Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Conservatives View the Unemployed

They pretty much look at us and those of us complaining about getting reduced unemployment benefits while the wealthy got an early $801 billion present from Obama and Congress as this tramp determined to have Christmas by stealing from someone else.

We're hobos for wanting back some of those unemployment benefits that we'd already kicked into all our working lives. "How dare you want to pay your bills because you were thrown out of work and make us pay for your welfare?" is what we're hearing. Well, to those good, momentarily gainfully employed folk, I say, "If you're complaining about an additional $57 billion in extended unemployment benefits that's not even enough to cover our bills, then I can't wait to hear about you bitching about how you'll pay for that $801 billion in tax breaks, not to mention how you'll cover the trillion dollars in lost Social Security taxes over the next decade."

But it's easiest to kick us around because, unlike the Rush Limbaughs and Lloyd Blankfeins of the world, we're not pulling our weight and collecting $135 a week is so much easier than it is to find work that would easily pay twice that much after taxes.

Forget the fact that we're raging economic engines who are forced to live hand to mouth and to pump that pittance we got back from the Obama administration into the hands of insurance companies, mortgage lenders in one way or another, petroleum cartels, utility companies and Big Agra and that the wealthiest 2% will simply take those extra billions and stuff them into a CD or money market account. Anybody that can afford to almost absentmindedly stuff an additional several million or two dollars into a bank is someone who doesn't deserve to scream about wanting and needing more.

So come this Christmastime, this is how we're being portrayed by the right wing and many among the 90.2% of us who are employed in some capacity: Hobos out to steal their trees and presents like some poor man's Grinch. Even though we're not the ones who were bellowing for more tax cuts at the expense of the economy and our childrens' and grandchildrens' futures.

It's a shortsighted, eliminationist mode of thinking that depends entirely on one's dodgy prospects of hanging onto their job during a time when the US Chamber of Commerce is nakedly and brazenly calling for the destruction of America through the outsourcing of all our manufacturing jobs, leaving only a nation of minimum wage-earning shopkeepers without unionization and without power and without a voice.

So be it. If the only way to wring compassion out of such people is to be thrust into the same position we were thrust in, to be forced to deal with predatory temp agencies and to drop one resume after another into a black hole, then so be it.

I'm not going to ask for any more donations because a lot of you are already stretched to the max. Many of you already donate to some blogs and news outlets as well as having to fund your own Christmas and to stay caught up on your bills. But until you were suddenly put out of work and then found yourself to be some unemployable dinosaur and that the skills into which you grew were no longer enough, until you'd found out to your shock that living within your means and paying as you go had actually hurt you because more and more employers insist on doing credit checks, until you've sat in a fast food restaurant during a cattle call and realizing that you're competing with people with college degrees for minimum wage jobs...

...then please keep your ignorant, bubble boy observations to yourself.

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