Showing posts from 2014

Watch what homeless man does with $100

Filmmaker Josh Paler Lin gave a homeless man $100, then secretly followed him to record what he'd do with it. The man bought bread and shared it with others who are homeless. NBC's Betty Nguyen reports.
Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy If you'd like to help give Thomas a fresh start, you can visit his Indiegogo page.

May The Yuletide Force Be With You

Merry Christmas to One and All

Oh Yes, We Need A Little Christmas. Right This Very Minute


From December 9th's HuffPost Hill newsletter:

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Congress used an old unemployment bill for its defense reauthorization, prompting some confusion among people noticing the unemployment reauthorizing text is still up on, looking like it's about to become law. It's not. Sorry, folks, nobody cares about that anymore on Capitol Hill.
We should point out that very, very few people have cared, period.

Studying the Plight of the Long-Term Unemployed

Two Random Thoughts:

A random thought from Thomas Sowell:

"Many people who have never run one business for one day are nevertheless confident that they know corporate CEOs are not worth as much as they are paid."

A random response:

Many people who have never struggled to feed, clothe and shelter their family on minimum wage jobs are nevertheless confident that these millions of men and women are overpaid.

The Cure Is Worse Than The Disease

"Many, many cases" of voter fraud? More like... 5.— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) October 17, 2014

UPDATE: What I wouldn't give to put Kris Kobach and Judge Richard Posner in a room together.

We've Known It All Along.

① ② ③ ④ ⑤ #5pts4jobs— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) October 7, 2014
This isn't the first time the GOP has shown they're clueless about jobs. It probably won't be the last.

The Rising Tide That Doesn't Lift All Boats

From Wonkblog: a chart showing how well people fare during recoveries.

This might help explain a conundrum: most statistics show that the economy is improving, but people aren't seeing the effects.

Program getting long-term unemployed back to work

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A program in Central New York is helping long-term unemployed get back on track.

It’s called Choosing to Thrive, a 2-week workshop held by Visions for Change, an organization helping reduce poverty in Syracuse.

Since it started three years ago 155 people have taken the course. Of that number 105 people have found jobs and 85% of them still have them.

“They start out with the basics of who I am, where have I come from what do I need to do in my life to change,” explained Rhonda O’Connor, Director of Community Services for Visions for Change.

Students in the program learn career skills like writing a resume, prioritize, and interview.

The course, running every other month, also brings in employers discussing what they look for in new hires.

Once completed, participants are required to return daily to the class to apply for jobs and work on their resumes.

They are also followed for a year for support, can sign up to have a mentor, and attend a weekly meeting for …

John Boehner Is Done Being Nice About The Unemployed

From Arthur Delaney, reporting at The Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner's Thursday lament that unemployed people think they can "just sit around" instead of working shows how much the political conversation about the economy has changed.

During a Thursday event to promote his own jobs plan, however, Boehner let his hair down by lamenting "this idea that has been born, maybe out of the economy over the last couple years, that you know, I really don't have to work. I don't really want to do this. I think I'd rather just sit around. This is a very sick idea for our country."

A spokesman for Boehner told Reuters the speaker wasn't trying to call the unemployed lazy, despite the clear implication.
UPDATE: From Igor Volsky, writing at ThinkProgress:

But the unemployed aren’t jobless because they’re lazy or receive government benefits. Most face huge obstacles to finding good paying jobs in a slow economic recovery.

Currently, t…

Bud Meyers: A Lifetime for the 99ers

Summer Hiatus

Regular posting to the HelpThe99ers blog will resume in the coming days. Thank you.

Fox Business: Off Unemployment Island, But the Waters Are Still Rough

Watch the latest video at

Coolest Summer On Record In The US?

I came across this post from Mark Perry on AEI-Ideas. The headline, "Inconvenient chart of the day: Coolest US summer on record," caught my eye, as did the graph, which I've reproduced below:

The data comes from the US HCN, the United States Historical Climatology Network, and the graph seems to show that the number of 90-degree days is been trending down over time.

Here's the question: is the number of 90-degree days per year a good proxy for the average US temperature during the summer? I'm not sure it is. The next chart tells the tale:

The chart comes from NOAA, and you can play with the time series. I've chosen to chart the average US temperature of the "lower 48" for the summer months of June, July and August.

The 90-degree day chart doesn't look like a good proxy at all: its trend line is sloping down, but the actual average summer temperature is sloping up.

How to Respond to Open Carry Activists, Parts 1 and 2

Jobs For All: Building the Movement for Full Employment

A Question for Justice Scalia from Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia, Justice Scalia has a question for you.— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) June 30, 2014

Ayn Rand Is Not Thomas Jefferson.

To his good credit, Mark Perry has updated a post containing an egregious error.

But why did he include it to begin with? Wouldn't a brief fact check have prevented this from happening in the first place?

What to file this under: confirmation bias? Motivated reasoning?

Do others on the right confuse Rand with Jefferson? I think so, and I'l look at Rep. Paul Ryan as a perfect example.

Nick Offerman's Political Comedy Routine at the 2014 Correspondents' Dinner

Money quote: "The Second Amendment is not there to protect our right to intimidate the teenage cashier at Chipotle."

Witness Wednesdays: Voices of the Unemployed

99ers, and everyone reading this blog, please add your voice and share your story at

"The Center for Effective Government, the National Employment Law Project, the Coalition on Human Needs, and the National Women's Law Center have collected more than 2,000 stories from Americans suffering from long-term unemployment. Throughout June and July, our organizations will join members of Congress and faith, labor, civil rights, and nonprofit leaders to share some of these stories in a series of seven Witness Wednesday events. We invite you to join with us, listen to these readings, and demand an extension of long-term unemployment insurance."

As Seen On Tumblr

"People ask me what I'm proudest of and what are my biggest frustrations as President. My biggest frustration is that this society hasn't been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do damage. We're the only developed country where this happens. And it happens weekly. Our levels of gun violence are off the charts."
President Obama sharing the difficulties of trying to change a culture in which school shootings are commonplace. (source)


Dear @GOPLeader Cantor: Losing a job, through no fault of your own, kinda sucks, doesn't it? #RenewUI— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) June 11, 2014

Refuting "10 Essential Economic Truths," Part 1

"Government cannot create wealth, jobs, or income. Because government has to take money from somebody before it can spend it, there is no economic gain from anything the government does."

This is the first of "10 Essential Economic Truths Liberals Need to Learn" by Jeffrey Dorfman, writing in Forbes, and referenced by Mark Perry in his Carpe Diem blog for the American Enterprise Institute.

I'd like to refute Dorfman's assertions, starting with this one.

Back in 2009, PolitiFact rated a similar statement from a GOP spokesperson as not just false, but "pants on fire" false. Their analysis is worth reading, but doesn't specifically address the assertions made here.

First: can government create wealth? This is the first time I've seen anyone make the argument. Is government supposed to create wealth? I imagine our Constitutional Conservative friends would offer a strenuous answer if you asked them if creating wealth is one of the government…

Another example that shows that security does not automatically mean firearms

"The police said that the gunman had stopped to reload before he was pepper-sprayed by a student security guard and subdued at a science and engineering building."

What stopped a bad guy with a gun? A good guy... with pepper spray.— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) June 6, 2014

"One more gun" is not the answer.

How did the killer in Santa Barbara get his guns? According to reporting,

Police said three guns were recovered from Rodger's car. Police said he had more than 400 rounds of ammunition.

"All were legally purchased from federally licensed dealers and all were registered to the suspect," the sheriff said.
This is someone who had been or was being treated by multiple therapists.

This is someone who had multiple contacts with police

…including when a member of Rodger's family asked police to check on him because of alarm over his behavior and videos. (Sheriff Bill) Brown said the cops found no reason to take further action on Rodger.
It looks like everyone did the jobs they were assigned to do, to prevent horrors like this from happening, but the plan failed.

Isn't it time for a better plan?

Deniers, Nothing To See Here

Time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide, by CIRES & NOAA

Today's Daily Delaney Downer

"From our award-winning series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless: "We are affected by the hesitance in the house to renew unemployment and it is breaking my family down emotionally, physically and financially! My husband served in the military for 11 years with 2 overseas tours and worked as a manager for a retail store for 12 years. He lost his job due to downsizing and was collecting unemployment. We are now in a position where we have to rely on the programs available such as food stamps and cash assurance in order to just keep our house. Living week by week and hoping I bring in enough money just to pay the necessities for us and our 3 children."

I think I understand AEI now.

The free market gives us exploding oil-filled railcars. Regulation takes away our freedom to have exploding oil-filled railcars. #p2#Maddow— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) May 8, 2014

Search without reward

When workers remain unemployed for more than six months at a time, the toll is not just financial — it’s psychological. Again and again, the long-term unemployed describe themselves as having entered a “black hole” that they cannot seem to climb out of, according to the studies of MIT’s Ofer Sharone, who has extensively interviewed such workers.
“We need to create work for people so they can rebuild their shattered lives”— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) May 8, 2014

Seven Unemployed Workers Bravely Share Their Stories With Congress

Wealth Inequality In America

(reposted from 2013)

Related: It's not just inequality by quintile that needs a serious unskewing: it's also inequality by race. See Ta Nehisi Coates' piece The Ghetto Is Public Policy

Bloomberg TV: The Plight of America’s Long-Term Unemployed

Not Our Words

Quote of the Day

From the "Ask a Pollster" feature on The Upshot, the new data journalism section of the NY Times.

"If you don't believe in random sampling, the next time you have a blood test, tell the doctor to take it all."

Today In Lying With Statistics

A right wing Tweeter engaged me in "dueling statistics" a few days ago. Looking back at the exchange, it's easy to see how only one thing matters to some on the right: regardless of the facts, pin the blame on President Obama.

In response to a chart highlighting the growth in the share of wealth owned by "the 1% of the 1%," I got back this reply:

For laughs, when lib drones @HelpThe99ers#p2 lament inequality, ask them who bailed out Wall St, then show them this— Samuel Bryan (@Centinel1787) April 17, 2014

Which, apparently, is trying to make two claims:
TARP was Obama's fault;Income inequality is Obama's fault.
(The reply chart comes from IBD, and much like the person who engaged with me, it takes the source material from Pew and twists it into an attack on the President.)

When pointing out that TARP was signed by President Bush; that 75 Senators and 263 Representatives voted "yes" on the bill, that didn't matter…

Elizabeth Warren 2014 Minnesota DFL Humphrey-Mondale Dinner Speech

Fighting for the Rights of the Long Term Unemployed

Five Thirty Eight: Losing Benefits Isn’t Prodding Unemployed Back to Work

So far, the evidence doesn't seem to support that theory. Rather than finding jobs, the long-term unemployed continue to be out of luck.

We now have three months' worth of job market data since the benefits program expired. The chart below shows job-finding rates for the long-term and short-term unemployed. Notice three things: First, the short-term unemployed have a much better chance of finding a job than the long-term unemployed and always have. Second, the short-term unemployed are seeing a steady improvement in their prospects, but the long-term jobless are not. And third, there's been no major shift since the benefits program expired at the end of last year. (The chart shows the data as a 12-month rolling average, which could obscure a sudden shift. The un-smoothed data, however, doesn't show a jump either.)

Daily Delaney Downer - now with added Republican Hostage-Taking

The latest from our series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless, a letter from one of the 2 million not receiving federal unemployment insurance since Congress dropped the benefits in December:

"I lost my job last summer and my benefits stopped three months ago. I am a 57 year old widow and the sole support of myself. I have lost my home. My car will be taken in 2 weeks. My credit has been ruined because I can't pay my bills. I am overdrawn at my bank due to bank fees and I have zero income and no money to buy food. I applied for state aid but have heard nothing. I had to stop taking my much needed daily medication because I don't have money to buy my medicine."
And how does the GOP react? By treating these men and women as bargaining chips for Republican interests:

While temporarily extending unemployment benefits is necessary for those most in need, we must not lose sight of the real goal — getting Americans back to work. Specifically, the GROWTH Act would approve const…

The Long-Term Unemployed and the Hiring Impasse

Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand Facebook Chat

Sign the petition calling on John Boehner to bring unemployment insurance extension up for a vote.

What Is Bernie Marcus Talking About?

Bernie Marcus, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, wrote the following:
"Consider the 'fee' - really a hidden sales tax - that all health-insurance companies have been forced to pay since the first of this year on premiums for policies sold to individuals and small and medium-size businesses. The health-insurance tax - known as HIT in business circles - is expected to generate revenues of about $8 billion this year and as much as $14.3 billion by 2018, according to the legislation."
So, what's the HIT? Even the initials make it sound a little threatening. Here's how Aetna describes it in one of their flyers:
"Many of these new entrants (health insurance purchasers) are lower-income families and individuals who may not have coverage today and who will receive federal subsidies toward the purchase of insurance.

"The ACA established a fee to help fund these subsidies. The fee will be assessed on health insurers beginning in 2014 and will not expire unless fe…

Bloomberg: Long-Term Unemployed Make for Just as Strong Hires: Study


"People who have been out of work for an extended period, once hired, tend to be just as productive on the job as those with more typical work histories, according to an analysis of almost 20,000 employees.

"The research, provided to Bloomberg News by San Francisco-based Evolv Inc., shows no statistically significant difference in measures of job performance between two pools of entry-level call center agents: those who hadn’t held a single full-time job in at least five years before they applied for the position, and the rest. Evolv, which helps large companies assess and manage hourly workers, analyzed data collected from six employers in about 90 locations in the U.S."
Maybe we can put another zombie lie to rest with this news?

Chart of the Day: It's Still Bad for the Long-Term Unemployed


Alan Krueger: Long-term unemployment a severe problem

Debunking Thomas Sowell

I recently came across this quote from Thomas Sowell:

"The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state."

If that were true, red states, who are the largest benefactors of Federal spending, would be blue.

Dear House GOP, This Letter Is For You

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our prize-winning series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless, another letter from one of the 2 million missing out on unemployment insurance thanks to Congress: "I just need time and my UI to be able to find a job. I feel so desperate and cry constantly. I can see why people commit suicide. The desperation is real and terrible. I wish these horrible people would spend a day in our shoes so they would know what desperation feels like. They have no compassion."

Stand Your Ground: The Case of Little v. Florida

An unintended consequence of "Stand Your Ground" laws is that they can, and do, grant immunity to felons with illegal firearms. Case in point: Little v. Florida:
In summary, section 776.032(1) provides for immunity from criminal prosecution for persons using force as permitted in section 776.012, section 776.013, or section 776.031. Because Little was a felon in illegal possession of a firearm, his use of force did not fall within the protections of section 776.013, and therefore, he could not obtain immunity under that statute. See Darling v. State, 81 So.3d 574, 578 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012), review denied, 107 So.3d 403 (Fla.2012); Dorsey v. State, 74 So.3d 521, 527 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011). However, Little sought immunity based on the use of force as permitted in section 776.012(1). His status as a felon in illegal possession of a firearm did not preclude that claim of immunity. And, as set forth above, Little established by a preponderance of the evidence that his use of force was j…

Pot, kettle, black.

@RepPaulRyan complains about men who haven't learned the value and culture of work, then gets ready for (another) week-long recess. #inners— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) March 13, 2014

The War on the Poor and Working Families

Senator Warren: Floor Speech on Unemployment Insurance

Trapped In A Bubble Of their Own Making

Fox is just never going to let go of their own carefully-constructed reality, no matter what actually happened outside of their bubble:

Remarks by the President on Giving the Long-Term Unemployed a Fair Shot

President Obama announces help for long-term unemployed

300 companies pledge to help long-term unemployed

The Long-Term Unemployed: How to Make Sure You Are Not Overlooking Skilled Talent

We know that hiring managers and other decision makers routinely overlook the long-term unemployed. We know what it feels to be on the outside, looking in, feeling the despair that comes with the knowledge that in order to get a job, we have to have a job already.

In that light, this article from the Society for Human Resource Management represents a small, but significant change. It's a guide that "offers basic steps HR professionals can take to ensure that recruiting and hiring practices do not intentionally or inadvertently disadvantage individuals from being considered for a job based solely on unemployment status."

Add that together with President Obama's State of the Union Address, in which he said:

"Congress, give these hardworking, responsible Americans that chance. They need our help, but more important, this country needs them in the game. That’s why I’ve been asking CEOs to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at that new job and new chan…

The Carsey Institute: The Long-Term Unemployed in the Wake of the Great Recession

"Using the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, this brief outlines the demographic and economic characteristics of the long-term unemployed and compares them with their short-term unemployed counterparts. It also describes changes in the composition of the long-term unemployed since the start of the Great Recession. Author Andrew Schaefer reports that the percentage of unemployed workers who were seeking employment for more than six months more than doubled between 2007 and 2013 from 18.4 percent to 39.3 percent and that the long-term unemployed are more likely than the short-term unemployed to live in urban areas. In addition, the urban long-term unemployed are more likely to be older, but less likely to be poor than their rural counterparts. He concludes that, as debate about the extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits continues, it is important to gain an understanding of the long-term unemployed in terms of their …

Everything We Leave Behind

For more information about this amazing video, visit the author's site.

The "nerve-wracking" experience of the long-term unemployed

60 Votes For Thee, But Not For Me

From the NY Times reporting on the failure of the Senate to pass an emergency UI bill:

"During recent negotiations over an unemployment deal, Republicans had balked at what they viewed as the tyrannical leadership of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, who had refused to let Republicans offer any amendments. But on Tuesday, Mr. Reid offered to let each party introduce five amendments to the legislation.

"Republicans remained displeased, however, saying his requirement that each amendment receive 60 votes to pass unfairly doomed their measures, especially since Mr. Reid was demanding that Republicans give up the customary 60-vote threshold to end debate on the final bill."
The first vote on extending emergency UI "failed" with 52 votes for, 48 votes against.

The second vote on extending emergency UI "failed" with 55 votes for, and 45 votes against.

But it's the Senate Republicans who are the ones complaining about a 60-vote threshold…

Where are the unemployed? A response to Robert Romano, The Heartland Institute and Human Events

The burning smell and the billow of smoke tell you everything you need to know. You can hear the blare of sirens and the flash of lights. Firemen are on the scene, hooking up their hoses and getting ready to extinguish the blaze.

But there's someone there you don't recognize. A man standing at the hydrant, wrench in one hand, stopwatch in the other. While everyone else is fighting the fire, tending to the folks that were in the building, or keeping the reporters back a safe distance, this fellow is looking down. Waiting. Until his hand tightens around the wrench, the fire hoses deflate, and the water shuts off.

"But the fire's not out!" someone shouts.

"You're only treating the symptoms!" he shouts right back. "Besides, those are my tax dollars paying for that water. When is enough, enough?"

And the fire keeps burning, while the firemen stand helpless.

Robert Romano is the latest writer to make the argument that it's time to end long-t…

Brookings Now: Long-term Unemployment Is #1 Social and Economic Problem in America

In an interview today with Brian Lehrer on his radio show from WNYC, Justin Wolfers answered questions about how the government measures unemployment, factors in labor force participation, and whether Congress will extend unemployment insurance. Excerpts from the show appear below:

The Rachel Maddow Show: An alternate theory of the Christie scandal

President Obama Speaks on Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance


President Obama: Time to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance

Targeting the GOP on unemployment insurance

Long-term solutions for long-term unemployed