In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, GOP Presential hopeful Herman Cain told the American people that “if you are unemployed and not rich, you have no one to blame but yourself.” He also went on to say that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are ‘unAmerican’ – another issue altogether.
This is typical of the right wing bias that’s being played out over and over by conservatives when it comes to the long-term unemployed. In a segment titled Allowing the Jobless to Apply Chris Matthews (host of MSNBC’s “Hardball’) did a terrific job in pointing out the hypocritical views of conservatives when comparing the GOP attitude towards the long term unemployed versus their attitude toward ‘corporations as people’, for example.
There’s many points to make about the segment which can be watched in its entirety by clicking on the video to the left. The discussion is about 8-9 minutes long and includes Dana Milbank (Washington Post reporter) and Steve Moore, a ‘Sr Economic Reporter’ with the WSJ. Moore (whom we’ll call ‘WSJ Steve’) is a true ‘right-winger’, advocating several of the bold and all too common GOP falsehoods as part of his rhetoric during the discussion, but Matthews nailed this thing with his responses at several points throughout discussion:
Early on Matthews says to Dana Milbank:
“I’m into politics, not hiring people, but this sounds like hell. This is the worst I’ve heard…”
[then, to ‘WSJ Steve’], “You’ve done it; you just stepped in it…”
‘WSJ Steve’ argues that unemployment benefits have caused extended unemployment and employers should view it as a negative and question why someone has been out of work for 2 years. It should be noted that several studes have indicated that extended unemployment benefits do not contribute to extended durations of unemployment. In January, one of the GOP’s favored Wall Street firms, Goldman Sachs released a report based ontheir own research which concluded that ‘extended unemployment benefits are not to blame for high unemployment’.
Less a month ago, Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post highlighted another report in his September 16 article titled ‘Extended Unemployment Benefits Not Turning Jobless Into Slackers: Study’ in which he wrote:
Conservative economists have said extended benefits could have increased the unemployment rate by as much as 2.7 percentage points, but Jesse Rothstein of the University of California, Berkeley found otherwise. According to his analysis (PDF), extended benefits “raised the unemployment rate by only about 0.2–0.6 percentage points, much less than is implied by previous analyses.”
And Rothstein says more than half of that increase could be caused by benefits recipients searching for jobs — thereby remaining part of the labor force — instead of just giving up on their search. (Benefits recipients must look for work to qualify.)
“The evidence here thus supports the view that optimal [unemployment insurance] program design would provide for generous extensions of beneﬁt durations in deep recessions that last until the labor market is strong enough to give displaced workers a realistic chance of ﬁnding new employment before their beneﬁts expire,” Rothstein concluded in the report.
A week later Delaney reported that the ‘Older Jobless Twice As Likely To Become 99ers’ . You see, there is a real inherent age discrimination problem when it comes to discriminating against the unemployed. More on that later, but in the meantime, please check out the Gray Matters Coalition website and sign their petition to stop age discrimination in the hiring process.
Back to the MSNBC ‘Allowing the Jobless to Apply’ discussion…
The interview continues on & Matthews calls out the GOP’s hypocrisy a few times; the best is in the concluding remarks about the difficulty in selling their hypocratic positon to the American people on this issue particularly given the GOP views & attitudes toward the tens of millions of unemployed workers vs their attitudes and position toward ‘corporations as people’.
But then, Milbank is not much better than ‘WSJ Steve’ because he goes on to say that Obama ‘hopes that Boehner will say the same thing Steve just said’ implying that President Obama doesn’t really want the bill [the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 – HR2501] to be passed and that this is just a political, re-election tactic aimed at ‘picking fights with the Republicans’ and not a genuine effort to help the long-term unemployed who can’t find a job, in part because they aren’t even given an opportunity to apply.
There are many aspects of this interview that the long-term unemployed will have a problem with and comments to make. The one thing that is certain: this segment is a picture perfect example of the fight taking place in Washington and across the country when it comes to long term joblessness*. It is highly recommended that everyone take just a few minutes to watch the video segment in its entirety (to the left). – and get involved.
*The following was just received via email via 99er, Bud Meyers:
Thursday, October 06, 2011 – Americans continue to have mixed feelings about how the government should respond to the long-term unemployed. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American adults finds that:
- 32% say government should do nothing at all.
- 25% say government should pay for their retraining.
- 21% say government should hire those long out of work.
- 10% say government should extend unemployment benefits indefinitely. < bless them ;)
32% say do nothing but 56% say do something (the other 12% doesn’t say)
Ironically, this ‘Allowing the Jobless to Apply’ segment was aired just the hours before President Obama arrived in Denver to talk about his jobs plan. As noted in my last article, a Change.org petition started by Kelly Wiedemer of Westminster, CO – yours truly – has now accumulated 100,613 supporters! My message to all is thank you for supporting the longterm unemployed. But the fight has really just begun. The Chris Matthews interview sums up very well the fight on our hands in getting this (or any other legislation) to help the long term unemployed with jobs & related issues through this Congress.
As Mitchell Hirsch of the National Employment Law Project (NELP**) wrote in his UnemployedWorkers.org piece dated September 20 titled, ‘CareerBuilder.com Posts New Wave of Discriminatory Job Ads’:
Enough already. This has to stop. And it’s not just these pernicious ads — it’s the full range exclusionary practices that discriminate against unemployed job-seekers. If employers, recruiters, staffing firms and online job posting sites like CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com will not voluntarily do the right thing and end the lockout against unemployed workers in the job market — as Indeed.com has taken steps to do — then new federal legislation is clearly needed.
Call your U.S. Representative and Senators and tell them to support and pass the Fair Employment Opportunity Act to end discrimination against unemployed workers in hiring. You can call 202-224-3121 for the Senate and 202-224-3121 for the House, or reach the Capitol switchboard toll-free at 877-851-6437 or 877-210-5351.
If that’s not enough, check out the FOX News suggestions for Congress to spur job creation in the screen shot picture above (in which they include eliminating the minimum wage laws, abolishing anti-discrimination laws in the work place and more).
In light of this political climate, please get involved.
**NELP has also recently issued the following analysis:
The President’s American Jobs Act of 2011:
Responding to the National Crisis of Long-Term Unemployment