Oh great, the long-term unemployed are forming a coalition to keep their benefits going longer that 99 weeks — and they’ve got plenty of time to protest.

For now I’ll just refer to this group as “Tea-laggers”:

They call themselves “99ers” – out-of-work job-hunters in dire straits because their unemployment benefits have run out.

They turned to the Internet for solace. Now they’re turning into a grassroots political movement.

They’re staging a protest rally on Wall Street Thursday at Federal Hall, just steps from the New York Stock Exchange, where they will demand that Congress broaden unemployment benefits to include them.

“People went online to commiserate and gripe, then became more desperate and looked for ways to make political gestures,” said 99er Michael White, a founder of the Unemployed Workers Action Group, which is sponsoring the rally.

Just imagine if they’d use the time they’re going to spend protesting out looking for work instead — they might not find a job but it would certainly incline me to empathize with them a hell of a lot more than I do.

And the story ends with…

She has stopped buying asthma medicines, gotten rid of her cable TV, long-distance phone service and gym membership and spent the summer with no air conditioner in her rented studio apartment because she can’t afford to buy one.

Not to sound heartless, but I spent the better part of my 20’s pretty much the same way — and I was working at the time.

The question has been asked before, but it’s worth asking again: At what point does unemployment become welfare?

The answer is, “as soon as the unemployed start to organize.”


9 Responses to “‘I’m Unemployed and I Vote!’”

  1. GVinAZ on August 10th, 2010 12:00 am

    Doug, I have mixed feelings as someone who considered it her full time job to find a job the 11 months I was without a job. I waited to file for unemployment in the beginning hoping I would find a job in the beginning and did not come close to the 99 weeks, however I did have to go into the first round of "emergency extension of benefits." AZ is the fifth lowest in the nation wrt unemployment payments, so it definitely wasn't the money – ha. I realize there are people that play the system and am distressed there may be more of them than those of us – it gives the folks out there networking and applying for anything a bad name.

  2. Rick on August 10th, 2010 3:24 am

    Having witnessed “taxpayer-funded financial bailouts” in the hundreds of $BILLIONS,tea-lagging almost seems harmless.O,we suckerz!

  3. Michelle on August 10th, 2010 9:51 am

    The anger is misplaced. These people need to be angry at the government for creating the conditions that lead to businesses refusing to or unable to hire. My 23 year old construction working son was unable to find ANY work for over a year, not pizza delivery, fast food, grocery store, nothing. He was never able to draw one dime of unemployment money because of quirks in the system. Now, he is working, finally, for cash. Not ideal, but the situation is very bad for many people.

  4. Don on August 10th, 2010 2:06 pm

    Oh no, not the cable TV and the gym membership. The horrors!

    The story make it sound like she just recently had to make these scale-backs. Let's see… Cable and phone – $100/month, Gym $50/month. So, if she had gotten rid of these when she first lost her job she would have an extra $3,500 right now…

    And obviously the anger is misplaced – this is the fault of the politicians, not Wall Street.

  5. Nick on August 10th, 2010 2:11 pm

    American politics, regardless of party, has become about creating wealth for the few, not creating opportunity for all.

    Human compassion and love for our fellow Americans should compel us to keep jobless benefits going rather than see them pulled under. The notion that the jobless are somehow lazy freeloaders is absurd. Are there a few who exploit it? Sure. But we can't punish millions for the actions of a few.

    Calling them tea-laggers is just another hurtful, ignorant swipe at good people.

    If the Tea Party were about real reform then I would join their ranks. Sadly, what the tea party is is a bunch of repackaged Republicans bitter that they lost the last election, and hellbent on disrupting the current Administration in any and all efforts they take — regardless of the consequence.

  6. DJP on August 10th, 2010 11:01 pm

    No, the Tea Party is not repackaged Republicans bitter that they lost. It is people who are bitter that their elected officials are not listening to them, doing what they want to do and spending us into the poor house. Even people like you don't listen or you would know exactly what the Tea Party is about. Find out for yourself and stop listening to MSM who put a spin on everything rather than telling the truth. The PROOF is there if you care to look.

  7. Nick on August 11th, 2010 3:54 pm

    Hey DJP, so where was the Tea Party during the Bush Years? If you aren't repackaged Republicans, then why didnt you march and make your silly signs when Bush and the Republicans spent us into oblivion? Why no speeches about the consititution when Bush authorized illegal wiretaps?

    Oh, because you are just repackaged Republicans bitter about losing an election. You stand for nothing DJP. The world knows it.

  8. meg richards on August 11th, 2010 1:23 pm

    There but by the grace of God go I. Many "holier than thou" educated hardworking Americans, like myself, have had to learn the hard way that no one is excempt from losing everything. Well, except the case of bank ceo's who screwed up and were bailed out and are now back on easy street. It is not so easy for laid off middle management types like me. When you HAVE worked hard all your life and suddenly you are jobless, it isn't easy to just decide to turn everything off and eat rice and beans. Many people don't DESERVE to be in dire straights. So to say we shouldn't protest because we should spend 24 hours a day looking for work in a country that has 1 job for every 5 applicants and I have been overqualified for that 1 job time and time again is heartless and IGNORANT.

  9. imoforpcs on May 3rd, 2017 12:23 am

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