A tribute to the 99ers: We are not invisible.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 99ers political clout score is...

As the 111th Congress is waning 99ers still have hope for relief. However, until any legislation for a TierV  emerges from committee, assume weeks of unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks are unlikely. Since unemployment benefits are the most effective way to stimulate the economy why are the 99ers excluded from any legislative initiative with a reasonable chance of passing?  The answer is simple: 99ers have less political clout than almost any group.

It's nice to think that politicians follow their hearts to represent their constituency and legislate for the good of America. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case. Politicians always have to consider reelection. Reelection takes gobs of money and easily understood defensible policy decisions. 99ers and gobs of money are mutually exclusive. Defending extension of unemployment benefits beyond current historic levels requires detailed explanation: multiplier effect, job shortage, downward pressure on property values and wages, etc. Given nationwide employment at 75% or more and an electorate with a short attention span TierV is toxic. At least the 99ers can make a point at election time, right? No!

Republican 99ers are voting against their economic self interest and can be counted on to do the same in the future. If Democratic 99ers stay home or vote Republican, (see the recent compromise on tax cut extensions) clout is reduced so they're stuck voting for Democrats.  Independent 99ers can choose from the above. Big deal. Lisa Murkowski's write-in election is not the norm. Usually an independent 3rd part candidate is a spoiler, not an option.

The message is 99ers need to find an option to block voting. I have a thought that builds on last week's reframing the message theme. I'll explain tomorrow. In the meantime, what do you think 99ers can do to keep the message in the public eye?

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