Friday, May 14, 2010

I Can't Whine...

Well, I CAN whine but it doesn't do any good. The reality is, no matter how bad off things are for me right now (and I assure you they are bad) I know that there are many many folks in worse position than I.

A scary thought, that.

I have no job and few prospects. I've been looking for more than six years now. For most hiring managers, it doesn't matter that I might well have the exact skills they are looking for; the fact of my being out of work for so long makes me damaged goods by definition. Throw in the admitted holes in my skill set and my age and things look bleak.

But even when I see things at the worst, I still know that there are many many many others in far worse shape. Single parents with children losing their homes. Folks with life threatening medical conditions and no insurance or way to pay for the treatment.

I do have friends and family that will help me keep a roof over my head. My feline companion is pretty good about sleeping on my lap and allowing me to dissipate stress with the head and belly rubs. My health is generally OK (though I could use some dental work and probably need a new prescription for my glasses).

The official unemployment rate is 9.9%. The low end calculations of the Un/Under-employment rate is over 17%. I spend a lot of time at Firedoglake and there are many other folks in similar or worse situations. It does make it tough to whine about a situation when there are so many others in the same boat or worse.

So what do we see? We see "news" articles like the one yesterday from the NY Timestelling us that we're all long term unemployed because we just don't have the technological skills needed and all of our jobs are gone because technology has overtaken things. Just a little glossing over of things such as the outsourcing of IT jobs to India or China.

Yesterday, President Obama was met in Buffalo by the site of a billboard

I need a freakin job.

Also yesterday was this article from MSNBC on how job creation does not seem to be that high of a priority with folks in Washington.
President Obama's visit to a Buffalo factory this week, one of his occasional high-visibility dips into the jobs issue, is striking because jobs are so seldom front and center in the national discussion these days. The word "jobs" hasn't appeared in the title of a weekly presidential address since last Dec. 5. Out of a dozen new laws in "featured legislation" on the White House homepage, there's only one jobs bill (two if you count a "Cash for Clunkers" extension from last August).

Millions of people are unemployed. The long term unemployment rate (those out more than six months) is nearly 46%. Millions more people are underemployed (part time or at jobs paying far less than the previous positions.) The news reports are telling us that these are the worst employment conditions in six decades which puts us back just after WWII.

We have skills. We want to work. We're not looking for a free ride. We don't want to burden our families and friends with our problems. We just want to earn a living. US citizens wanting the help of the US government.

So what do we get? British Petroleum, TransOcean, and Halliburton despoiling the Gulf of Mexico. Congressional "Immigration Reform" bills that will increase the number of "H1B" visas, even when there are IT folks in the US looking for work. Punitive immigration bills from the states that don't punish the employers.

I do not like whining but some folks need to understand the reality of the millions of us out here looking for employment. As I said way back when in this diary from The Seminal, I Am Unemployed but Not a Statistic. I, like all my fellow un and underemployed folks, am a human being. We recognize our value to the country, even when the Master of the Universe on Wall Street think it is not a good thing for us to have jobs.

We're waiting Mr. President. We're waiting patiently but even the most patient of us get tired of promises that do nothing for the millions who need the help.

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