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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Ed Show: 99ers Still Need Help

Tonight's Ed Show began with this discussion of yesterday's action on the Senate floor:

The full video with transcript is available on MSNBC. Interviewed: Mignon Fields (@agape122 on Twitter)

What Would You Do With $700 Billion?

Republicans argue for an extension of these tax cuts for the rich while objecting to a discussion of an extension of unemployment benefits for the 99ers. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"So with that, Mr. President, I object"

The quote is from Senator George LeMieux, R-FL, who is objecting to a request for unanimous consent by Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-MI:
"And so, Mr. President, on behalf of millions - we know at least 2 million to 3 million people who find themselves in this particular situation, who are asking us to understand, who are asking us for help, asking us to give a lifeline to them so they can care for their families and get back to work - I would ask unanimous consent that the Finance Committee be discharged of S. 3706, the Americans Want to Work Act, that the Senate then proceed to its immediate consideration, that the bill be read three times, passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, that any statements related to the measure appear at the appropriate place in the record as if read."
Senator Stabenow followed through on her commitment to bring S. 3706 onto the Senate floor, and both she and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) spoke eloquently about the need to pass the bill.

Senator LeMieux, however, is from the Party of No, and had this to say:
"Well, respectfully, Mr. President, without knowing how much it's going to cost and how we're going to pay for it, while we are all certainly sympathetic and want to work to make people go back to work - my home state of Florida certainly suffering with very high unemployment - we need to know what it's going to cost, we need to know how we're going to pay for it so we don't put this debt on our children and grandchildren."
The Senator from Florida is right: his state has the nation's fifth highest unemployment rate: 11.7%. He's wrong, however, in calling this bill a "debt" - it's an investment. Remember: one dollar of unemployment benefits turns into $1.61 of GDP growth in one year.

According to Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation, Florida has 1,084,000 jobless. It has paid Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to 232,500 beneficiaries and Extended Benefits (EB) to 42,600 beneficiaries. Both the EUC and EB programs were Federally funded and extended.

Which will cost more, Senator? Helping your unemployed today, or helping them after they've been rendered destitute? Is this how you're fighting for "a brighter future for Floridians"?

With that, Senator LeMieux, I object to the Party of No.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Breaking News

@StabenowPress - Senator Stabenow's bill, #S3706, The Americans Want to Work Act, will be on the Senate floor tomorrow. More info: http://bit.ly/bvf2oU

Yes, We Are The Party of No

The Republican Party's slow-motion shutdown of the government continues:
Senator Jim DeMint is planning to end the 111th Congress with a glorious show of all-points obstruction. Everything he hasn't personally agreed to, he'll hold. The idea is to just run out the clock so the Senate has to adjourn for the election. No wonder Senate Democrats are beginning to murmur again about filibuster reform - though first they'll have to survive the election.

The Senate has two main functions: deliberate on legislation, and vote on legislation. The Republican Party in the Senate is doing nothing more than throwing sand in the gears of the government.

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Open Letter to All Republican Senators & Representatives

Post by Snowman on Fri 24 Sep - 16:10, reposted here by request

Dear fellow conservatives,

I write this not as an opposing faction, but speaking as one from within your own rank and file, a fellow Republican.

I was raised in a Democratic family, but during the Reagan years I found my values were more in line with the Republican party. They still are.

However.

While I believe in fiscal responsibility, there comes a point where the well-being of your own must take priority. By "your own" I do not mean Republicans or Democrats. I am talking about Americans, specifically the hundreds of thousands of us who remain unemployed through this economic crisis.

America has always been a great nation, rising to the aide of other countries during times of disaster. Please consider that a vast number of us in your own land are facing homelessness. Many already are. We watch as millions of dollars are sent overseas and say nothing. Will you turn your back on those who supported you right here in the United States? Are we not the very definition of "Emergency" spending?

We come from all walks of life and from both sides of the aisle. An unemployed liberal's pain is no greater or no less than an unemployed conservative's.

You voted for emergency extensions when President Bush was in office. It is hypocrisy to not do so now just because there is a Democratic president in office.

I understand about the rising national debt. I really do. But this is not welfare -- that is why it is called Unemployment INSURANCE. I also realize that many people see the unemployed as unemployable. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, there are a few who abuse the system, but please do not lump all of us into that category. We are not happy about being in this position. We want to find work and regain the self-respect we have lost.

We are often viewed as sitting at home, leisurely enjoying life on the government's dime. I can assure you that the amount we receive from UI benefits doesn't even cover the cost of housing and utilities, much less gas and food. It is far from being "paid time off."

In addition to exhausting my own UI benefits, my savings are wiped out. I have applied for countless jobs at considerably less than I made before, many at minimum wage. These have resulted in a mere handful of interviews. To make matters worse, job boards are littered with phishing scams aimed at taking advantage of people in dire circumstances.

Honestly, I don't know who is to blame for the recession. Some say the fault belongs to President Obama while others contend he inherited it from President Bush. Some say it is the fault of Congress and/or Wall Street. Regardless of whose fault it is, there remains one truth: Your countrymen need you now. Will you pass the buck -- and the blame -- or will you take your (our) party's fair share of the responsibility? I'm sure there is plenty to go around for both sides of the aisle.

Forget Christmas. Winter is quickly approaching. Can you honestly -- in good conscience -- feel no pangs of guilt in your nice, comfortable, warm home, enjoying the holidays with your loved ones, all the while knowing that those of us who voted you into office could be hungry and cold?

I have worked all of my life and have always supported myself. I never thought for one moment I would ever have to draw unemployment. Too many of us are, though, and we are asking you, the conservatives we elected to represent us, to put aside partisan differences and find a way to work with your colleagues across the aisle for the greater good.

I also ask the Democrats to do the same, but I didn't vote for them. I voted for you, and we need both sides to work together like you all said you would when you campaigned for our vote. This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. It is an American issue. The time for finger-pointing and talk from both sides is over. It's time for action.

It's easy to say 99 weeks is enough when you have food on the table and a job with more weeks of vacation in a year than most of us get in ten years. I ask you, if you were in our position, where one day can mean the difference in having a roof over your head or being homeless, would you be more willing to show compassion? Would that olive branch be easier to extend?

I am still registered as a Republican voter. I would be less than honest if I said I will cast my ballot on November 2nd for the Democratic party. My core values are still conservative. Yet I am being torn between voting for my own personal well-being and the beliefs I hold dear to my heart.

Please don't put me in the position of making that choice on election day. Extend your hand across the aisle and support Senator Stabenow's "Americans Want to Work Act" S.3706. Find a common ground for good faith negotiation.

Make me proud to vote for you once again.

_________________

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one." ~ Oscar Wilde

Will Senator Stabenow Introduce A Discharge Resolution?

"Hi Rob, this is Ed Schultz." His next words were: "I just got done talking personally with Debbie Stabenow," stating that he had a commitment from [the Senator] to bring S. 3706 to the Senate floor for debate and a possible voice vote, next week.
Donnalee King broke the story on this potential breakthrough on Saturday night, in her reporting on an e-mail and phone exchange between Rob Curtis and Ed Schultz.

The next question is: how can Senator Stabenow do it? 3706 hasn't yet been placed onto the Senate Finance Committee's legislative calendar, and until it is, the prerequisites of committee hearings, markups and CBO scoring won't happen.

It turns out that Senator Stabenow can make use of a Senate motion: the discharge resolution. Quoting from TheCapitol.net:
Discharge Resolution: a special motion in the Senate that any senator may introduce to relieve a committee from consideration of a bill before it. The resolution can be called up for Senate approval or disapproval in the same manner as any other Senate business.
(see also the US Senate's website)

Both TheCapitol and other sources specifically refer to the difficulty of passing such a resolution, however:
Furthermore, Senate committees have much greater ability to kill proposals simply by not acting on them, as a discharge resolution is much harder to pass than a discharge petition in the House, which requires only a simple majority. In the Senate, a discharge petition is rare and often difficult to accomplish, since most Senators give great deference to Committee Chairmen.
Putting the difficulty aside, what would happen next? According to Senate Rule XVII:
4. (a) All reports of committees and motions to discharge a committee from the consideration of a subject, and all subjects from which a committee shall be discharged, shall lie over one day for consideration, unless by unanimous consent the Senate shall otherwise direct.
Keep your eyes glued to THOMAS and OpenCongress this week.

Update 1: (Monday, 9/27/2010, 1:40 PM) Speaking with a caller, Ed Schultz briefly discussed his conversation with Senator Stabenow this past Friday. Takeaway quote: concerning the 99ers and the NOVO movement, "it pains her that this is the situation we're in now." Ed reiterated the senator's commitment to bring legislation to the Senate floor this week, and says "let's wait to see how the week plays out."

Update 2: (Wednesday, 9/29/2010, 6:40 PM) Yes, that's exactly what Sen. Stabenow did: she requested unanimous consent "that the Finance Committee be discharged of S. 3706, the Americans Want to Work Act, that the Senate then proceed to its immediate consideration, that the bill be read three times, passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, that any statements related to the measure appear at the appropriate place in the record as if read."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thought For The Day

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." - Dale Carnegie
I salute the 99er community, who keep on trying in the face of Sisyphean odds.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get Out And Vote

The November midterms are coming soon, and we are faced with a few decisions come Election Day: do we vote, or do we stay home? If we vote, do we vote for a Democrat, for a Republican, or for someone else?

This note arrived at my inbox, and I've reprinted it with permission:

Have seen two different opinions from your group on the Ed Show.

Just want to say one thing. If you don't vote, you are giving the Repubs exactly what they want! If you think that the Greed Over People will change its mind and vote for us next time, you are wrong!

The only way to show them that you are serious is to vote Dem! The Dems are the only ones who have helped us and the only ones who will try to help us in the future! The Republicans will be happy if you don't vote because that's just another vote for them!

You cannot protest by saying nothing; you must speak and speak loudly - VOTE! If you want help for us, VOTE!

Thank you,

CN

(editor's note: CN used quite a few more exclamation points for emphasis.)

CN has a very good point: each vote that stays home is, in essence, a vote for the GOP. Consider the following two voters:

  • One votes for a Democrat, one votes for a Republican. The result? A tie.
  • One stays home, one votes for a Republican. The result? A GOP win.

Each voter who stays at home forces Democrats to come up with two additional voters to make up the difference: one for the tie, and a second for the win. That's a total of three Democrats for each Republican, and in a year when Republican votes seem to be exhibiting the most enthusiasm, getting Democrats to show up in those numbers is going to be next to impossible.

We seem to be working in a three-party system, composed of Democrats, Blue Dog "Conservadems" and Tea Party/Republicans. We've seen exactly what Republicans have done since the nation elected President Obama: they've executed a slow-motion shutdown of the government, by using the filibuster as a weapon of mass legislative destruction. Ask yourself: where else but the United States Senate does a vote of 59-39 mean that a measure fails?

You might support the Republican Party's strategy and goals. If so, get out and vote.

On the other hand, you might support President Obama's agenda. If you do, and you don't get out and vote, you're not just not helping, you're hurting his chances of fixing the economy and putting the nation on the path back to restored prosperity. Every Democratic vote tells the Blue Dogs that we stand for a progressive policy agenda, not a conservative one.

So, get out and vote. (and for CN, here's the exclamation points I edited out earlier: !!!!!!!)

Update: M.S. at The Economist's Democracy In America blog maps out a strategy for gay voters and the Democratic Party. The same strategy can be applied to any issue... including our own:

There is, however, a way for gay voters to exert influence on the priorities of the Democratic Party. It's the same way the tea-party movement has successfully influenced the priorities of the Republican Party. They can mount and back primary challenges to Democratic candidates seen as insufficiently supportive of gay rights. For that matter, they could try mounting and backing primary challenges by libertarian-leaning Republican candidates who do support gay rights, but those seem less likely to succeed. In any case, this is the way you influence political priorities in a two-party system: through the primary process. There are lots of gay Americans, they are relatively well-educated and affluent, and they should be able to make their concerns felt as strongly as anybody else's, if they apply pressure in ways that are effective.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not The Kind Of News You Want To Read...

Wonkette highlights a report from the Roosevelt Institute:

"Starting at the beginning of 2009, it is now more likely that someone who is unemployed will drop out of the labor force than find a job." Uhh... that's probably a bad thing, right? Anything else to weep about, behind the dumpster? "Underemployment, or those employed working part-time for economic reasons, has increased greatly, often more than doubling. This is across all analyzed sectors and occupations." Hey, that kind of sounds like everyone we know!

The full report, "The Stagnating Labor Market," is posted on the Institute's website (PDF link)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Kill Growth And Jobs In The Name Of Deficit Reduction

The statement below, signed by more than 300 economists and major civic leaders, reflects a grave concern that the "austerity economics" being advocated by many politicians in Washington will derail our already weak economic recovery. This statement outlines a progressive approach to reviving the economy and addressing the federal deficit, with the top priority being putting people back to work and investing in the foundational elements of a new economy of broad prosperity.

"In the fall of 2008 the U.S. and other major economies were in a free fall in the wake of a global financial crisis. Emergency stimulus policies here and around the world broke the fall, but brought us only part way to full recovery.

Today there is a grave danger that the still-fragile economic recovery will be undercut by austerity economics. A turn by major governments away from the promotion of growth and jobs and to premature focus on deficit reduction could slow growth and increase unemployment – and could push us back into recession.

History suggests that a tenuous recovery is no time to practice austerity. In the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal generated growth and reduced the unemployment rate from 25 percent in 1932 to less than 10 percent in 1937. However, the deficit hawks of that era persuaded President Roosevelt to reverse course prematurely and move toward budget balance. The result was a severe recession that caused the economy to contract sharply and sent the unemployment rate soaring. Only the much larger wartime spending of the early 1940s produced a full recovery.

Today, the economy is growing only weakly. 7.8 million jobs have been lost in the recession. Consumers, having suffered losses in home values and retirement savings, are tightening their belts. The business sector, uncertain about consumer spending, is reluctant to invest in expansion or job creation, leaving the economy trapped on a path of slow growth or stagnation. Over 20 million American workers are now unemployed, underemployed or simply have given up looking for a job.

The President and Congress should redouble efforts to create jobs and send aid to the states whose budget crises threaten recovery by forcing them to lay off school teachers, public safety workers, and other essential workers. It also makes sense to invest in public service jobs – and in infrastructure projects for transportation, water, and energy conservation that will make our economy more productive for years to come."

Read more at DontKillJobs.com

Friday, September 17, 2010

Call to Action - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The American 99ers Union is calling for action:

On Wednesday, September 22nd we want everyone who reads this message to take action between the hours of 9am and 9pm in order to show our power and numbers, to call for the immediate passing of Senate Bill 3706.
We want every one of you and as many friends, relatives and others as you can convince to do so, to send a fax, web mail, and/or make a phone call to your own two Senators and ask them to please support and vote for The Americans Want To Work Act, S. 3706.

Please mark your calendars. The more people who participate, the more effective this call to action will be.

On September 22nd, let Congress hear your voice.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unemployment Extension and Tier V News: Pelosi and Reid Confirm No Action Pending (All247News)

Michael Corliss, who has taken a lead role in reporting on long-term unemployment and the 99ers specifically, writes:
The leadership of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives yesterday publicly discussed their plans for the remaining days of the current Congressional session and it is now clear that they are putting off any discussion whatsoever about unemployment extensions or Tier V until after the mid term elections.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tier 5: Long Odds For Legislation To Help The 99ers (Huffington Post)

Arthur Delaney, writing in the Huffington Post, reports:

There are no plans in the Senate to take up legislation anytime soon to help the "99ers," people who have been unable to find work after exhausting the 99 weeks of federally-funded extended unemployment insurance available in some states.

"I think that's going to be a real challenge in the next three weeks," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) when asked about her bill to provide an additional 20 weeks of benefits to the long-term jobless in states with unemployment above 7.5 percent. "We're going to continue to look for a way to get bipartisan support so we can get through a filibuster and be able to get that done."

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Open Letter to the White House

Valerie Jarrett
Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC

 

Dear Ms. Jarrett,

"The American people are suffering terribly. Policymakers need to find the will to take the steps needed to finish the job and return the American economy to full health, and no one should be blocking essential actions for partisan reasons."

Those are Dr. Christina Romer's words, from her recent farewell speech at the National Press Club.

I'm one of the Americans who is suffering terribly. I lost my job when my company reorganized in April 2008. My co-workers and I were offered severance packages and placement assistance, and sent on our way. The placement company offered little in the way of assistance, and our mortgage, property taxes and living expenses erased the severance package before the end of the year.

My wife and I have survived on her income plus my savings, but those reserves are just about empty, and opportunities look no brighter today than they did yesterday.

We need your help.

Millions of Americans need your help.

We've seen the statistics: Over 14 million unemployed. Three million job openings. Over 1.4 million men and women who have exhausted 99 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation.

Despite the odds, I'm still looking for work. Despite the odds, so are all the other 99ers, and so are all the other unemployed Americans out there.

We've been derided as lazy. As "unamerican." As people who should be drug-tested in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. But those slights pale in comparison to the constant drumbeat of "no" that we've been hearing, day after day, week after week, month after month.

We need a little hope.

Senator Stabenow introduced a bill before the August recess. It's S. 3706, the Americans Want to Work Act. It would extend the business credits provided by the HIRE Act, which have taken 5.6 million long-term unemployed and put them back to work. It would also create a fifth tier of unemployment benefits for the 99ers.

Congress has so very little time left to act this year. We need the President's voice if this bill is to have any chance at all of passing.

Ms. Jarrett, I want to go back to work. So do each and every one of my fellow 99ers. Please ask President Obama to place the full weight of the White House behind S. 3706.

Sincerely,

Unemployment? Outlook Not So Good

Friday, September 10, 2010

The United States of Inequality

click to view larger graphic

Come election time, you'll almost always hear the question: "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"

The above chart will help you answer the question.

The source data comes from Professor Larry Bartels. The chart is from Catherine Mulbrandon, and the reporting is from Timothy Noah and his series The United States of Inequality on Slate.com

The topic of income inequity is something we've looked at in the past, and I encourage everyone reading this to read the Slate article carefully: it's a subject that deserves our careful attention.

Update: a frequently-asked question in response to Professor Bartel's research is "isn't Congress more important that the President when it comes to passing bills?" He addresses the concern in his book, Unequal Democracy:

If patterns of income growth differ so dramatically under Democratic and Republican presidents, it seems natural to wonder whether similar differences are attributable to Democratic and Republican members of Congress. Unfortunately, the historical pattern of change in the partisan composition of Congress in the post-war era makes it very hard to tell. With Democrats holding an uninterrupted majority in the House of Representatives from 1955 through 1994 and Republicans in control from 1995 through 2006, any effect of variation in the partisan composition of Congress is likely to be confounded with the effects of broader economic trends. Thus, although simple tabulations of income growth levels suggest that they have generally been higher when Congress has been more Democratic, those differences cannot be considered dispositive.
Adding a measure of the average proportion of Democrats in the House and Senate to the regression equations reported in table 2.3 suggests that Democrats in Congress probably had positive effects on income growth, at least for low-income families; but the relevant parameter estimates are small (implying that even the largest observed shift in the partisan composition of Congress had much less effect on income growth than a shift in partisan control of the White House) and very imprecise (with an average t-statistic of .35).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why We're Fighting

The One Chart Everyone Needs To Understand

Comparing the number of unemployed, in red, with the number of job openings, in blue (source: FRED®, updated 9/09/2010)

Remember playing musical chairs as a child? That's what the job market looks like across the nation: as of July 2010, there were 14,599,000 unemployed workers trying to fill 3,042,000 available jobs. That's roughly five people for every one job. (actual ratio: ~4.8)

To put these numbers in perspective, the EPI put together a Flash-based chart comparing the 2001 recession and the 2007 recession. In the 2001 recession, the job seekers-to-job openings ratio went from a low of 1.1 to a high of 2.8. Today, that ratio has gone from a low of 1.5 to a high of 6.2 - more than twice as bad the the 2001 recession.

This chart is also reproduced on the Stat Pack page.

Rebuild America - Jobs, Justice and Peace March - Detroit, MI 8/28/10

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The 99ers' Letters To Washington

Below are the three letters that Connie Kaplan hand-delivered to the White House, the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee on behalf of the 99ers. I've republished them here as written with the kind permission of Paladinette, one of the letters' authors.

99er Letter to David Axelrod

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20500-0004

 

Delivered via Special Courier

Mr. Axelrod,

This letter is written on behalf of the 99er community. The purpose of this letter, is to bring to the attention of President Obama the wants and needs of the unemployed Americans who have exhausted all of their unemployment insurance. We have been humiliated in the newspapers, on radio and on television, being called lazy, drug addicts who live on handouts from our Government. A perfect example was the Glenn Beck television show recently, where he said he would be ashamed to call us Americans and even went so far as to single out one 99er named Connie Kaplan by name. We were grateful that MSNBC allowed Connie to appear on the Ed Schultz show to comment on the absurdity of Glenn Beck's words.

The unemployed exhaustees have waited for 8 months now, to receive any type of help from our government. Although we understand that the Republican party has filibustered most all legislation, the Americans Want to Work Act cannot be a part of this game playing. The 99er community will have a very heavy impact on elections in November. If we cannot depend on the Democratic party, who we are constantly being told supports the American people, there will be no need to vote them back into office in November. Many Democrats are in a very close race right now, and the 99er votes will either make them or break them. Unless the Americans Want to Work Act is passed in September, we will make Barbara Boxer an example of our voting clout and she would be just one Senator we would yank out of office. Keep in mind there were 200,000 exhaustees in California alone as of July 31st and our numbers continue to increase weekly.

The united 99er community realizes that our most valuable asset is our ability to vote come this November. Millions 99ers and the families of 15 million unemployed can unite our collective vote to swing the upcoming election. For any one party to count upon our millions of votes based upon being the lesser of the evils, or to count upon our vote by blaming the other side will not be sufficient. The vote of the 99er community at large is up for grabs. Our community will show up in staggering numbers to vote this November for whichever party has the intelligence and foresight to step forward and help us first. In short, whomever wins our allegiance.

President Obama needs to get involved and in touch with the 99er community by holding town hall meetings and speaking to us directly. These meetings could be held online. The 99ers are angry and our votes will show it in November. No Democrat is safe at this point and a great many 99ers that have already changed their affiliation to Independent, as a direct result of the lack of compassion and urgency thus far to help the 99 (sic) community.

The Americans Want to Work Act (HR 3706) (sic) needs to be amended to cover all states no matter their UI percentage, passed and signed into law before Congress goes on their October recess. If this is not accomplished, there will be millions of 99ers who will vote with their anger against those that continue to make us suffer. Our lives can no longer be toyed with, we are losing thousands of hard working Americans to homelessness, starvation and suicide daily. This is a national emergency and it is time to treat it as such, or pay the price in November.

Discouraged American voters,
The 99er Nation

 

99er Letter to the Democratic National Committee

Mr. Tim Kaine
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
202-863-8000

 

Delivered via Special Courier

Dear Mr. Kaine;

The united 99er community now numbers over 4 million people, and we are growing rapidly each day. These are Americans who cannot find work through no fault of their own. The ruins that remain from what was once a robust American economy, have nothing to offer millions of American workers and their families.

The united 99er community realizes that no political party has been willing to step forward to help these American workers in our time of need. Our only ally to date has been the media. I am proud to point out that our friends in the media are dedicated in their national coverage of this issue. They have also been candid about the travesty of American leaders from both sides of the isle (sic), ignoring these American workers during this economic disaster.

Our party membership is frustrated to see our leaders sending billions of dollars to invest in other countries, to wreak devastating war overseas and bailing out big business. This toxic combination of investing in foreign countries while ignoring the home land is a disgraceful example of how American leadership is out of touch with reality. Perhaps a change of leadership is in order, though neither side has shown any real leadership for decades.

The united 99er community realizes that our most valuable asset is our ability to vote come this November. Millions 99ers and the families of 15 million unemployed can unite our collective vote to swing the upcoming election. For any one party to count upon our millions of votes based upon being the lesser of the evils, or to count upon our vote by blaming the other side will not be sufficient. The vote of the 99er community at large is up for grabs. Our community will show up in staggering numbers to vote this November for whichever party has the intelligence and foresight to step forward and help us first. In short, whomever wins our allegiance.

The 99er community formally requests the assistance of the DNC in influencing the Senate and House leadership to immediately pass legislation to help these suffering American workers! We want your help and in return, you get millions of votes. We would prefer to vote Democrat, but unless we can get the help we need from you, we will sit this one out in November (or should the Republicans help us first they will win our votes). Our families need help and we appeal to your party to do the right thing for American workers. Considering how many of our loved ones that are affected by this, it is safe to say each one of the 15 million unemployed could influence 2 or 3 or more votes from those around us who care deeply about this important issue. The 99ers have concluded thus far, neither party has had the courage to step forward and do the right thing to help these desperately hurting Americans and their families.

Our vote goes to the quickest bidder! Will your party come to the rescue of Americans who worked years to help build this country and our communities? We voted you in on the promise of CHANGE. Will the DNC step up during our time of need? Will you be the party that will intelligently sweep up millions of voters in one swoop, just weeks before the election? We are in the market for a party that will be patriotic and selfless enough to step forward and take us under their wing. Most important to you, we are a party that is invigorated and waiting at the gate to vote this November, if we have a reason to do so. Will it be the Democrats that we vote for or the Republicans? This is very much your call. The mid-term elections this November are a crap shoot and we can swing the odds in your favor.

I the undersigned representative for the 99er community will be in contact to follow up on this proposal. Feel free to contact me below.

Kindest regards,
Rob Curtis
Rep for The 99er Nation
(562) 253-9903

 

99er Letter to the Republican National Committee

RNC Chairman Michael Steele
Republican National Committee Inc.
310 1st St. SE
Washington, DC 20003-1885
DC Tel. 202-863-8500 Fax 202-863-8820

 

Delivered via Special Courier

Dear Mr. Steele;

The united 99er community now numbers over 4 million people, and we are growing rapidly each day. These are Americans who cannot find work through no fault of their own. The ruins that remain from what was once a robust American economy, have nothing to offer millions of American workers and their families.

The united 99er community realizes that no political party has been willing to step forward to help these American workers in our time of need. Our only ally to date has been the media. I am proud to point out that our friends in the media are dedicated in their national coverage of this issue. They have also been candid about the travesty of American leaders from both sides of the isle (sic), ignoring these American workers during this economic disaster. Our party membership is frustrated to see our leaders sending billions of dollars to invest in other countries, to wreak devastating war overseas and bailing out big business. This toxic combination of investing in foreign countries while ignoring the home land is a disgusting example of how American leadership is out of touch with reality. Perhaps a change of leadership is in order, though neither side has shown any real leadership for decades.

The united 99er community realizes that our most valuable asset is our ability to vote come this November. Millions 99ers and the families of 15 million unemployed can unite our collective vote to swing the upcoming election. For any one party to count upon our millions of votes based upon being the lesser of the evils, or to count upon our vote by blaming the other side will not be sufficient. The vote of the 99er community at large is up for grabs. Our community will show up in staggering numbers to vote this November for whichever party has the intelligence and foresight to step forward and help us first. In short, whomever wins our allegiance.

The 99er community formally requests the assistance of the RNC in influencing the Senate and House leadership to immediately pass legislation to help these suffering American workers! We want your help and in return, you get millions of votes. We would prefer to vote Republican, but unless we can get the help we need from you, we will sit this one out in November (or should the Democrats help us first they will win our votes). Our families need help and we appeal to your party to do the right thing for American workers. Considering how many of our loved ones that are affected by this, it is safe to say each one of the 15 million unemployed could influence 2 or 3 or more votes from those around us who care deeply about this important issue. The 99ers have concluded thus far, neither party has had the courage to step forward and do the right thing to help these desperately hurting Americans and their families.

Our vote goes to the quickest bidder! Will your party come to the rescue of Americans who worked years to help build this country and our communities? Will the RNC step up during our time of need? Will you be the party that will intelligently sweep up millions of voters in one swoop, just weeks before the election? We are in the market for a party that will be patriotic and selfless enough to step forward and take us under their wing. Most important to you, we are a party that is invigorated and waiting at the gate to vote this November, if we have a reason to do so. Will it be the Democrats that we vote for or the Republicans? This is very much your call. The mid-term elections this November are a crap shoot and we can swing the odds in your favor.

I the undersigned representative for the 99er community will be in contact to follow up on this proposal. Feel free to contact me below.

Kindest regards,
Rob Curtis
Rep for The 99er Nation
(562) 253-9903

How Long Should These Benefits Last?

1. "You can’t go on forever," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, of Montana, whose panel oversees the benefits program. "I think 99 weeks is sufficient," he said. (source)

2. "You have the 99ers. Have you heard of the 99ers? Oh, there they are. The Democratic Socialists of America. The 99ers. These people, some of which, frankly, I bet you'd be ashamed to call them Americans."

"They think that 99 weeks on employment benefits just aren't enough. Last week they went down to Wall Street and they protested. 99er Connie Kaplan asked, 'Are you going to tell us, President Obama and Congress, that our lives are not worth saving?'"

"Connie, here's an idea, I'll save your life. Don't spend your remaining money on travel to get to a protest, go out and get a job. You may not love the job. Work at McDonald's. Work at two jobs. There's been plenty of times in my life where I've done jobs that I've hated, but I had no choice."

"Two years is plenty of time to have lived off your neighbor's wallet." (source)

3. ES: "Connie, conservatives, namely Beck, as labeled 99ers as un-American, saying that you‘ve had benefits long enough and then asked the question, how long should these benefits last? What‘s your answer to that?"

CK: "My answer? The benefits have to last until we have jobs in America. We can‘t stay unemployed. We have to do something. I‘m going to plead with President Obama tomorrow and with the DNC and the RNC. We want jobs. If you pass — if Obama and Congress work on Americans Want to Work Act and get that bill passed, this will be a moot point. We just need jobs. And there are ways to create jobs and there are jobs that are available in the green jobs. People just don‘t even know about the training that‘s available." (source)

"How many weeks" is the wrong way to frame the question.

  • When Hurricane Katrina drowned New Orleans and decimated the Gulf States, no one asked "How many weeks should we spend helping these people recover? Maybe we'll just work on the French Quarter and leave the rest."
  • When the Deepwater Horizon spill pumped almost five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, no one asked "How many weeks should we spend killing the well? Maybe we'll just turn the spill camera off after a few weeks."
  • When they respond to a house on fire, firefighters would never ask "How long do you think we should take to put this out? Maybe we can put the kitchen out and leave the rest."
  • When you take your kids to the doctors, you would never expect to hear them ask "How long would you like me to spend treating them? Is bringing their fever down a point enough?"

How long do we go? Until New Orleans can stand on its feet. Until the last remnants of the spill have been recovered. Until the fire is well and truly put out. Until our kids are happy and healthy and running around again.

We go until the problem is fixed.

15 million unemployed workers. 3 million open positions.

The problem's not fixed.

The question isn't "how many weeks is enough?" The question is "how do we put out the fire?"

Connie Kaplan on The Ed Show - August 30, 2010

Transcript follows (source)

SCHULTZ: And finally tonight, Glenn Beck spent the weekend hollering about restoring honor, but all he offered was a bunch of self-serving rhetoric and no solutions. I got a suggestion for how we can really restore honor in America. Help the unemployed, help the 99ers. My next guest is in Washington, D.C., to deliver a letter to the White House on behalf of herself and her fellow 99ers, begging to be heard.

Connie Kaplan joins us. Connie, conservatives, namely Beck, as labeled 99ers as un-American, saying that you‘ve had benefits long enough and then asked the question, how long should these benefits last? What‘s your answer to that?

CONNIE KAPLAN, UNEMPLOYED FOR 99+ WEEKS: My answer? The benefits have to last until we have jobs in America. We can‘t stay unemployed. We have to do something. I‘m going to plead with President Obama tomorrow and with the DNC and the RNC. We want jobs. If you pass — if Obama and Congress work on Americans Want to Work Act and get that bill passed, this will be a moot point. We just need jobs. And there are ways to create jobs and there are jobs that are available in the green jobs. People just don‘t even know about the training that‘s available.

I try to get the word out. But in the meantime, we need to be included in some sort of an extension for unemployment benefits, so that people stop taking their lives, so people don‘t starve, so children don‘t become homeless. Because that‘s what‘s happening, and we‘re not going to be ignored, and we‘re going to go vote in November. And we‘re going to vote for the people who are the politicians interested in our lives being saved.

SCHULTZ: Connie, do you blame the obstructionists in Congress, the Republicans for a lot of the problems for the unemployed?

KAPLAN: Yes, I do. They are so out of touch with reality and even those that do know about it, they really don‘t care. They have their own agendas. They just want to play games at the expense of the 99ers. What kind of an American are they?

SCHULTZ: Well, there‘s a lot of social networking taking place by the unemployed. Do you think they‘re motivated and will support Democratic candidates?

KAPLAN: If I believe who will support Democratic candidates?

SCHULTZ: If unemployed folks in this country, I mean, the unemployed, the people who are idle in this country.

KAPLAN: Yes.

SCHULTZ: Do you think that they will mobilize and come out and support.

KAPLAN: Yes, we will.

SCHULTZ: OK.

KAPLAN: Yes, we will. We are. And we‘re mobilizing right now as we speak. There are meetings going on in the United States, in New York and in California. We are mobilizing. And I‘m part of that cause. I‘m going to make this happen, and it will be the last thing I do, but I‘m going to help the 99ers every single day until my dying breath. This is an issue for everyone.

SCHULTZ: Connie Kaplan, you are perfect to end this show tonight, because you are restoring honor with your drive and determination to help your fellow Americans who have fallen on hard times in this economy. I commend you. Thank you for joining us.

KAPLAN: Thank you so much.