An Open Letter To President Obama From A 99er
By Guest Columnist Rob Mark
Dear Mr. President,
I am a 99er. I’m sure you already know what that is, but to clarify: A 99er is a person who has exhausted all available unemployment benefits, including all 4 Tiers of federal EUC as well as state extended benefits.
I was originally laid off in December of 2007 from a job I had held for 12 years. I have sent out multiple copies of my resume daily and filled out countless job applications since then. About a month ago, I finally got my first callback and interview.
My first. Since December of 2007.
When I asked how soon they would contact me to let me know if I got the job, they told me they still had another 7 people to interview that day. It was a part time job – 3 days a week, 8 hours a day. $9.00 an hour. I didn’t get it.
I will be 57 in September. That doesn’t help my chances at all, Mr. President – if anything, it hurts them because nobody wants to hire someone who might retire in 5 years. Mr. President, my benefits will completely expire the first week of September, after which I will be forced to apply for welfare if I don’t by some miracle find a job before then.
I don’t want welfare, Mr. President, I want to work, but there are just no jobs to be had, and that’s the cold, hard reality out here, sir. Mr. President, I’m begging you to please issue an executive order creating a Tier 5 EUC benefits level that will not expire until the national unemployment level drops to 8%.
Mr. President, we are tired of being held hostage by vicious partisanship in the Houses of Congress. We desperately need help, and we need it now. We’ve needed it since March when the 99ers first appeared, sir.
If you have to declare an economic state of emergency to get it done, then please just do it. You have the power, just like President Franklin D. Roosevelt did. I know, I know, it contradicts the message of national recovery you’re trying to convey, but I’m sorry, sir, that just does not reflect the reality of job seekers out here pounding the streets hoping to get lucky.
Yes, lucky. Finding a job is no longer a matter of being qualified. It takes luck, and a lot of it. If you can’t manage that, then at least call on Congress and strongly urge it to authorize Tier 5 EUC benefits for the 99ers that will not expire until the national unemployment level drops to 8%.
The 99ers luck has run out, sir. You’re our last hope. We need you. We need you now. Please help us, sir.