Monday, May 17, 2010

Random thoughts on Unemployment

Nothing is more dignifying than being able to support your family...
by Emily Bingham Hollingshead

We ran into an old friend at the grocery store the other day. This friend is a veteran of the Iraqi war, he has a bachelor's degree, and has done a lot of good for his community. Last year, he lost his job due to budget restraints, so the military offered to pay his education - so he went to SUU with the the hopes of receiving a higher degree that would help improve his financial situation.

This spring, SUU cancelled his program due to budget cuts, and so the military withdrew their financial support. He lives in Cedar City, where unemployment is as high as 8% (maybe even higher) - and this man, who has done all of the right things (getting a good education, serving his country, raising a family) - can't get a job. Because he receives a small military stipend, he doesn't quality for unemployment insurance.

I asked him how he felt about not qualifying for unemployment... he told me it was a bummer that he is continually rejected, because the financial help would at least alleviate some of the pressure, but what he really wanted was to just find a job. He said there was nothing dignifying about needing public assistance, that it would be far better to just find work that would pay the bills.

He has even applied for work at Walmart. The interviewer told him he was "overqualified" and that he was the kind of person who would just end up leaving when something better came along.

I hope this unemployment business changes soon. I have friends here in Cedar City who have been looking for work for a year. They are fortunate that they own their home and cars outright, and that their children are grown. They have also received unemployment assistance, but what they really want... they want to work! They are talented, skilled people who have been affected by this difficult economy. Finally, after months of searching, the wife was able to find a job - it will help ease some stress for them.

Even my little website design business has slowed down tremendously. I used to be able to count on a few key clients to keep the lights on... but I am finding myself going outside of my town to find clients and projects. And it is competitive - freelance designers seem to be a dime a dozen and they seem to be charging less.

In my political wanderings, I hear so many times that those who are needing government or private assistance are just lazy. Everybody who I know who is receiving one form of help or another isn't lazy, and none of them are purposely avoiding work. They want to work. They just can't seem to find it. I hope we can all be a little less judgmental, and a little more understanding. Times are tough.

Image at top: "The Forgotten Man," by Maynard Dixon

Emily Bingham Hollingshead is a political consultant and Democratic Party activist. She is also the Communications Director for the Utah House Democrats and has worked on several winning legislative campaigns.

In 2006, she was the Democratic candidate for Senate District 28, a 6 county seat that encompasses much of the 2nd Congressional district. (No, she didn't win and credits the race for giving her broader insight into the minds of Utah voters).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Creating or saving jobs is an elusive goal for this administration because it is blinded by its ideology. There really is no mystery about how to create jobs; it’s just that the way to do it challenges the basic tenets of American liberalism.

While millions of Americans suffer due to unemployment, the White House sees only an opportunity to push through its ideological agenda. You know the liberal dictum: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Mr. Obama would be well advised to pursue domestic production of energy sources because it is the right thing to do. Not only does it make sense from a job creation perspective and from an energy security perspective, but also because it will help achieve his “green” jobs goal the right way.

If Mr. Obama will take off his ideological blinders, both unemployment and the national economy can be improved more quickly.