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Friday, December 27, 2013

Unemployment Benefits For 1.3 Million Americans Run Out Saturday

A view of the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington. (AP/ Evan Vucci)

(AP/ Evan Vucci)

On Saturday, unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans will expire.

Congress has refused to approve an extension of the benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Democrats have said they’ll try to get an extension passed once Congress returns, but Republicans want something in exchange.

House Speaker John Boehner has insisted that any extension would require cuts elsewhere.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with NPR’s Tamara Keith about whether Republicans and Democrats will reach an compromise.

Jeremy Hobson also speaks with Tammie Heazlit, who is one of the 1.3 million Americans who’ll lose her unemployment benefits.

Heazlit works two part time jobs — one at a chiropractor’s office, and another at an outdoor store. She counted on the unemployment benefit to fill out the rest of her cost of living. Once the benefit ends, Heazlit isn’t sure what she’ll do.

“I actually have a degree in hydro-geology and environmental science, environmental planning — storm water is my specialty, so it would be nice if I could use my other degree,” she said. “I’ll either hopefully get another part-time job, or I don’t know, sell plasma.”

Some critics of unemployment benefits argue that the program discourages the unemployed to get a job. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is one of those critics.

“I would like to invite Sen. Rand Paul to live off of $320 a week, and work either not at all, or a couple part time jobs, which is what the majority of people have and see what it’s like,” Heazlit said. “When I sit in the unemployment office — and I was number 366 in line when I was there at 7 o’clock in the morning — every single person that is in that office has a legitimate story. There’s nobody who is sitting there that is slacking, and I’m sure there are slackers…but it is by far not the majority. These people are looking for jobs, these people are applying for jobs left and right.”

Guests

  • Tamara Keith, NPR Congressional correspondent. She tweets @tamarakeithNPR.
  • Tammie Heazlit, one of 1.3 million whose unemployment benefits expire on Dec. 28.

Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

This is HERE AND NOW from NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Jeremy Hobson. Tomorrow, 1.3 million people who have been relying on unemployment benefits will have to figure out what to do without them. These are people who have been out of work for at least six months and are relying on money from the federal government, not from states.

Congress failed to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed before leaving Washington for the holidays. Now Democrats say they're still trying to get an extension passed, but Republicans say any extension would require cuts elsewhere. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith is with us from Washington. Tamara, welcome.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Thank you.

HOBSON: So Democrats have been saying they want to extend these benefits, but are they willing to make those cuts to other programs that it sounds like Republicans would require for an extension?

KEITH: Well, they are sort of noncommittal on that. Right now they are clearing enjoying beating Republicans up over this. One liberal group is up with ads attacking Republicans for not extending these benefits, especially over the holidays. But also Democrats really do believe in this, and they say long-term unemployment is quite bad right now. There are still four million people who have been unemployed six months or longer.

So even though the overall unemployment rate is down, the situation for these folks is truly dire. But then when you ask them, well, would you be willing to find cuts to save that $25 billion that it'll cost to extend these benefits for a year, they're a little squishy. They say that in the past this has always been an emergency program that hasn't been paid for, though reading between the lines you get the sense that if pressed they would be open to modifying the program to begin phasing it out and also to finding savings elsewhere in the budget to pay for it.

HOBSON: Well, where would those savings come from?

KEITH: There's a lot of off-the-shelf savings that Congress seems to have been saving up, waiting for things like this; items like selling off unused federal buildings, things like that. Democrats talk about closing tax loopholes. Republicans obviously wouldn't go for that. They want real spending cuts but might be willing to settle for eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, things like that.

But there's one thing that might be pretty easy for them to agree on, and the dollar figure matches up pretty well. That's the farm bill. There are about $20 billion of savings in the farm bill that's being discussed right now. Those savings come from eliminating the direct payments program and also trimming food stamps.

And so it's possible that if they come to an agreement on the farm bill, that could very easily match up with an extension of unemployment benefits, and both things could possibly happen and be paid for.

HOBSON: And just so we know, the farm bill is not a done deal by any stretch right now, right? They've still got to figure that out?

KEITH: Well, they're still negotiating it, though the sense as negotiators were leaving town was that they were very, very close and possibly just weren't announcing it because if they announced it, it would be torn apart during the holiday season.

HOBSON: Well, what about those arguing against an extension of the unemployment benefits because there are people, I'm thinking of Senator Rand Paul, who's been quite vocal about the reasons not to extend these benefits for the long-term unemployed.

KEITH: Well, there are a lot of people, including some economists and a whole lot of Republicans, who believe that actually having these long-term benefits for such a long time has actually contributed to the long-term unemployment problem. They argue that people are holding out for higher-paying jobs because they have these unemployment benefits to help them make ends meet.

And they also argue that the unemployment rate overall is down and that this program already has gone on longer than in any past recession, like way longer. But those who support the extensions say that this recession was worse than anything we've seen since the Great Depression and that, you know, many unemployed people who I've spoken to say we are doing our best, we're trying hard, and, no, we wouldn't prefer unemployment benefits to a job.

HOBSON: And we're going to hear from one of those people, by the way, in just a moment, Tamara, but these negotiations could take a while, it sounds like. What are people supposed to do? I guess they just have to deal without having unemployment benefits starting tomorrow because it doesn't sound like there'd be a short-term fix, would there?

KEITH: There's talk of a short-term fix. I don't know what the political realities are for it. Democrats in the Senate and the House are pushing of the idea of a short-term, three-month extension while a longer-term extension is worked out. They don't want that three-month extension to be paid for, and that might make it difficult to get it through the House, where Speaker John Boehner, as you said, says any extension needs to be paid for.

One thing worth noting, though, is that it isn't just Democrats here. There are Republicans from states that have been especially hard hit, states like Nevada, who are on board with this, saying let's do an extension, this isn't a time to cut people off.

HOBSON: And of course now they've got to go back to their home districts and hear from constituents, or they're in their home districts.

KEITH: Exactly. They are in their home districts, and these stories are likely to get louder and louder in the waning week and a half they're back home because this is a great local public - great local human interest story. And newspapers around the country are going to be doing stories about people who lost their benefits over the holiday season.

HOBSON: NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith. Tamara, thanks so much.

KEITH: You're welcome.

HOBSON: Well, that's the view from Washington. Now let's see how all this is playing out with the people who will be losing their benefits. Tammie Heazlit is one of them. She lost her job at the end of June. And she joins us from Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor. Tammie, what are you going to do after tomorrow?

(LAUGHTER)

TAMMIE HEAZLIT: Well, I'm already pretty frugal. I don't know. I mean, how do you play when you're earning $320 a week? You know, I'm one of the fortunate ones. I have two part-time jobs. Both of my part-time employers are fabulous. I feel very fortunate. I have a roof over my head, even though it leaks. There is a lot of people who are a lot worse off than I am.

HOBSON: So you have two part-time jobs, but you're still collecting unemployment benefits?

HEAZLIT: Yeah, to fill in the benefit, to make up to $320 a week.

HOBSON: And what are you doing in the part-time jobs? Is there any possibility that those could become fulltime jobs?

HEAZLIT: One of them is a massage therapy job. I'm working for a chiropractor. It's a wonderful office. I feel very fortunate to be working there. The other one is I work for an outdoor store in the camping department and sometimes in the apparel department. I actually have a degree in hydrogeology, environmental science, environmental planning. Storm water is my specialty.

So it would be nice if I could use my other degree, or I've also applied for a third part-time job with Oakland County, which would allow me to continue working for the chiropractor. And, I mean, it would be - it's tricky balancing different part-time jobs. Fortunately, I have it good where I work for good people that work with me, but not everybody has that possibility.

So I'll either hopefully get another part-time job, or I don't know, start selling plasma.

(LAUGHTER)

HOBSON: Well, and as the economy has gotten better, at least for a lot of people around the country over the last few years, and the recovery has picked up a bit, have you noticed that? Has it been easier to get the part-time work, to try to fill out what you're not getting from your unemployment benefits?

HEAZLIT: No, well, I'm dealing with one thing that I just turned 55. So I think they look at your resume, and they see your experience, and they figure they can figure somebody younger for less amount of money. When you have a lot of job experience, if you apply for something that is - requires significantly less as far as credentials go, then they don't want to hire you because they see you as somebody who will probably leave at some point in time.

So you have to kind of hide your credentials when you apply. But the truth of the matter is that if I were to get something like an administrative assistant position full-time, I probably would leave at some point in time. So it's - you know, if I were able to get something using my degree.

I mean, it's really complex, and like I said, I love working for the chiropractor I work for, and I really want to be dedicated to working for him, but there's only so many massages that you can do in a week, and then that, you know, ebbs and flows. There are some weeks where it's slow and other weeks where it's busy. So, that makes it really difficult.

HOBSON: As you know, there are many people in this country who think that unemployment benefits simply keep people from looking for work. They don't incentivize job-seeking. And one of those people who's been talking about that is Senator Rand Paul, the Republican of Kentucky who said earlier this month that another extension of the benefits would be a disservice to the jobless because the longer people are on unemployment benefits, the harder it is for them to get hired because people don't want to hire somebody that's been out of work for a long time. What do you say to that?

HEAZLIT: Well, first of all I would like to say that he could spend his time much better by developing some sort of a mechanism that would incentivize employers to hire the unemployed. And number two, I would like to invite Senator Rand Paul to live off of $320 a week and working, you know, either not at all or a couple part-time jobs, which is what the majority of people have, and see what it's like.

When I sit in the unemployment office, and I was number 366 in line when I was there at 7 o'clock in the morning - this is at the Conflict Resolution Office - very single person that is in that office has a legitimate story. There's nobody who was sitting there slacking. And I'm sure there are slackers, I'm sure there are people that mooch off the system here and there. But it is by far not the vast majority. These people are looking for jobs, they're applying for jobs left and right. Rand Paul is out of touch with reality. That's the bottom line.

HOBSON: Have you got any friends that think the same thing, that have talked to you in a way that...

HEAZLIT: Oh, absolutely.

HOBSON: Yeah?

HEAZLIT: I have some friends that have - you know, they make postings on Facebook about these things, and, you know, I always answer, I try to be respectful about it but - and say hey, I'm one of these people. The problem I think is that we have so much political rhetoric, and people align themselves with some politician, and I guess maybe it makes them feel better than somebody else if they're able to adhere to this mantra.

They find ways to blame the unemployed. They find ways to blame individuals that are stuck in this system instead of really looking at the fact that the system does not give you a way out. The people that are passing these laws don't really understand what the impact is. So, yeah, I have friends, and I try to correct their thinking, but inevitably what it does is I think it really creates a wedge between you and that person, whether - you know, not from my end but from their end because people are really attached to the way they want to believe.

HOBSON: Tammie Heazlit of Pontiac, Michigan, whose unemployment benefits are scheduled to run out on Saturday. Tammie, thanks so much for joining us, and I hope the New Year brings you the kind of job that you're looking for.

HEAZLIT: Thanks. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

HOBSON: And a quick check on another story we're following. Over the past year, a debate has erupted among physicists about what exactly happens when you fall into a black hole. It is a spirited argument that revolves around some really deep, deep concepts like being spaghetti-fied and whether holes have insides or not. Well, that story is going to be taken up later on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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  • Thomas Johnson

    I agree with Tammie’s assertion that politicians like Rand Paul are out of touch when it comes to the plight of the unemployed. But their plight is part of a wider problem that I hear little about. Growing up in the 1950s, I read predictions of a future in which labor-saving machines would give Americans shorter work weeks and ample leisure time. In the present, computers, automation, robotics etc. have indeed reduced the demand for labor (as has out-sourcing), but the typical full-time job is still 40 or more hours per week. Rather than allowing a persistent unemployment/underemployment rate of 10 percent or more, policy makers should consider a 10 percent reduction in the average work week. We could have more people working, with more leisure time, and money to spend in our free time.

  • Jonahan Patz

    I’m 69 years old, living on Social Security. I had a part time job to help with the cost of living which I lost because the company closed the division I was working for. I want to work. I like to work. I need to work and without Unemployment compensation I will lose my home.
    If Rand Paul thinks I prefer to sit home and live on U/C instead of working he’s got his head where the sun isn’t shining.
    His Senate income is nearly EVEN times higher than mine. I invite him to try and live on what I live on.

    • Harry Price

      there are a lot of things you can do to make money. Problem is that people like you do not want to WORK…!

      • Tammie Heazlit

        You are incorrect. We DO want to work. I take it you are no where close to being a Sr. There is very definite age discrimination in this country, even if you would like to turn a blind eye to it. Best watch your words and attitude. You don’t know what the future holds for you.

      • Wow Factor

        Harry you are being a real JERK. You will reap what you sew one day. Remember not to put your Faith in what you have today, because it could ‘easily’ be gone tomorrow. Wise Up!

  • Arion Lusitanicus

    Ms Heazlit is not only correct in her evaluation of the Rand Pauls out there but she is articulate and appears to carry no grudge. I have experience with being under employed (and unemployed) and it grinds daily at your self-worth. I find most people who are financially stable seem to think little of people who are suffering. Why there is such animosity baffles me, especially since we are supposed to be a ‘Christian nation’. We might be a Christian nation for 1 hour on Sundays but the remainder of the week most could care less. I wish the best for Ms Heazlit and I hope this report does her some good.

    • Harry Price

      Read loops tear on this page and you will see what a phony she is.

      • Tammie Heazlit

        Please explain to me how I’m a phony.

  • Jeanine H.

    I would like to thanks Ms. Heazlit for her comments. Like her, I too just turned 55 and am actively in the job market looking for a place to use my science and small business background. I work 5 part-time jobs, have a resume with experience and degrees that allude to my age, and am having all sorts of trouble finding full-time work. I did not qualify for UI extensions so have been “living” on $400 a month. Not easy! It is insulting that politicians consider un/underemployed people as slackers.

    • Harry Price

      why don’t you get a law mower and cut lawns or get some paint brushes and find houses that need painting. I do house painting with very little equipment and do very well. Get off your high horse and your can and WORK!

      • Quake Lollerama

        I don’t know where you live but it’s all Mexicans doing that here, and they don’t hire white people.

      • Tammie Heazlit

        ummm. SHe said she’s working 5 jobs.What if she doen’t have a lawn mower already? How should she aquire one? When should she mow lawns inbetween the five other jobs she is working?

        • disqus_w802mycg0g

          How can anyone work five part time jobs and only take home $400 a month. I don’t believe this for a minute.

    • disqus_w802mycg0g

      How can anyone work five part time jobs and only take home $400 a month. I don’t believe this crap.

      • Tammie Heazlit

        Why are you so quick to doubt and judge? What has she said here that makes her so untrustworthy? We have an issue in this country to pigeon hole people to be this or that without knowing a thing about them, without knowing what their path has been, what they’ve been through or are going through. IF WE personally haven’t experienced it, it must not be true.

        Someone can work 5 part time jobs that don’t offer many hours and don’t pay well. We don’t know the specifics of Jeanine’s circumstances and there is no more indication that she is lying than that she isn’t . So whether or not you personally choose to believe her, that is only a choice you make based on your own life and prejudices, not facts.

  • Loopster88

    I was listening as I was delivery driving today, one of my part-time jobs. Tammie Heazlit gets $320 per week, thus $1280 per month plus whatever she earns on her part-time jobs. I gather, since she didn’t mention family or having children to feed, that she is single. I would LOVE that gravy on top of what I make and many weeks I don’t get close to $320 a week. Maybe I don’t live as posh a lifestyle as Ms. Heazlit but I am in her age range, get by fine and have some to save as well, and I am not on unemployment. Knowing Sen. Paul’s reputation, I’m sure he could too.

    • Tammie Heazlit

      Loopster88; I do not get $320 per week PLUS whatever I earn, I claim what I earn and that is deducted from the unemployment so that the total is $1280 a month. I purchased a car a year before I was laid off and I can’t get out from under it because I owe too much. I would have to continue to make payments even if I sold it and bought a beater. I have tried. My car payments and insurance total more than half of my income. I also have a federal student loan that I am paying off…still….I have multiple degrees and professional certificates. I have many talents and skills and am a great and hard working employee with a strong work ethic. I also have a strong personal ethic; I took care of my elderly father for 5 years prior to his death and didn’t get paid for that time. Similarly, I cared for my mother the last four years of her life. IN order to do that, I turned down two jobs, that had I accepted either, I would be financially set at the moment. However, I was a sick kid growing up and my mom had me diagnosed 2 years before the Dr’s did…in the days before internet. She was a wonderful mother and I felt that my choice was the right one, if not the most financially affluent one. I consider myself lucky for having been present for both my parents at the ends of their lives and to give back to them. Maybe we have a different ethic there…… I inherited his house as payment for caring for my dad. It is from the 50s and has not been updated. Since it becoming mine, I’ve had to replace the water heater, the washer and dryer and stove. I have concerns about the furnace….All replacements were purchased as second hand. Currently the water softener is not working, and three sinks do not work along with one toilet. I cannot afford to get any of this fixed. The roof is leaking, and although I tried to repair it and have tarps over it, It has not worked. One of the tarps has come free in a corner, but because of the weather, I am unable to safely go back up and re-secure it properly. The house has the original siding from the 70s. There are programs, but I cannot afford insurance and so I do not qualify. In the meantime, an acquaintance of mine who has a very substantial portfolio that includes two houses, one for winter, one for summer, well, she doesn’t work. So despite having a millionaire father and a fully pregnant bank account and retirement, she does qualify and uses these programs like there’s no tomorrow. All the while she complains about the takers. I do not go out to eat or to the movies. I do not subscribe to any TV. I do not use credit cards. I do get the internet as it is essential for job seeking and because I am trying to start a business of my own on the side. Several actually. when and if I shop, its at the salvation army store, or the dollar store.When I buy food, I buy the managers specials. My biggest expense is my rescue dogs, who are my family. Just because I am strapped doesn’t mean I have any right to ditch them and I don’t intend to. They are emotionally complex creatures and it would break their hearts, and mine as well, to have to get rid of them. It is not up for discussion. I have spent many hours of my life volunteering for a variety of environmental and educational causes, as well as with my local government. In the meantime, my down time, I work to help improve the local water quality programs because they are so poorly administered. I am working to improve the laws to protect the Great Lakes. It is difficult for me to continue much of that since I am balancing working between two jobs, which means I have very little time off, not to mention I need to conserve my gas money. On top of this, ten years ago I survived a traumatic event, I was the victim of a crime, and I lost almost everything.and had to move across the country to get away from the perpetrator. I could go on with a multitude of details, but I think you might get the point,unless you choose not to. You do not begin to know the individual details of peoples lives and you have no right to judge them unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. There is NOTHING “Posh” about my lifestyle. The entire reason I agreed to do this interview is not because I’m running with “woe is me”, its because I have been privvy to see what it is the poor in this country are subjected to and It breaks my heart. I have to believe that I have enough education and skills, and have built up enough positive karma, if you will, that I will eventually get out of this hole. But there are many who do not have that vision to look forward with. There are serious issues with the way the programs operate, they are terribly ineffective and inefficient and do nothing to give a hand up to those involved.Our country should be embarrassed for how it treats the most vulnerable! You should be ashamed of your own comments. There are many viable ways that would SAVE the government money, if these programs functioned in a different way. In addition, these same improvements would increase skills for the unemployed or under employed. They could actually work FOR those involved instead of making them jump through crazy ineffectual useless hoops. My initial contact to NPR was to bring this to light and to try and work to improve the program. What Mr Paul suggests does nothing to improve the economy, the status of the unemployed or the functioning of the program. All his statements to is demonstrate his own lack of understanding of the problems. If you think Rand Paul could live under similar conditions with no access to his other accounts etc, then I encourage you to encourage him to take me up on his offer.

      • Loopster88

        Tammie, none of this was near to being revealed in the piece on NPR. All that was presented were the basics: that you have debts and that. you received $320 per week plus having 2 part-time jobs. I imagine that you presented this info to your interviewer. Since I was not privy to any of the voluminous information you posted above, I based my reaction on the meat of the interview and am not “ashamed of my own comments” at all. As for Sen. Paul and the issues you raise, maybe yourself or a journalist can go to these companies and ask why they are not hiring people that are clearly qualified but “unemployed/ underemployed” which means they are hiring people that are under-qualified and/or already have a job, according to your complaint.

        • Tammie Heazlit

          You may have missed it since i didn’t dwell on the statement, but I did say that I deduct what I earn from unemployment.

          But besides that, you’ve missed my point. You made a sweeping judgement on me based on very little information. Not only that, you made a similar judgement on the entire 1.3 million people who also lost their benefits on Saturday, knowing even less about any of them than you did about me. It is so very easy to make assumptions about people we don’t know, and it seems to be especially easy for politicians to garner support by creating a them and us scenario out of everything. In this weeks news, the unemployed and underemployed are the ones being demonized and therefore marginalized based on assumptions that have no basis in reality or fact.

          This is a conversation we need to be having in this country. Why are so many so ready to believe the worst about someone that they know nothing about? Where is the compassion, the empathy for what another human being is going through? You are now familiar with my story to a degree. But every single one of those 1.3 million has a story too. THAT is my point.

          And I’d still like to see Rand Paul live off of $320 a week for 26 weeks with all his current bills and no access to his bank accounts….just like us.

          • Loopster88

            I made an observation, given limited information, compared to my own. They didn’t have to enumerate all your debts but NPR could have done a better job of shedding light on your situation. I did not pass judgement on yourself or as you say “the entire 1.3 million” losing their benefits. Now that I know your full situation, I can understand your plight. I’ve had my benefits run out and did all I could to get work. As you said there are 1.3million other stories. Some are in your situation and as you know there those that abuse the system. I have worked with people that keep their hours just under a given amount so they can stay on unemployment. For some people, the incentive is to stay on compensation as long as possible. At some point the faucet gets turned off. The funds have to come from somewhere.

          • Tammie Heazlit

            There are ways to weed out the abusers. We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. I’m not trying to beat up on you, my point was no one should immediately suppose a person is abusing the system. They should suppose this person has a story. If after learning the story it is revealed that the individual is misusing the system, then they should be reported. The vast majority of individuals in the 1.3 million + 73,000 as of yesterday now, are hard working law abiding citizens that are NOT abusing the system. The rhetoric that is spewed about suggests that the majority are abusing the system.

            Again, its easy to fund the Benefits, but the tea party and the Paul Rands need to let go of the idea that the wealthiest individuals and the most profitable companies shouldn’t be paying higher taxes than they are right now. They both should be. That’s another discussion and I’ll leave it at that.

            Peace, Namaste, Have a beneficial 2014!

  • Harry Price

    Tammie Heazlit was a prop for the liberal Democrats.

  • Harry Price

    I solicit in subdivisions to wash windows, paint the exterior of houses, and mow lawns. I do not ask for unemployment since I earn a decent income. Most of the people getting unemployment checks could find work if they want to, but it involves work that is below their societal standards no matter the decent income.

    • Wow factor

      Harry You are a looser! Get a REAL job. Your working like that to avoid paying child support. Under the table jobs so you can AVOID paying taxes like us REAL Americans. Your pathetic. How DARE you insult these ladies. You are obviously a woman hater! JERK!

  • Quake Lollerama

    Watch the spikes in gun rampages, people have given up at this point and what’s your government doing? Contemplating amnesty for 11 million illegals meaning those folks will now be competing for the jobs that aren’t there as well.

  • Nobodys Fool

    I have also experienced unemployment, underemployment, and even homelessness (with a post-graduate degree) but I have never taken a dime of public assistance in the form of unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid, etc., even at times I have surely qualified for them, because I don’t believe the taxpayer should have to foot the bill for my life choices. If Tammie Heazlitt is working 2 jobs and still can’t make ends meet then maybe Tammie needs to divest herself of some of her debt (like her home) the same way other people (like me) have had to do because they couldn’t afford their previous overinflated standard of living. No doubt it sucks for her, but hey I am working full time and taking NO public assistance and can barely make ends meet myself – why should I have to support Tammie, too? …tired of people acting like they are entitled to receive something for nothing – that’s what got us where we are in the first place.

    • Wow Factor

      Apparently you are ‘somebody’s fool’. When you became ‘unemployed’ I’m sure you were not prepared for it…clearly because you went homeless. How could you go homeless you slouch! Clearly you were lazy at one point too! I’m sure when you were homeless you felt some moments of entitlement…like to a ‘meal’, a ‘hot bath’ and a bed to sleep in. Poor Tammy all she wants is to NOT be homeless and live the American Dream. At least she’s still working. Your the one who is the ‘proven’ slacker. Keep contributing to the American System…we all have to do it. THAT’s what America is about! Not kick um when their down. Somebody should have kicked you when you were down. And because you seem to have forgotten what it’s like..and therefore have NO compassion for others…I’m CERTAIN you will come up on hard times or even homelessness again…Just so you can be reminded of a few things. so Sad.

    • Tammie Heazlit

      I”ll start with good for you for never taking a penny of public assistance. You’re a better person than I am apparently.

      Now that we’ve got that settled….

      I take it you didn’t read my long response to another poster. Currently I have a roof over my head, despite the fact that it leaks. I own my house outright because I inherited it. If I were to sell my house, I could very well end up on the street, and then I may end up on greater public assistance than I have had to take up to this point. I would also have to put my dogs into other homes or have them euthanized and that is simply out of the question. In Michigan we have only 20 weeks of unemployment, and I’ve only received 18 of those weeks, due to a glitch. The entire time i have been working at least part time. I won’t go into my expenses etc again, please read my other posting that goes into great detail. However, I’ve never taken the full allotment that I am allowed, I have consistently reported what I have made. Why can I still not make ends meet? Well, massage ebbs and flows. Clients cancel at the last minute and then I don’t have time to fill the time slot. I don’t do fluff and buff, I do therapeutic body work. I have to pay for licensing, insurance, sheets, oils, and my own physical body maintenance as it is extremely taxing on me physically. I’m fortunate to work for a chiropractor that I can get adjustments. Our office has long hours to accommodate the client needs. SO there are days that I have 3-4 massages in the morning and another 4 in the evening. I get home at 8pm after leaving at 7:30 in the morning. This is three days a week, and every other saturday. Today, given the holidays, I only have two clients. I work on the computer inbetween looking for work and trying to drum up business for my self employment that I am trying to start up in between. The other days I work retail my other job. That pays a little over $10 and hour. Just because I make myself available on the days I’m not doing massage, doesn’t mean they schedule me. I’ve been proactive tho, and am picking up shifts in other departments.

      As far as me living an over inflated standard of living, I have significantly less debt than the majority of americans across the board. My car, my student loan, and a best buy purchase of a desktop computer prior to loosing my job, that I am now paying off. I don’t have credit cards. I pay for everything in cash. If i don’t have the cash for it, I assume I can’t afford it.

      I think what this is really about is that we have a very judgmental society that is quick to point the finger so that they can feel superior to someone else. I’ve been on “public assistance” for less than 6 months, and despite having opportunity to receive food stamps, I have chosen not to at this point.

      You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me or the other 1/3 million people who are on unemployment. You don’t know their individual stories, what they’ve struggled with, what they’ve suffered through. You know nothing about any of us. To judge us based on your life experience is like judging the ocean because you’ve swam in a pool. There is nothing to compare.

      The bottom line, is I have nothing to prove to you or anyone else. My intent in this entire thing was to find a way to address the inefficiency in the system and they were looking for someone who was going to loose their benefits. But I am proud to have been able to be the voice for a very judged and marginalized portion of society. They, we, have nothing to be ashamed of. You on the other hand, do.

    • Siabash Shirani

      So far not a single person has identified Unemployment Benefits correctly. Remember that certain deduction from your wages earned from your paychecks when you had a job…News flash its known as Unemployment Insurance that while you were employed was deducted from your earnings and placed in (for lack of a better term) a form of your personal insurance savings account in case you become unemployed without the benefit of you earning interest on those funds but the state absolutely does gain the interest accrued. So when you receive those UI benefits which is the correct term aka Unemployment Insurance benefits you are actually tapping those already deducted earnings that the state was saving on your behalf. By no means are you affecting the rest of the working class or drawing from some public assistance. Your UI benefits are your hard earned dollars saved as insurance for your own use if needed, for all those negative commenters and those on unemployment unaware of where the money comes from I hope I’ve clarfied this grossley mis-understood fact of what UI benefits are, where it comes from and whos entitled to it. Think about like this…You held a job somewhere for 10yrs and during this time those UI benefits deducted off each pay period for the past 10yrs equates to approximately $35,000.00. Why is it then the maximum insurance amount you can collect monthyl is $1800.00 for a total of 26 weeks or aka 6months? Do the math people 1800 x 6 = $10,800 and after those 6 months are up you run out of your UI benefits. So tell me then where the heck is or who stole my remaining $24,200 that I should be able to rightfully collect from my own state appointed insurance savings account in this very event of loss of employment hmmmmmmm?

  • Adapting to Poverty

    Tammie nailed it. So much cluelessness in government. I voted for Obama because the choices were between a borderline socialist and a clueless billionaire. Now unemployed and trying to get by on that same $320 a week at the age of 64, I’m getting reject notices in less than 24 hours for jobs I am well qualified for. Does this tool, Senator Paul, think anybody actually ASPIRES to living from hand to mouth on government “services”? I, too, suggest he try it for 26 weeks. I also believe Mr Price needs to be on the clueless list, too, because he thinks that those of us getting unemployment checks don’t apply for work that is “below our societal standards”???? Wow.

    • jonathanpulliam

      While I agree with much of your premise, I feel you are mis-characterizing Rand Paul’s position on the extension of benefits issue. (Just so you know, some of us never even got the existing 2-year extension.) Over and over again, Rand Paul has emphasized the need to FUND these proposed extensions as opposed to borrowing, i.e. deepening the budget deficit hole further. This is not at all unreasonable. Obama is hardly a “borderline socialist”, by the way. He is a yet to be indicted war criminal seemingly determined to reduce “the American way of life” to a groveling dependency on a nanny-state command government model. As you noted, the Republican alternative was little better — seeking transparently to reduce workers’ collective bargaining,and/or wage increase demands generally, by maintaining unacceptably high levels of domestic U.S. unemployment due primarily to outsourcing. Too bad that there is no credible third party alternative to being caught between a doctrinaire “rock” and an anti-worker “hard place”.

      • Tammie Heazlit

        We’ll have to agree to disagree regarding your characterization of Obama. But regarding Rand Paul’s stand, I understand the need to fund the program, but then why are we providing subsidies to some of the most profitable corporations that pay frighteningly little in income tax due to off shore banking etc? Why do we continue to subsidize the oil industry? the Cotton Industry, the Brazilian Cotton Industry? Tax rates are the lowest they’ve been for the wealthiest Americans since the Hoover administration. This, while our infrastructure crumbles; Bridges, Levees and Dams that have outlived their safe life span…or lets discuss the water infrastructure in this country….something the wealthiest americans use/stress significantly more than the average citizen. Why aren’t they contributing to such things? It used to be considered un-american to NOT pay taxes, to not want to. Don’t try and convince me that this is about there not being a way to fund the unemployment benefits….there isn’t a way to fund the unemployment benefits without the wealthiest 1% paying their fair share. And that is who is contributing to Rand Paul’s election. Lets not pretend here that this is about anything else. So we put the most vulnerable of citizens in a serious bind because of the greed of the wealthiest….Maybe I’m not materialistic enough, but what do you do with that much money? It certainly isn’t being used to create jobs or help solve the worlds most pressing problems, with the exception of a very few. I just want enough to not be watching my bank every second of every day to make sure all my bills are paid on time, and that there is enough left over for food. It would be even better if I could save something for retirement, so I don’t end up depending on government later on. But as long as we don’t have an honest discussion about the disparity in this country between the wealthiest and the rest of us, and acknowledge it for what it is, we won’t get anywhere.

        I like how the french do their elections; Each candidate gets X amount of money to spend and that’s that. Politicians can’t be bought. Seems like its more akin to representing the people.

  • Māris Adamovics

    I have already changed 2 peoples life already this week and got them on the way to financial freedom.. This works and its real no games. I know people are skeptical and I understand, but you cant be skeptical and broke, It just doesn’t work.. Just take a look at this opportunity what have you got to lose? Its free to take a look.. Inbox me and let me show you..

    People say im in a pyramid scheme (lol) Thats what people use to describe something they dont understand.. If pyramid scheme means making money then call it that, hell you can call it what you want. If pyramid means broke then thats not what im into. You are already in a pyramid scheme of life.. Think about it you use all your money to pay bills or something else. People get rich off of you and the hard work you do everyday, but your OK with that? If I say you can generate more income the same way wealthy people do then you cant believe it..People use your money to get rich, but you wont use it to get rich.. Does that make since?? Change your mindset and you will change your bank account..

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  • Dave

    Wow. they run out of money for the unemployed but they have plenty of money to bail out wallstreet crooks and companies with billions and billions of dollars. What about all those companies that got bailed out with top executives getting millions of dollars from poor hard working Americans in bonus?

  • Running on Empty

    First off we need to just stop being so hateful & judgemental on people, I’m sick of rude idiots putting their 2cents into a conversation just to belittle or just post negative comments cause it makes them feel better! We need to stick together! this unemployment situation is No joke & whether or not you have a degree the jobs that are even available (if any) are too low in pay & hours. There are way too many legitimate cases now & it’s a problem, but the system has been a joke from day one not keeping up w/ the people who are actively looking & filling out their provided paper work & submitting it….(job searching proof) they should have been cut off after they noticed the same people on unemployment over & over & no proof of actively searching! (Red flag maybe, investigate, something!) The people who helped us get to this point are the slackers that sit around all day playing video games, smoking, drinking just living paycheck to paycheck taking advantage of the broken system, we all know 1 or more people in this category! Not to mention the certain ethnicities that get it right off rip & truly ride it out & some even feel its owed to them. Then you have the people who are legitimately trying to seek employment & have worked years at an actual job period! & in a specific field. There are too many issues that play into unemployment & we the people ( if that even exist anymore) need to do something to get it across to our messed up government/system to keep these important decisions & procedures in affect & get the bums off of unemployment that actually “take advantage of it” in many, many ways! it’s a shame how many free rides are out there but the real legitimate people have to suffer & keep paying into everything, yet we also have to try & afford to keep health insurance,( penalties now if you dont carry it). Unemployment was suppose to be a helpful get by tool, not a live on it til I wanna get up & actually try to get a job. What ever happened to this country keeping it within or bartering? Now its all outsourced & its screw our lives, homes, jobs as an american! Something seriously needs to change before were in the bread line once a mth!!!

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