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.


11 Responses to An Open Letter To President Obama From A 99er

  1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn B N.J.
    July 24, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I could care less which party does what. Give us ALL jobs or give us unemployment. At this point the lies to America must stop. The truth must be reported by mainstream media (ABC, CBS, and NBC) the only person close to this is Ed Schultz MSNBC. How can something as bad as the numbers of unemployed (millions) not be in the news or receive a Google page 1 paragraph. Everyday on Google you have to search for unemployment information. When the truth is told the facts should include ALL of the unemployed, not those confusing Tiers but include those over 99 weeks.
    They not only lie about the recovery effort but they lie about the help being given. Most Americans think there are jobs available and we would rather collect unemployment. The current bill HR – 4213 is only an EXTENSION of the Tiers 1 thru 4. This does not cover those requiring a tier 5 (over 99 weeks unemployed – 99ers). The passing of this bill misleads America into believing all unemployed are receiving help. When this bill is passed we will still have to wait for ANOTHER bill to be passed for us 99ers. In addition people covered by this bill may soon become 99ers as well. If you have 98 paid weeks and this bill is passed you will only receive 1 week of pay. Then you too will become a 99er without a check!
    The 99ers will then have to wait for another bill with a Tier 5 to be created. Then there’s the August recess. (another vacation break). This will probably be done months from now just in time for the November elections. By then there will be millions on welfare and homeless. Congress, the Senate, both Presidents all know the truth, so how do they keep UPI, Reuters and Google from covering our plight. The truth is out there.

    To the President:
    How can you congratulate each other for the approval of a half completed bill forgetting the 99ers and the Tier 5 unemployment extension? As far as I’m concerned your approval rating is 0%. We definitely want the Republicans out. Your weak lack of leadership during this unemployment situation and the spineless Democrats not requesting help for a Tier 5 and the 99ers is unforgivable. What I have noticed is when a problem has been resolved then and only then do you stand a take credit. Remember those extensions you signed only last until November and you know sufficient jobs will not appear by then. By then there will be more people reaching 99 weeks then ever. How stupid do you think we are? I don’t know what Americans you’re patting yourselves on the back for helping but we were not just thrown in front of the bus but mowed-ed down and left for dead. You need you to stand up now. Not after someone else resolves the problem and you once again take credit. It’s a time for change all right! Change all of you right out of office!

  2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1jim
    July 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

    99er’s, don’t give up the fight…it’s on now….join us in the below blog.

  3. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Paul
    July 24, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I have been sending faxes and messages like this to the President for months. Many have. He is not listening. The Senate acts as if giving emergency funding of UI for more than 99 weeks is unheard of, ridiculous etc. But look at history: it has happened several times before!
    Look at this article: (see the graph about half way down the page):

    We at Unemployed Workers Action Group are trying hard to set up protests for next week but we lack volunteers and help in organizing. Anyone reading this come to our site and get in on the discussion. We have support in terms of getting the info out once we get it organized, but little help in organizing.

  4. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1kk
    July 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    why not lat the people get unemployment into they get a full time job u say people will not look for work they will stay on unemployment maybe if u do it this way they will start off with giving people 1000 a mo then each year that payment will drop by 200 once the money is gone they cant get any more money they will have to get a job.

    • +5 Vote -1 Vote +1bob pinto
      July 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm


      learn how to write and speak as well as being in peoples situation before making comments

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ben W.
    July 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Time to adjust our expectations. I was unemployed for almost an entire year. A few years ago I was making 6 figures. Now I am at half of that. More than likely my job only existed to further inflate the imaginary economy we have been part of for at least the past decade. Some of the jobs that were out there will not return. Once I lowered my expectations I was able to find plenty of work. I had to get over it and so do many unemployed folks.

  6. Pingback:

    +1 Vote -1 Vote +1World Wide News Flash

  7. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Travisnc
    July 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Yes this going to become national tragedy. The unemployment numbers are complete utter non-sense. If you count those that have fallen off unemployment and those that did not qualify in the first place (1099 workers or workers that didn’t qualify quarterly) the numbers would be around 30-40%. These are the numbers that they don’t want Wall Street to know since it would cause widespread panic and sell-off. That is the true numbers but they hide them like the plague. The other skewed number is that I keep hearing the politicians saying that there is only 1 job for every 5 applicants. What a joke! I’m sure all of you know that is complete non-sense also. I recently finally got a call back from a potential employer that I had found online. He told me he had run the ad that morning at 8:00 am and by 11:30 am he had received 213 resumes. He stated that because of that he picked me out of the first 20 for an interview. That is the true numbers. I have 3 more checks left on my fourth tier. After that I don’t know what I will do. I know if I’m still around in November I will vote out as many crooked heartless politicians as I can. I am not holding my breath for tier 5 for I know that it will not pass. Just get ready!
    What happens when 20+ million unemployed people and tens of millions who receive some form of government assistance each month suddenly receive no money? How safe will America be? How angry will people become? Can you imagine long lines of people standing outside Walmart begging for food? Can you imagine being robbed at gun point for groceries as you exit a food store? Can you imagine gangs holding “gated communities” hostage within their gates until their financial demands are met? Can you image hospitals and doctors offices closed because there is no insurance and people cannot pay actual costs? When the government tells a huge number of people they will no longer receive government assistance, what choices will they have for survival? Consider Greece again (even though there has been a temporary respite for Greece by the European Union, the drama is not over – keep an eye on it).

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Marcus Hindsman
    July 30, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I do not know where i belong in the unemployment group, ONLY that I have worked since i was 18 and now am 68 and do not want to stop working. The oilfield is my life and now, I have been unemployed since December , 2008. I have received 42 weeks of unemployment and they say i have used all the benefits available to me. I have not received any benefit since February , 2010. They told me to continue to search for work, keep a log, and to continue to file a claim each week in case benefits became available. NOW, benefits have been extended by congress and I am told that i will not receive any. Something is WRONG with this picture and something needs to be done . All who are unemployed should get these
    funds and not just who each state selectively qualifies. How do we as
    unemployed begin to ask the federal government for help?

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1get real
    August 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Charles Schumer-his office states he is tired of fighting for 99ers.
    Tired? Shall I state what I could, about HIM, being too tired?
    Will he have a bed to sleep in, roof over his head, electric, phone, medical, water….when he goes home to rest?
    Many 99ers will not….but he needs his rest.

    Reid, Brown, Stabenow, and the rest that brag on camera they are for the 99ers…yet waiting for the bill to be introduced.
    Hey, got news for ya……YOU should be writing and introducing the damn bill!
    Apparently while stating you are for us, you are actually telling us you think we 30 million are so stupid….that we do not know what you are waiting for….IS IN YOUR JOB DISCRIPTION!!!
    Or is there a tiny ‘write the bill fairy’ out there that just needs a tiny bit more of magic dust to finish it?

    Maybe Obama should take one minute, STOP patting his own back….and REALLY take action.
    If he passed a tier 5—he would not have to plaster his face and pat his own back, EVERY DAY on TV. THE PEOPLE would be applauding for him!
    ‘Getting’ the message….

    But…..lets discuss votes.

    REAL unemployment is 30%.
    We are in a depression, no matter how you try to candy coat it.

    30% of 300 million people in the USA.
    Take THAT figure and double it to include spouses, better halves, etc.
    Then add (of age) children who vote, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and friends still employed…witnessing the heartache of their loved ones, who are unemployed. Tiers 1, 2, 3, 4, KNOW they will become a 99er.

    The Repubs are known as the party of no. We have watched them every day on CSPAN. They can not fool the unemployed with their illusions and lies. We witnessed the process every day they kept dragging their feet and voting no.
    Derogatory statements by all.

    Republicans will not get the votes…UNLESS…their opponent- is an incumbent.

    The Repubs will get the win….BUT….
    in the NOvember election….the Dem running against them….will win the ELECTION.

    Do not mistake, the Repubs will not win the elections.

    The 99ers gave THEM 99 plus weeks to fix the problem. THEY failed miserably.

    THEY forgot they work for us. AMERICANS!

    The unemployed will go NOvember in droves, to hand THEM…..THEIR pink slips.

    Welcome to the unemployment line.

    We are waiting……over here…..look close at the tent cities….they are there…see them? Welcome.
    Welcome to America.

  10. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1get real
    August 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm (with the dash)

    Welcome to our forum. Info from suicide help, how to live homeless, and the present actions forming to purge a tier 5.

    Isn’t that terrible?

    We actually are posting suicide hotline help and suggestion to survive while you are homeless.

    WELCOME TO TODAYS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We are going to change it.