Unemployed and forgotten? Senate (finally) extends unemployment 14-20 weeks

by Rich DeMatteo on November 5, 2009 · 7 comments

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In unison, millions of unemployed Americans let out a huge sigh of relief yesterday as Senate extended jobless benefits 14-20 weeks.  Many americans, however, share a feeling of frustration, believing that their country’s decision makers were worried more about devouring ‘lobster and steak’, than the well being of jobless workers.  Have millions of unemployed Americans been forgotten?

How many were forgotten?

  • 600,000 Americans exhausted their benefits in September and October
  • 1.3 million Americans are expected to exhaust their benefits by the end of 2009

Explaining their frustration…

It was nearly a month ago when Senate introduced this legislation.  Weeks of delay sent millions of unemployed workers into a state of anger and frustration.  Specifically, a number of Republicans were found unfavorable for an additional extension.  With 600,000 Americans exhausting benefits in September and October, it’s not hard to understand their anguish.  Last week I covered an update on this legislation, and opened it up for discussion.  Here are a few frsutrated comments from my Corn Heads:

“I know we have been forgotten. The politicians only care about themselves. As long as their bills are paid and they can sit down to their steak or lobster every night, they couldn’t care less. I guess they think the 100’s of thousands of unemployed persons will never vote again. “

“Watching our government debate whether or not to add amendments to the unemployment benefit extension is ludicrous. Has anyone else been following this? I mean come on..people are literally losing homes because of this ridiculous politicking.”

“Why just keep on extending the benefits for a few weeks when all the experts say it will be at least a year before there starts to be any real jobs. It feels like the same stress as a person a death row that keeps getting a last minute reprieve. Just pass it for at least 52 weeks and give us a chance to breathe and find something. This is mental and emotionally abuse of the very people that for generations paid the taxes that line their pockets.”

Explaining this extension…

On November 4th, Senate voted 98-0 for a 14-20 week extension.  Here are critical points surrounding the legislation:

  • Close, but not over.  Senate’s vote pushes this legislation to the House, who should quickly approve the extension.  It’s expected to be finalized this week, or at least 1.3 million people hope so.
  • Each state will receive 14 weeks of jobless benefits.  States that have unemployment rates exceeding 8.5% will receive an additional 6 weeks of benefits.  
  • Extension will not be retroactive, meaning anyone that has exhausted their benefits will not receive a lump sum payment for unpaid weeks.  Instead, they should expect their benefits to begin immediately.

Is it America’s duty to catch the fallen?  What are your thoughts?

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Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Jonathan - I agree with you that the government's purpose is to protect the well being of it's people. Us. I don't get into politics...at all. I know I should, but since it all boils down to popularity, I just can't trust the elected officials. The beginning of this crisis were in was started by selfishness and greed, and it continues on the same way in present times. Survival of the fittest seems to be in full effect.

Jonathan Hyland
Jonathan Hyland

I take issue with this bit from Mariah: "And guess what, the people eating ’steak and lobster” they’re the ones buying goods and services…if you want total equality which destroys work ethic and motivation, move to a communist country." First, I want the research to demonstrate how "total equality [...] destroys work ethic and motivation." Good luck with that. Second, the "steak and lobster" folks, the buying of whatever, it all reeks of the flawed thinking in regards to a "trickle-down economy," whereby the spending of the (overly) rich will eventually benefit us plebes. Ronald Reagan thought it worked, and here we are, with a 10%+ unemployment rate and hundreds of thousands struggling to make ends meet. Guess that theory doesn't hold up rather well. I'm sick of ignorant people crying "SOCIALIST!" every time some government initiative to help citizens comes up. The whole POINT of a government is to protect its people, and in many ways, provide for them. If that's not the purpose of the government, Mariah, then what is? Granted, now, this opens a whole other debate on electing duly qualified candidates... and let's face facts: 'election' is really just another word for popularity contest. From my perspective: rampant greed, shoddy ethics, and careless caretakers have brought ruin to everyone. As someone with 8+ years of psychological education, it simply baffles my mind that so many Americans can willfully - if not gladly - bilk other Americans out of a life savings just to save themselves. That's right, and there's the kicker folks: these are human beings inflicting pain and suffering on other human beings. Go figure. I'll get off my soapbox now.


Nice post and interesting thoughts from your readers. I'm not sure what the cost of the program is? If it's negligible in terms of long-term economic consequences then it does seem like a no-brainer to keep it going. However I do wonder if this is a bit of a band-aid on the hemorrhaging economic problems we face. Those who are jobless likely won't have jobs again until there is an economic recovery sustained enough to generate hiring by companies. So hopefully getting the economy to that point is the key focus.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Mariah - it's not easy, and people in every situation are feeling it. Even department heads with a relatively successful current career are feeling it when they aren't allowed to hire new staff. Sure, it affects them much differently than you and many, but they still feel the anguish. The important thing is to keep focused, and make sure to remind yourself of the light up ahead. It's coming. I'm sure of it.


I want to work. I've been unemployed for awhile and it's very scary. Pressure from so many sources, not to mention from myself. The only jobs that are hiring, know people are desperate for work...so that's where crappy hours, nights, weekends, holidays, and 7.60 an hour come into play. i don't have a house or kids, i am college educated and am having a very tough time. I can' t imagine how people with kids to feed and mortgages are feeling. There has got to be a way for people to recoup. And guess what, the people eating 'steak and lobster" they're the ones buying goods and services...if you want total equality which destroys work ethic and motivation, move to a communist country.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Royce - thank you for the comment. I'm not too sure what the cost of the program is either, but I do agree with you. I've been hearing sprinkles of news that companies are reporting hiring will increase in 2010. This is a good sign of course, but I really think 2011 will bring a greater boost. Does the US Government continue to extend unemployment benefits until that point? I think they will. Hopefully things turn around sooner than later.


  1. […] Good stuff again from Cornonthejob.com Posted on November 5, 2009 by Marty McDonald http://www.cornonthejob.com/national-hiring-news/unemployed-and-forgotten/ […]