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Open Letter to My Congressional Representatives, Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi

Dear Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi,

First, I want to say thank you very, very much for standing up for the middle class about the President’s tax-cut compromise.

I have asked my Congressman, Rep, Polis as well as Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall NOT to support the President’s tax cut ‘compromise’. This ‘compromise’ not only adds to the deficit, it immediately leaves out 4.5 million people – the 99ers to continue suffering in what were once unimaginable ways:  by finding themselves – myself – literally homeless and unable to obtain basic necessities such as shampoo, toothpaste, food for my dog and, literally – toilet paper.

While I did qualify for SNAP benefits, the Employment First program has made it nearly impossible to remain ‘compliant’ in order to receive the only benefits I am ‘lawfully’ entitled to.  I have not been able to purchase my medical prescriptions for months.

As you are well aware, there will be ANOTHER 4 million 99ers in the coming few months. This plan will leave 8 million people OUT in the COLD by early next year. The White House has not done anything to resolve the long-term unemployment, job creation and hiring practices in this legislative nightmare of a ‘compromise’.

In Colorado, the CDLE has stated that there are already more than 26,000 people who have exhausted all of their U.I. benefits.  While it’s certainly true that some of the 26,000 who exhausted all benefits have probably found work, the fact that the unemployment rate in Colorado (and across the country ) is increasing, it is also obvious that many – most of these people have not found work.

The CDLE also provided the following information:

  • There are now 52,000 people at some point in an EUC claim (at Tiers 1, 2, or 3) and they will not be permitted to move to the next Tier or to SEB.  Up to 3,500 people in this group will exhaust each week beginning the week ending 11/27/2010.
  • 19,000 people are currently on SEB and will see no more payments after the week ending 12/4/10.

These figures demonstrate that in addition to the 26,000 who have already exhausted their benefits, there will be another 71,000 people in Colorado who will exhaust all benefits in the coming weeks and months – even if Congress does reauthorize the program by extending the filing deadline of the current EUC program without adding additional weeks via a ‘Tier 5’.    This means that in the coming months, there will be nearly 100,000 people in the State who have exhausted all U.I. benefits – many of whom will have no income whatsoever.

There are approximately 150,000 who are currently collecting unemployment compensation at this time.  As you can see, the President’s plan will only help one-half of all unemployed workers in the long run; it won’t help the long-term unemployed at all.

The UI extensions included in the President’s compromise would cost $56b; that is 6.2% of the total price tag. That is what President Obama and the Republicans are willing to spend to help those who have suffered the most in this recession. Like many 99ers, I am absolutely stunned with President Obama’s unwillingness to help 8 million unemployed, middle-class professionals who were once thriving and successfuly participating in this country’s economy and the so-called ‘American Dream’.

To make matters worse, this week, VP Biden’s Chief Economic Advisor Jared Bernstein, told CNN (when asked why millions of 99ers were being left out), that the long term unemployed need job skills, training – not more UI.  Bernstein said it in a way as to suggest that the long term unemployed have no job skills to begin with. This is unbelievable and outrageous.

I am an unemployed business analyst in CO. I have a B.S. in Finance and have nearly 15 years of experience working in the financial services industry and as a business analyst.

Despite my efforts to apply for nearly 700 positions, I have been out of work for more than 2 years. In an effort to upgrade my skill sets, I am trying to complete a WIA training program which will allow me to obtain the MSCE Certification in SQL Server Database Development so that I can increase my chances of finding work in many sectors of the economy.

However, I have had no income since May when My U.I. benefits ran out. I am not able to purchase a $2 one-way bus ticket without asking to borrow it from my 64-year mother who has allowed me to live at her house rent-free.  This has made it nearly impossible for me to complete my training,to search for work effectively and to attend the rare interview that I have been granted; I’ve had 3 interviews in 2 years.

I have applied for assistance in two counties, but because I am not elderly, disabled and have no children, I have been denied any form of help, despite the fact that I have paid taxes my entire working life (since age 17) to fund these programs for which I am now denied.

I obtained my B.S. as a night student, I have a wealth of job skills; the skills and experience I have acquired just don’t fit the profile to work at McDonalds or Walmart.  I know because, like all long term unemployed, I’ve tried, only to be told ‘no’ – if I was fortunate enough to receive any response at all.

I will be frank: President Obama has probably lost me at this point. His administration is doing NOTHING to help the millions of middle class workers – professionals – who have job skills but can not find work. The discrimination based on age (those in the 40+ age group) is blatant. The discrimination based on ’employment status’ (unemployed) is even more blatant.

Based on Mr. Bernstein’s comments, it seems clear to me that President Obama and his administration prefers to ignore the real issues that are faced by 8 million long-term unemployed Americans.  Instead, officials of this administration respond by slandering the long-term unemployed by making an inaccurate, public ‘assessment’ which suggests that that I have no job skills. Enough is enough.

The long-term unemployed have been ridiculed and categorized as the ’cause’ of this country’s continued high levels of unemployment, but Mr. Bernstein’s assessment is the biggest slap in the face yet.  Even if I did need job skills/training, like all 99ers, I have no MONEY for transportation, housing, shampoo and medical prescriptions – let alone for ‘training’.

I am absolutely begging members of Congress to not agree to ANYTHING that benefits the wealthy – unless it is paid for – especially if there is no Tier 5 and provisions of the HIRE Act are not included.

The provisions related to the estate tax in the President’s ‘compromise’ are outlandish and provide NO economic return.

Conversely, according to the government’s own economists, giving 8 million unemployed workers money which they will spend immediately, provides the absolute best ROI – return on investment; a fundamental theory of finance.  Giving money to 8 million unemployed workers will create demand for goods and services; a fundamental theory of economic growth.

Put another way:  rich dead people get more out of this deal than the long-term unemployed are getting.  The long-term unemployed are getting nothing out of this deal.

Please add a Tier 5 and the provisions of the HIRE Act in this compromise and join Mark Udall, Bernie Sanders, Anthony Weiner, Chris Van Hollen and many others in opposing this ‘compromise’ until there are measures included which will help those who were the first to lose their jobs in this recession:  the long-term unemployed who have already exhausted the maximim 99 weeks of EUC benefits so that I (we) can once again participate in this economy and work to achieve the American Dream – a dream and a lifestyle that I (we) had already worked hard to achieve prior to losing my job at the beginning of this recession.



Denver Unemployment Examiner

Westminster, CO

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