‘I’m Unemployed and I Vote!’

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.”