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Extended federal benefits for long-term unemployment came to an end for 1,300,000 Americans on December 28, 2013, and now "only one in four unemployed Americans receive jobless benefits — the smallest proportion in half a century."

I don't have anything brilliant to say about the reality of this situation and what it means to millions of American families. These are huge numbers, with terrible misery behind them.

10,900,000 Americans are counted as unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported December 6, 2013.

75% of them adds up to 8,175,000 unemployed Americans who get no unemployment benefits.

So it's hard, hard times for a great many people in the USA, and most of them worked regular jobs for most of their lives.

But it may still be worthwhile to mention that this brutal fact provides us with an unusually exact location of the Overton Window around unemployment.

The percent of the unemployed who get no benefits passed 75% only after the latest big bump, when benefits for 1,300,000 Americans expired December 28, 2013, and before that moment there were only...

8,175,000 - 1,300,000 = 6,875,000 with no benefits, and that, my friends is the Overton Window of plausible discussion and negotiation about unemployment.

That's the always-wavering front line of this war! That's where the action is!

The Republicans won the last battle and now the line stands at 8,175,000!

Meanwhile the Democrats hope to regain their last stable position at only 6,875,000.

And below that line, outside the window...

6,875,000 Americans don't even figure in the conversation!

They don't even exist for official Washington and the mainstream media.

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Comment Preferences

  •  blame (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Whitaker, Assaf, Sunspots

    It seems to me that we should recognise the blame on the Democrats.

    If the Democrats made it an issue, then the Republicans would be forced to own an unpopular issue.

    Your diary does not mention this

    But this leaves you no defence against Feior's next spell - a blast which strikes you full on, incinerating you instantly

    by GideonAB on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 05:05:24 AM PST

    •  How to move the scrum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Whitaker

      If by "blame Democrats too" you mean primary Democrats who vote against extending unemployment benefits, I agree in general.  Who would that be?  The problem is, of course, not that there are SOB's representing us in Washington, it is that it is very difficult to tell who those SOB's are, and hold them accountable.  In this case, which Democrats, exactly, are to blame in a way that has meaningful political consequences?  Patty Murray?  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz?  My own Congressman Mike Michaud - who is not running for re-election to Congress, but to be our Governor?  President Obama? If that isn't what you meant, what is blame's practical effect?

      We can decry the Democratic strategy that in retrospect was, at best, overly optimistic about solving this problem before Congress recessed.  However, it seems to me that whatever it is that the more vocal Democrats do in response to this latest Congressional failure to effectively serve our Nation's needs, it should be simple and directed.   Generalized "blame" doesn't move the scrum (rugby - when both teams gather on opposite sides of the ball, lock themselves together, put shoulders to butts, and try to push the other team backwards so as to capture the ball for themselves), but reduces participation by Democrats (with obvious negative consequences).  

      •  by blame (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Frank Whitaker, salmo

        I was actually just thinking of people stating clearly "the Dems did not fight hard enough".

        One can get the impression from many diaries that it is just down to the Republicans but the Dems let Republicans get away with it, even when the polls actually support a progressive position

        But this leaves you no defence against Feior's next spell - a blast which strikes you full on, incinerating you instantly

        by GideonAB on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 01:16:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why and what is to be done? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Frank Whitaker

          Well, the results confirm that the effort was insufficient to achieve what all Democrats appear to agree was the desired end.  It's worth asking why, and what is to be done?

          •  I answered why (0+ / 0-)

            above, because it is good for people reading dkos not to get the wrong impression.

            What is to be done?  I would certainly be for putting pressure on Pelosi and considering a primary challenge if she does not respond as we would like.

            But this leaves you no defence against Feior's next spell - a blast which strikes you full on, incinerating you instantly

            by GideonAB on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 03:28:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I think the diary does (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Whitaker
      Meanwhile the Democrats hope to regain their last stable position at only 6,875,000.
      That line, to me, emphasized how even the Democratic position is insufficient.
  •  Let me just not that they're not "benefits." (7+ / 0-)

    What previously employed persons are entitled to when they are unemployed through no fault of their own (usually because of bad business decisions) is COMPENSATION. Calling the dollars distributed to the unemployed "benefits" makes it easy to pretend that gift giving has come to an end. That's how euphemisms and dysphemisms work. They allow people to disguise their real attitudes.
    Fact is that many of our employers, especially corporate organizations, resent having to pay compensation for labor. The idea that workers get compensated for not working really frosts them. On the other hand, if employers can rely on their employees being compensated during temporary lay-offs while they retool a plant or prepare for a new "season" that's OK.
    In other words, Congress perceives the unemployment fund as a boon to corporate sponsors of their campaigns. Clearly, the long-term unemployed are a sign that the corporations are defunct, rather than just taking a rest. So, to keep on paying out dollars to the workers is a losing proposition, since they're probably not going to vote right anyway.
    Disgruntled workers aren't going to vote for Republicans. So, it's a no-win situation. Congress might as well double down and be as offensive as possible. Sort of like the unjust steward in the biblical parable.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 05:20:56 AM PST

    •  Bluecollar Workers Vote Majority Republican nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Whitaker, salmo

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 05:54:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, because their corporate employers make (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Frank Whitaker, salmo, greengemini

        it clear that the chamber of commerce sponsored politicians will facilitate the corporate enterprise which employs them.

        Perhaps the biggest American myth of the last two centuries is the one about government keeping out of business. American enterprise has always been suckled by the public teat. Instead of milk, they sucked in rights:

        fishing rights
        logging rights
        property rights
        trading rights
        landing rights
        copy rights
        mining rights
        etc.

        There is so much privilege, it is hard to track. Assigning dollar values actually makes it easier.
        Who knew what the rights of way given to railroad magnates were worth?

        Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

        by hannah on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 06:07:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Who knew what rights of way were worth?" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          salmo, greengemini, hannah
          Collis Huntington, a hardware merchant, had heard Judah's presentation about the railroad at the St. Charles Hotel in Sacramento in November 1860. He invited Judah to his office to hear his proposal in detail. Huntington changed Judah's strategy of finding several investors and instead sought to raise the money from three partners: Mark Hopkins, his business partner; James Bailey, a jeweler; Leland Stanford, a grocer, future governor of California and founder of Stanford University; and Charles Crocker, a dry-goods merchant and eventual owner of Crocker Banks. They initially invested $1,500 each and formed a board of directors.
          So who didn't know what rights of way were worth?

          And that would be the typical homestead farmer, a rube easy to dazzle with a handful of five dollar bills.

          "Assigning dollar values actually makes it easier," says hannah, and I agree.

          Elizabeth Warren for President 2016!

          by Frank Whitaker on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 06:33:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Unemployment Benefits Are Paid For By Workers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Whitaker

    Everyone that works pays into unemployment benefits.  Many never receive what they put in because they are fired so that they can't receive them.  The laws should be changed to where an employee gets what they paid in no matter if fired or resigned.  

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 07:26:38 AM PST

    •  You're mistaken. In 47 states, the total... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tidalwave1, Frank Whitaker, erush1345

      ...cost of jobless compensation is covered exclusively by contributions of the employer. The federal government charges a 6.0 percent tax on the first $7,000 earned by each employee to cover administrative costs of the program in all 50 states. Employers receive a 5.4% tax credit for UC taxes they pay to the states. Each state has its own tax of varying amounts for their UC programs.

      Only Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Alaska also collect taxes from employees to fund their programs.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 08:18:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The situation is awful and in some ways... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Frank Whitaker, Sunspots

    ...worse that you say here. That's because the official count of the unemployed skips over the millions who have left the workforce our of despair (as opposed to going back to school, becoming a stay-at-home parent or retiring).

    What we need is not a mere extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program that covers some Americans who have been out of work for 27 or more weeks (up to maximum coverage duration of 73 weeks in the worst states). We need a revamping of the entire unemployment compensation program—state and federal.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 08:02:22 AM PST

    •  and another thing that we REALLY need is... (0+ / 0-)

      for the Republicans in Congress to get off their dead asses and start EARNING the outrageous salary they have been paid, only to use their limited working days to obstruct the recovery of our economy from the abyss THEY plunged it into under Bush 43.

      We need JOBS LEGISLATION and stimulus programs, NOT this ridiculous austerity they insist on.

      We need to heat up the economy again. Once the economy is perking, there will even be money available for consumers to support individual entrepreneurs' small businesses and consultancies, which have been hardest hit by the stagnant economy.

      As it is now, only corporations are benefitting from the economic recovery, and those profits are NOT making their way down the food chain employees.  

      America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

      by dagnome on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 09:54:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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