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They call it a "depression" because it's depressing

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I haven't posted on this story before, because I've been consumed by live blogging the Al Jazeera feed, but now I can. I'm not depressed, I'm angry (and, I hope, compassionate). Read this story of DISemployment, one among so many:

An uncertain future after jobless benefits expire

The headline is a lie; the issue is not "uncertainty" at all; that word should be saved for the business section. Rather, it's the increasing sense of certainty that you will never work again:

The portraits of his dead father are among the few mementoes Bud Meyers is certain he will take with him when he is forced from his home of five years next month because he cannot pay the rent.

His prized collection of mystery novels, the bedroom set he was once proud to purchase new and anything else that can't fit into the trunk of a car must be left behind.

More than two years after Meyers lost his job as a Las Vegas Strip bartender and nearly eight months after he exhausted his unemployment benefits, it has come to this: a careful inventory of a life's possessions and the hopeless embrace of a future as a middle-aged homeless man.

"I can't believe this is happening to my life," Meyers, 55, said on a recent afternoon, as he surveyed the one-bedroom apartment he must soon abandon. "It's a social holocaust."

Meyers, who is single and childless, is among a growing number of men and women who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits because they have been out of work for so long.

"Exhaustees" or "99ers" — as they are sometimes called — are searching for work and help across the United States. But their situation seems particularly bleak in Nevada, where unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosure rates are the highest in the nation and job creation is at a crawl. ...

The response from Washington has been muted. A law passed last month that restored the federal emergency unemployment program through the end of 2011 did not account for exhaustees.

The story ends this way:

He calculates that it will take three days of not having access to a shower before he is shunned on the street. He pictures police officers rousting him from the sidewalk. He wonders what he will eat.

"It's bad enough being 55 and clean and unemployed," Meyers said. "Can you imagine being dirty and unemployed? There's no going back from that."

Exactly. There, but for the grace of ____, go I.

This story shows the complete immorality and inhumanity of the policy our neo-liberal policy elite have followed for the last thirty years: Throwing people out of work to achieve so-called "public" policy goals. If policy is indeed meant for public purpose, a Jobs Guarantee is moral, humane, and effective, unlike the permanent 10% nominal (20% real) DISemployment that our legacy parties, and their rentier owners, have planned for us.

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letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

could have helped the 99ers. All he had to do was bargain harder with the Republicans back in November. They would have done anything to keep those tax cuts safe for another two years. Hell it was a lot of money in their own pockets.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

it's incomprehensible that people in politics -- the ones who have the power to do something -- could be so heartless. How can they turn their backs on helpless people and act like everything's fine?

You know what else I don't understand is how the right wingers can rant about the US being a Christian nation while things like this are happening. I'm no expert in Christianity, but what happened to being my brother's keeper and living by the Golden Rule?

The hypocrisy in this country is mind-boggling.