On July 3, 2010, the Senate completely and abruptly ceased to continue to pay extended and emergency unemployment benefits to thousands of unemployed workers. Ironically, this termination happened one day prior to what is called Independence Day. However, without the continuance of emergency money, being independent is impossible. People who have been relying on money that barely supported their household are left now with very few choices to stabilize their lives. Although the rate of unemployment has decreased a few percent, our political figures have failed to realize that the remaining percent of those still unemployed will be suffering a hardship much greater then they were the day they became unemployed.
Those on unemployment were receiving a fraction of the wages they earned while working. Many individuals had medical and dental benefits along with 401K plans. While some companies were laying off people for a short time until the economy picked up, others found themselves completely without work and any of the benefits that went along with their jobs. Many companies folded completely, leaving workers without any hope of regaining their position, much less the possibility of a severance pay.
Would it have been easier if the Senate had given us a heads up so we could have planned for the plummet, or should we have been aware ourselves that tragedy was looming up ahead? Somehow, it seems that neither would have helped. We knew before this that there was trouble in Senate waters; they made that clear with their apprehension and insensitivity one month prior. They allowed benefits to continue throughout June, but never promised we wouldn’t see the tidal wave. All that is left is hope for a future reversal, leaving us in troubled waters where are choices are to sink or swim. The extension of unemployment benefits is the only way we can manage in an economy that has sucked the life out of so many companies and employees for the past few years.
What are our options now? We already know that monies are being cut to other organizations that could keep us afloat. The Family Independence Agency can help with food and insure our children, but the Mom’s and Dad’s who care for them will not be eligible for the same benefits their children are offered. No cash assistance is available for mortgages, rent, car payments, gas or utilities. What good is the ability to buy food when you can’t afford to buy the gas to get to the store? What happens when our vehicles are repossessed due to non-payment? Are we to rely on others suffering hardships to help us with our own?
The answer to our unemployment problem is simple; yet it seems our Government hasn't thought long and hard enough. The political figures that run our lives have failed to realize that the money is there. It won't cost the government another dime to extend benefits if "illegal immigrants" weren't allowed to come across the border and receive all the benefits" legal" American don't get. Why is it that Americans suffer when immigrants that can't even speak our language are living, tax free, off the benefits that would keep Americans from going under? If they stopped dishing out monies to people that are in our country illegally, we would have the millions needed to keep Americans from losing everything. Is it too much to ask for what we are already entitled to?
The Senate needs to re-extend unemployment benefits before the unemployed in society get to a place where there is no return. Not only do they need to help those unemployed, but they need to understand the myriad of consequences that could come from an indigent society; crime rate increases, severe depression, and suicide. Is our government so ignorant to the fact that our society has yet to bounce back? How bad does it have to get and how much do we have to beg to get their attention?
It’s easy to close your eyes and turn your head from a situation that doesn’t affect you; and that’s exactly what the Senate has done. Until they can see that all they’ve done is taken our society from bad to irreparable, we can only wait and hope. You can’t create a stable, productive society by tearing apart the very people who can make it happen.
Let’s hope the Senate understands this before a “yes” vote won’t matter anymore.