they sit upon are those that could be used to hire those millions of qualified, willing-to-work Americans who can’t find fulltime, permanent employment.

An article in the March, 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest gives the lie to the excuses so many employers use for refusing to hire.

Entitled “22 Secrets HR Won’t Tell You About Getting a Job,” it lays bare many of the reasons why America needs to legally force employers to demonstrate as much responsibility for hiring as job-seekers are expected to show toward searching for work.

Click here: 22 Secrets HR Won’t Tell You About Getting a Job | HT Staffing

Among the truths it reveals:

  1. Once you’re unemployed more than six months, you’re considered unemployable.
  2. It’s not what but who you know that counts.
  3. If you can, avoid HR and seek out someone in the company you know. If you don’t know anyone, go straight to the hiring manager.
  4. Don’t assume that someone will read your cover letter. Many of them go straight into the garbage can.
  5. You will be judged on the basis of your email address–especially if it’s something like “Igetwasted@aol.com.”
  6. Athough age discrimination is illegal, it’s still widespread. If you’re in your 50s or 60s, don’t put your year of graduation on your resume.
  7. Many employers defy the law and discriminate against applicants who have children. Many managers have gone to illegal lengths to find out applicants’ parental status–like checking a job-seeker’s car for child safety seats.
  8. It’s harder to get a job if you’re fat. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes.
  9. Many managers will assume you’re a loser if you give them a weak handshake.
  10. Encourage the interviewer to talk–especially about himself. Ego-driven interviewers love hearing the sound of their own voices and will assume you’re better-qualified than someone who doesn’t want to listen to them prattle.

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