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Tough times for some people
Old 08-04-2009, 11:40 AM   #1
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Tough times for some people

This was published in the Washington Post today.


washingtonpost.com
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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Everything about their lives seems so depressing. Makes me glad that I have an education and not living their lives.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Sure, it is sad - but I'm not reading any further than this:
Quote:
Scott got a job on a paint crew at an RV plant, and by the end of 2007 his income had climbed to $53,000, more than he had ever earned. After work he was the man at the bar with the thick roll of bills, the man he had always wanted to be, buying round after round for himself and his friends. The man with "the full pocket," as he liked to say. He took his son on a fishing trip. He took his family out to eat and told them to order whatever they wanted.

...

When he lost his job, Scott had no savings, his primary objective always having been to earn enough to cover the rent, eat an occasional steak, feed and clothe their children, ride his dirt bike, fish, golf, play poker, buy lottery tickets, and drink Bud Light.
You don't need an advanced degree to understand "save for a rainy day". C'mon. These people create most of their problems.

I've been thinking lately - is "unemployment insurance" doing more harm than good? Maybe if that safety net was not there, and 1/10 that amount of money was used on education regarding "emergency funds", people would plan for themselves. Maybe there would be *less* suffering overall?

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Old 08-04-2009, 12:47 PM   #4
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I have to agree with you ERD50!

Love this section:

Quote:
They would sleep in her basement jammed with forgotten furniture, a few steps from a pair of cat litter boxes and below three narrow windows blocked by insulation.
They could develop careers in redecorating, cat sitting....

The problem is obvious, on a salary of $53,000 and two kids:

Quote:
After work he was the man at the bar with the thick roll of bills, the man he had always wanted to be, buying round after round for himself and his friends. The man with "the full pocket," as he liked to say. He took his son on a fishing trip. He took his family out to eat and told them to order whatever they wanted.
Quote:
"It's 28 hours, eight bucks an hour," she says. No benefits, she adds.
"You say, 'Thank you, but -- '?"
"Yup," she says. "I make more on unemployment."
Solution might be to work multiple jobs. and of course that career in pooper-scooping, which I do as favors for friends, can bring in a reasonable amount to cover the $40 bills they were fretting over.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
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Even as they have fallen on hard times, note how he spent their unemployment checks.
...He withdraws $700, which he tucks into a front pocket of his jeans. He buys a Pepsi, four packs of Marlboro Lights and $20 in gas. He pays the electric bill, buys brake pads and a $66 money order for the kids' health insurance, and hoses down the Cougar at a car wash. At the bank, he deposits $500 toward rent.

... The bartender, gray-haired, gravelly-voiced Valerie, delivers his winnings and a $2 draft...He downs a seventh beer, then an eighth at 3:04...

... In the kitchen, Scott gives Kelly the rest of the money in his pocket, $70, which needs to last until next week's unemployment money arrives...

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Old 08-04-2009, 01:07 PM   #6
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I've been thinking lately - is "unemployment insurance" doing more harm than good? Maybe if that safety net was not there, and 1/10 that amount of money was used on education regarding "emergency funds", people would plan for themselves. Maybe there would be *less* suffering overall?
Certainly so. Why bother saving when ole Uncle is just going to pay us if we lose our jobs?

And add that to the work disincentive that comes with unemployment payments being tied to not working. If I were laid off, I could not accept any job paying less than $14 per hour or so (and 40 hrs per week), or I would be literally losing money (before considering job related expenses like childcare, gas, maybe eating out, clothing, etc). Even though $14 per hour would be enough to keep the bills paid and food on the table for quite a while with a little draw down on the emergency fund.

That reminds me of the time I tried to hire some temps to work for me. I promised $15/hr, but only 4 to 8 hours a day for 4 days per week and only for 5-6 weeks. They both told me they make more than that on unemployment and so I thanked them for their time and we parted paths quickly. As a small business owner, it can suck having this type of interference in the labor market.

Apparently there is talk of extending the unemployment benefits further beyond 57 weeks. In these difficult economic times, anything goes I guess.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:09 PM   #7
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Even as they have fallen on hard times, note how he spent their unemployment checks.
....
Yes, the real victims here are the bars and convenience stores, all spiral down. I believe a recent thread described frugal ways to make your own sweet beverages, not Pepsi but something like powered products in your water bottle, they could even re-use the water bottles.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:40 PM   #8
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Certainly so. Why bother saving when ole Uncle is just going to pay us if we lose our jobs?
I wish one could "opt out" of these various programs. For example, if I could put 6 months take home pay in an account that I could not withdraw from while I had a job, I should be able to receive the unemployment insurance premium myself. And of course, I could not collect benefits then.

Get a new job, go through the ritual again. Or not.

I could have made good use of a few extra % in my paycheck over my career.

-ERD50
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:46 PM   #9
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Ah, but the idea of being self-insured is so passť. It would make countless gummint bureaucrats jobless. In this modern world, so many jobs are held by "middlemen". What would they do for a living?
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #10
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These lower end consumers/workers are almost as different from the average person on this board as some guy in a loin cloth in the Amazon.

Most of what we say from our comfortable very middle-class perspective would seem totally irrelevant and elitist to these people. (I use middle class in the broad socio-economic sense, not the narrow sense sometimes used on this board, and by Mr. Obama to mean part of the consumer society but just getting by.)

BTW, how much paid dog-walking do you think is available in a town with 18% unemployment?

As far as his drinking, it's what men do when they no longer feel like men.


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Old 08-04-2009, 02:01 PM   #11
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As far as his drinking, it's what men do when they no longer feel like men.


Ha
Ughh.....that one hurt Ha.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:12 PM   #12
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Hmmmm...from the article...poker playing, party man throwing the bucks around at the bar, dirtbike, Xbox, cell phone, Blackberry, layaway at KMart (for what I can just imagine ), etc
No savings.
I can't feel sorry for them. When I graduated college into economic conditions just like this, I found jobs - housecleaning, mechanic, department store clerk, substitute teacher, no matter what it paid. I was living in a job depressed area also.
I'm sure a lot of us have done the same.
Sitting around feeling sorry for themselves just doesn't cut it.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:35 PM   #13
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Whether they live and handle their money by "our standards" or not doesn't matter. Desperation can lead to violence. I've seen it too often. I hope their situation gets better.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:41 PM   #14
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I can't feel sorry for them.
We're supposed to feel sorry for the "reporter" who had to interview and write up this dreck on deadline...
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:43 PM   #15
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BbbamI,
I disagree. If they are going to take Our money, then they should be willing to handle their money by 'our standard'. Look at it this way. We are paying them, should not we be required to set the rules for them to receive this pay.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:54 PM   #16
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BbbamI,
I disagree. If they are going to take Our money, then they should be willing to handle their money by 'our standard'. Look at it this way. We are paying them, should not we be required to set the rules for them to receive this pay.
Yeah right...like all of us here agree on ss, investing, mortgages, children, health care...the list goes on. I'd hate to have to wait until everyone agreed until I could put supper on the table because I had made some mistakes and lost my job.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:12 PM   #17
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A part of me felt sorry for these people, but a part of me didn't. They made a lot of poor choices in life that has gotten them to this point.... The husband never did get much training in marketable skills other than body work/painting. The wife partied her way out of a promising education track. They never bothered to save a dime even when times were good. Even now they are throwing money away on alcohol, smokes, gas for the dirtbike. And they aren't starving if the husband has managed to gain 40 lbs since being laid off.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:12 PM   #18
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Unemployment insurance is a really important safety net and I don't understand how it interferes with private business. The purpose it serves is to allow people to have a bit of money for food, hopefully stay in their homes for a while and time to job hunt. Don't knock it just because you have ever needed it. I was laid off in 1975 and it took me about 4 months to find a job. We had to move, but that was OK. With a wife and 2 little kids, the UI coupled with our savings kept us from having to live on the street and allowed me to have a focused job hunt. My plan was to take anything I could get once we were within one month of it running out, but with an MBA, I figured I just needed some time to work through the interviews. And that's exactly what happened. I received several offers and took the one that suited us best.

I am thankful that I never needed to use it again, but one of our grown kids has been laid off several times, never for very long, but the UI allowed her to focus on getting a new job and not worry about the rent. In her case, even a MBA can't guarantee that a failing company won't shed workers. Also, working for newspapers is probably not the most stable job in the world these days :-).
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:15 PM   #19
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I sure hope St. Peter is less strict than many of you ladies and gentlemen.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:21 PM   #20
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Agree with that, Ha.
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