Another Track for the Narrative

Sometimes, it’s difficult to feel about the personal profiles as the news-crafters clearly want you to feel:

Meyers initially welcomed his termination in October 2008 as a vacation from the daily grind of catering to tip-hungry cocktail waitresses and standing behind a crowded bar. He raided his $30,000 rainy-day fund and cut back on luxuries such as new clothes and hair cuts.
But as more people lost their jobs and the stock market teetered, Meyers became panicked. The casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, where he had worked his way up from a lowly bar-back to a comfortable $1,100 weekly wage, seemed reluctant to hire a pudgy, gray-haired bartender over the flocks of young women competing for the same jobs.
The one time he was called to an interview, his inexperience with mixing mojitos, a trendy mint-fused drink unheard of in the unassuming Vegas era that drew him to Sin City, cost him the opportunity, he said.

“Single and childless,” Bud Meyers was making almost $60,000 per year and had over half-a-year’s salary saved up as a cushion. He was in a perfect position to redirect his career; instead, it appears that he failed even to keep up with trends in his field. Instead of preparing for a second career or moving where he might find work, he appears to have waited for opportunity to come to him — at least as the article presents the story.
Look, we should all have a natural sympathy for people in such positions, but with productivity and employment increasingly disengaged and an economy that continues to struggle, we have to begin asking serious questions. To what extent are we obligated to allow people to hover in a publicly subsidized stasis? Shouldn’t perpetual unemployment benefits be tied to increasingly demanding requirements? Perhaps the unemployed should get a few months of self-directed job searching; then they must prove that they are turning over every stone in their respective fields; then they must prove that they are taking steps to find different lines of work that align with the opportunities that actually exist in their area; then they must prove that they are broadening their searches to include the possibility of moving.

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13 years ago

I am getting tired of hearing how people need 99 weeks of unemployment because there is nothing out there. They’re right…there is nothing out there. That’s still no reason to let people sit on their collective butts and grab a check without earning it. I know plenty of people who are looking at this like a paid vacation! How about making these check recipients go out and shovel out the plowed in fire hydrants, sidewalks and walkways. How about making people fill the ten million potholes that are out there. Enough already. And before anyone starts yelling that there is no sympathy on my part…you’re right, there is absolutely NONE! My wife lost her job as a result of the housing collapse….she went out and started her own business after exhausting her leads. She is now self sufficient after a year and only becoming more successful in her NEW chosen field. Cut off the benefits and make people have the urgency to do something instead of sitting there waiting for someone to chew their food for them!

13 years ago

Wow, Bill you’ve got a keeper there!

13 years ago

I think Justin has this figured out pretty well. The only thing I would add is an accounting system whereby businesses would verify that recipients of extended benefits were actually seeking jobs.
It could actually be pretty simple… Just give unemployment recipients a unique ID to use for a week, you can mail them some stickers with the number and a barcode. Businesses would report back the Unique IDs they got in the piles of resumes. Businesses that participated would get a little kickback, those that provided specific feedback with their rejections would get a little more. The money could come from the savings on jettisoning chronic leeches from the system.
Also, once you’re clearly not going to find something ‘at the level you’re accustomed to’, perhaps a bit of counseling with finances (living smaller), career advice, or even emotional assistance with transitioning to making less money would be in order.
I wonder how many ’99ers’ have cable TV, kids with cell phones, still live in homes they never could really afford, or turn down any job that doesn’t pay what they think they’re worth, even though the market they were in has run dry.

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