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

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Here we are again.

Day 2 of the unemployed held hostage and the 99ers are ignored. Again. For the third time this year.  At least extending tax cuts will continue to spur the economy.  What? Unemployment benefits are more effective than tax cuts? So why do we continue to engage in counterproductive economics? It's the American way.

99ers should not be surprised at our current plight.  99ers have been ignored since (before) Jim Bunning staged his one man show of arrogance. Sen. Bunning's show was so successful, it reappeared in summer stock. As we approach Christmas,"Waiting for Congress" has been made into a winter holiday special. The common theme of these three extravaganzas? Nothing about the 99ers, which means nothing for the 99ers. This is like going to the Emergency Room for a cough. The Triage Nurse mentions your intestines are hanging out and you choose to treat just the cough. How did we reach reach this nadir of lunacy? There are many directions to point a finger, I am aiming at NELP, UCubed and Working America.

99ers should not be surprised we have reached this point. Except for occasional whispers to the contrary, Congress has been shouting opposition to TierV since spring. It's easy to suggest 99ers should have organized more effectively. There have been great grassroot groups, UWAG and Unemployed Friends are just two of many. These are primarily volunteer organizations. NELP, UCubed and Working America have professional staff and budgets. The staff may be small and the budget limited, but 99ers budget? 99ers are trying to keep the utilities on in a house they might lose to cook food they can't afford to buy. NELP, UCubed and Working America should have been doing more this whole time.

The One Nation Working Together rally was great.  That rally was two months ago.  Since then there have been call rallies, fax rallies, email campaigns. Obviously these attempts have been ineffective and done nothing to generate public opinion. 99ers are told time is dear and unemployed between 26 and 99 weeks need all efforts to continue to fund their benefits. NELP, UCubed and Working America should have never let it come to an either/or decision. As soon as Jim Bunning started his one man show in March, NELP, UCubed and Working America should have been screaming every day that 99ers be included in any extensions. These professional organizations were neglectful and now claim they must concentrate their efforts for those with extensions previously approved.  Okay, what about the rest of us.

I don't know how this will wind up.  I fear it will end with discord between 99ers and less than 99ers. Unemployed eating their own.  Which makes sense, because it's the only food many of us can afford.

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