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Official White House Petition for 99ers and UI Exhaustees
If you, or a friend, or a loved one, or a family member, or a room-mate, or an ex-co-worker have lost their job since 2008 and are still unemployed, and once received unemployment benefits (or are current receiving them), then YOU MUST READ THIS!
One thing is very important: We can't have 100 petitions floating around the internet!
Once this petition is up and running (after being edited with your suggestions)
So please BOOKMARK THAT PAGE. Send this post to the media and all the bloggers you know. Post it at all the Facebook groups you visit. Tweet it for all your followers. Send it to Lady Gaga if you think it might help. Inform all the unemployed advocates through their websites, and post it anywhere else that will give it maximum exposure. We want 10 MILLION SIGNERS!
So far, the petition reads as:
"Very soon, by January 2012, an estimated 10 million Americans and their families will have exhausted all 99 weeks of their unemployment insurance benefits (or whatever their State's maximum qualifying weeks were).
Many people are living in horrendous conditions in tent cities (Hoovervilles)
We're quite sure the President and everyone in Congress has of heard of us...we're the 99ers. As of June of last year there were about 5 million Americans receiving State unemployment benefits and another 5 million receiving federal extended benefits for a total of 10 million unemployed Americans collecting some form of UI assistance. We've only had a net gain of 1 million jobs since that time because of budget cuts and layoffs in the public sector.
To date (September 2011) there are approximately 6.2 million Americans who have already exhausted all their unemployment benefits, and by January 2012 another 3.8 million will have lost theirs as well. That's a total of 10 million potential families (half of them with children) who will have no income at all. If the funding for these benefits is extended in the American Jobs Act, it only helps those who have not already exhausted their qualifying weeks, and does NOTHING for the "exhaustees"
There are not enough jobs for 14 million unemployed people because there are another 14 million Americans who are "under-employed"
Many of us have already been without any income at all for a year or longer. Many of us barely subsist on food stamps and on the charity of others for a roof over our heads (if we're lucky). And it's still very difficult to get heath-care (State Medicaid), and the Republicans want to cut this and the food stamp program too.
An additional 13 weeks of federal extended unemployment benefits (a Tier V), while helpful, would not be the solution. It would only be a temporary stop gap. Most of us will need a semi-permanent income for some time to come until such time when there are actually enough jobs for most of us (or until those who are old enough can apply for Social Security).
This can be paid for by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, closing ALL corporate tax loopholes, and ending corporate welfare in taxpayer-paid subsidies. And by ending both wars and cutting unnecessary PORK programs in "defense" spending and eliminating ALL fraud and waste in the "defense" budget. And by eliminating ALL fraud committed on Medicare by the hospitals, HMOs, insurance companies, doctors, and State governors. And by stricter oversight regarding all government contracts to stop corporations from further gouging the taxpayers.
The UI exhaustees and 99ers can no longer wait for 14 million new jobs to suddenly appear, let alone to gradually come online over a protracted period of time....we've already waited as long as we could. Many of us (who have survived this long) have been jobless and struggling for 2 and 3 years.
Most of us are barely surviving while we see this country and the rest of the world passing us by. We're scared, we're sick, we're depressed, we're desperate, and we've lost what hope we once had for our near and distant futures. We need help NOW! For most of us, hope is all we have left. Please don't take that away too.
We've been ignored for far too long. We've phone and faxed and wrote to no avail. We can't survive on political bickering between the parties. We can't survive on excuses. We can't survive on ever more tax breaks for the uber-rich and huge multi-national corporate conglomerates. We can't survive without the help of our government. It's becoming a socio-economic holocaust and you can't ignore us forever.
99 weeks of unemployment benefits was a random and arbitrary number that was pulled out of a hat...just like the $700 billion number for the bank bailouts. Neel Kashkari, working for Hank Paulson, had admitted this: "Seven hundred billion was a number out of the air. It was a political calculus. I said, 'We don't know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get [from Congress]. What about a trillion?' "
The Tea Party calls unemployment benefits "wasteful government spending". The Republicans say 99 weeks is "long enough". We ask, "Long enough for what? To find a non-existent job? To pay for rent and food? To live?"
Perhaps a 99-week congressional job paying $174,000 a year is also "long enough". Why do career politicians, who themselves are living off the government tit, always accuse others of being freeloaders, and of getting government hand-outs and living out of their neighbor's wallets? The same tax dollars that fund food stamps, Medicaid, and UI benefits for the jobless also pays for congressional salaries too. Members of Congress are just like any other "government worker" or "civil servant" that they've accused of being over-paid and having unsustainable pensions. They themselves might be the fat we need to cut. Aren't they also "wasteful government spending". I suppose it's all a matter of perspective as to what is "needed" and what is "wasteful".
Otherwise, without an immediate and indefinite extension of UI benefits, death is all you leave the long-term unemployed as a last resort, because living on the street often leads to just that - especially if we're not even allowed to pitch a tent and hunt and grow our own food. We do not want to be the country's sacrificial lambs. We will NOT go gentle into that good night...we will rage against the dying of the light!"
* Also Read: The 99ers are the Sacrificial Lambs
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Bud Meyers writes about the economy, corporate out-sourcing, labor statistics (the REAL unemployment rate), government and corporate corruption, and the plight of the long-term unemployed.