Monday, July 12, 2010

Stupid Liberal Tricks: Republicans Hate the Unemployed

Steve Benen must be a total idiot or just a jerk to write this:

"The jobs are there"? No, they're really not. Nationwide, there are five applicants for every one opening, which is a terribly painful ratio. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is currently at a 26-year high.

Corbett not only seems confused about economic conditions, but his animosity about the jobless' attitudes is awful. Yes, I can appreciate the fact that an unemployed worker who's exhausted his/her benefits will be more desperate to take any job than an unemployed worker who's still receiving public aid. But this dynamic matters a whole lot more when there are plenty of job opportunities for those who want them. That's just not the current reality.

To hear Corbett tell it, the unemployed prefer to be unemployed -- turning down job opportunities that pay more, choosing to rely on aid that offers far less. Worse, Corbett doesn't seem to realize that his approach makes the larger problem worse -- cutting people off from unemployment benefits undercuts consumer spending, which in turn leads to less demand and fewer job opportunities.

Ok, so Benen is just an ass, obviously. And, amazingly, he twists the idea that people will wait to find a job longer if they are receiving unemployment than if they aren't into "hate."

Hey, jerk. Take it from somebody who's been unemployed. It's a sucky market to find a job but you can do it. What you can't do (and find employment) is decide to wait a month and take a "vacation" before you start looking. Or only look at jobs that pay as well as the one you left. Or try to get a better paying job. See, the idea is that you take a job close to what you were making--maybe not as much--and then keep looking for a better job. The old ditty about finding a better job while you have one is still true.

How do I know the market sucks but you can find a job if you bust your ass and look? Because I decided to find a full-time job last December to help pay off our debt (see Another Reason to Live Debt-Free) because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I busted my ass to find a full-time job (or, at least, I tried harder than usual). I put out lots of resumes. I had tons of phone interviews. I had lots of in-person interviews. I called in favors from friends who tried to get me hired. And guess what? Eventually, I got a full-time job. It took six months to do it, but I got one, and I'm making more money now than I've ever made (God is good).

Along the way, I took a patchwork of part-time jobs and one-day gigs to add money to our budget. I'm still working both my part-time and full-time jobs to try to get all the debt paid off faster (we're still hoping for the end of the year). Our plans didn't work the way we thought they would because it took much longer than usual for me to find a job, but, nonetheless, we'll make it.

This isn't bragging. Near the end, I'd begun having that "Oh, shit" feeling one gets when you realize things are way worse than you thought they were. I'd started contemplating taking a lesser paying job (along with my part-time gigs) just so I'd be gainfully employed. What I'm saying is, it's a bad market, but there are jobs, and telling people they're going to have to settle for less and make it up in volume doesn't mean you hate the unemployed.

Or, put another way:
Republicans assume someone earning $50,000 who loses his job is likely to hold out for a $50,000 position while utilizing his unemployment benefits. If his jobless benefits expire before he finds a position he may be forced to accept a lower paying job – say $35,000. Ironically, the job seeker will still make more than he made on unemployment and he is gaining valuable job experience and will likely be able to move back up the wage ladder as the economy grows and recovers. Extending jobless benefits may allow the job seeker to avoid accepting a lower paying job keeping him out of the employment market longer potentially making him less and less attractive to potential employers. It is hard for most workers to accept that they aren’t worth the $50,000 they made last year to accept that $35,000 position – but it is most likely the best economic decision they could make.

Economists are arguing that it could take nearly a decade for the job market to recover. That means a lot of people are going to have to take jobs they would have turned down only a couple of years ago. It's tough when you've been living on $100k to discover your same talents are only worth $70,000 now, but that's the reality we are living in. And there's nothing hateful about realizing that unemployment benefits we can't afford because of our national debt is giving people false hope that they'll get that $100k a year job in four more months.