Colorado’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3% in September bringing the state’s 3-month average rate of unemployment below the threshold required to maintain eligibility for Tier 4, the final 6 weeks of federal emergency unemployment benefits (EUC). The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment has posted the following on their website:
UI News and Alerts
November 1, 2011
By federal law, states must maintain an average 3-month unemployment rate of 8.5 percent or higher to continue paying Tier 4 of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). In September Colorado’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent and became ineligible for Tier 4. If you are collecting EUC, you must run out of money on Tier 3 no later than November 12, 2011 in order for us to pay you on Tier 4. If you run out of money on Tier 3 after November 12, you may be able to collect state extended benefits. See our Emergency Unemployment Compensation Web page for more information.
This comes as Democrats & Republicans debate cuts to the ‘big three’ entitlement programs (medicare, medicaid and social security) and the battle over raising taxes on the uber-wealthy continues. And all of this comes as new reports offer indisputable evidence of growing poverty in the United States alongside growing income inequality and the widening income gap among those Americans who ‘have’ and those who ‘have not.’ Please take a moment to watch the video in the November 3, 2011 CBS News report titled, ‘A look at the new faces of American poverty’ in which CBS reported:
Diane Struble of Greensboro, N.C., wrote to her local newspaper: “I’m not the homeless man down on the corner, begging for change. I’m anybody, living anywhere U.S.A.”
Two years ago Diane and Todd Struble were living the dream. They’re college educated, with careers, and members of America’s vast middle class. They had a combined annual income of $85,000. But in November of 2009, Todd lost his job, and hasn’t had a steady paycheck since.
They now have only an estimated $25 in their savings account, perhaps another $100 in their checking, and they don’t like talking about their 401k plans.
Staffers in Rep. Dave Camp’s office, Chris Van Hollensworth’s office among others have indicated that extending the federal emergency UI program – and the increasing levels of poverty and long-term unemployment (ie those out of work 52 & 99 weeks or longer) are part of the discussions taking place in the ‘Super Committee’ budget talks and in the powerful House Ways & Means Committee (where HR589 & all other bills that could help millions of 99ers) go to die.
Last Friday my mom got word that her job has been eliminated again; She’s 65 years old and without work for the 2nd time in 2 years. As many readers are aware, without her willingness to let me stay here, I’d literally be on the streets. I have been unable to contribute financially in any meaningful way. Now, we (not just ‘I’) are officially living under the poverty levels. And there is not much hope that this will change any time soon – if ever.
What is wrong with this country? Rhetorical, of course, but this is the story from the perspective of yours truly and sadly, this is a story that’s repeated millions (if not tens of millions) of times across the country, despite mainstream/corporate media’s unwillingness to tell this part of the story (although that’s beginning to change with the Occupy Wall Street movement and the plethora of recent data & reports regarding increasing poverty levels and income inequality)
Like the one staffer in Mitch McConnell’s office indicated recently, my comments can sometimes ‘offend’ others who believe they are a ‘little dramatic or drastic’ after I asked,
“…if the GOP would prefer to just line up all the (real) long term unemployed (ie those out of work 99 weeks or longer) and shoot us as if we were in some third world country or something?”
“how long do you think that friends & family members (who are struggling themselves) can afford to support the long term unemployed such as myself who do not qualify for any assistance because they have no children under the age of 18, are not elderly or disabled (and are not a military veteran), but are too young to retire and can not find meaningful work, in part because of the rampant discrimination based on employment status (and age) and because there aren’t enough jobs to begin with (never mind living-wage jobs)?
These comments might seem a little dramatic, I’ll admit. But then again, I’d challenge anyone to live inmy shoes (or the shoes of any 99er) for the last 18-24 months and then tell me how you feel-and what message this country and Congress is sending to you on a daily basis. As Diane Struble in the CBS News story above said, “When you’ve been in this situation for a long time, you feel beaten down.”
I am once again asking – begging – my Congressman, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) to represent me & my mom, as his constuents (along with the millions of others) who are living in prolonged circumstances of financial and often emotional poverty such as the circumstances I’ve been describing for nearly 18 months now. I would encourage all readers to ask the same of their Congressional representatives tomorrow and every day thereafter.