The War Against the Unemployed

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At some point during the past decade, the War on Poverty has changed and morphed into something very ugly – the War on the Poor. In the past, moving between classes was more feasible, but today, social mobility isn't as simple. With more people stuck in their respective classes, the fear of ending up homeless or at the mercy of the goodwill of friends and family has never been more real. As many formerly stable people can tell you, all it takes is a major illness, a job loss or a combination of the two to send a previously comfortable family spiraling into poverty.


A disdain for those in poverty shows itself in many different ways. One of the most common being the ostracizing of the unemployed. People who have lost their jobs due to downsizing, layoffs and even those who have been fired are finding that the people who used to be their friends no longer have much time to spend with them and when they do, the main focus of the conversation is about how to find a job. For some reason, even during this very tight job market, not being able to find a job quickly is viewed as a personal shortcoming.


Finding a job just isn't that easy. In fact, the latest data shows that the number of job seekers greatly exceeds the number of job openings in almost every major industry.


Now, the state of North Carolina, where unemployment is extremely high, has made the controversial decision to cut aid given to unemployed workers. Not only have they passed legislation that cuts off the number of weeks that an unemployed worker can receive aid, it also reduces the maximum weekly benefit amount.


The decision is very unpopular and in spite of the fact that North Carolina's choice will make it ineligible to receive about $700 million in federal aid for the long term unemployed, they are standing firm with their decision. The rationale behind it is that if they reduce the amount and duration of the assistance, then people will be forced to find work or accept jobs that they had previously said “no” to. Which is, in my opinion, just ridiculous. I doubt very much that there are large groups of out of work people who are deciding to just not bother looking for a job because drawing unemployment is such a better option.


Not only does this new legislation give a stamp of approval to the rampant discrimination against the poor and/or unemployed, it also implies that the reason so many people are out of work is just plain laziness. That if people are hungry enough, they will find work. Maybe that was true a decade ago, but these days, it will only hurt the most vulnerable of families.


There was a time in our country when we were taught that collectively we were only as strong as our weakest members and that it was our duty and obligation to offer a hand up to our neighbor. We were taught that by lifting each other up, we can all achieve greatness. Maybe someone should explain this to the people in North Carolina.


Have you witnessed this sort of discrimination against the unemployed? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.


Image source: WikiCommons


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Monica - Thanks for the very well thought out comment. I understand where you're coming from. Unfortunately, I don't think sociology classes would help the next generation learn about empathy. It's something that they learn at home and it has so much to do with how they view the world. Most children these days are kept inside, with security systems monitoring the homes, parental controls on the computers and televisions just to make sure they're safe. We don't let them go outside on their own for fear that they will be hurt or stolen. This climate of fear becomes second nature and it teaches that we need monitoring to keep us safe and that there are lots of people just waiting for us to drop our guards for a moment so they can hurt us. This belief structure allows people to turn their backs on others in need and treat people with a total lack of empathy.
  • Monica B
    Monica B
    Here is a source like the one I read in the Huffington Post.
  • Monica B
    Monica B
    I vote for all High Schools to start making mandatory a few years of sociology classes as core units for graduation. As our society becomes less empathic by the day, I think an idea as such is necessary to help improve the way people relate & interact with one another in our richly diverse multi-culture & multi-races of differing peoples. It is my experience that we are different in fewer ways than many people think. We are very much alike than people realize. My suggestion is a good starting point in an effort to have a stronger nation. Knowledge is power when it is factual & educational. One thinking they have knowledge that is gained through all kinds of false, misleading negative information or unknowing or unqualified sources is beyond powerful. That kind of "false/wrongful" knowledge is destructive & often deadly, not only to the person having such false knowledge but to society as a whole. I have read recently {don't have a source link handy-sorry-it was in the Huffington Post a few weeks back } that an elder, very experienced Historian has reported that the mindsets, ideas & personality traits & types of our top leaders & the financial movers & shakers on Wall Street are pathological. He stated he has never seen anything like it. That is why all the insanity & the apparent lacking of common sense not being applied to issues of law, finances or policies in place to regulate, govern & supposedly be as fair as possible for the majority of the greater good of all citizens is being tossed aside, as we common folk witness such poor leadership & business practices. It isn't being tossed aside, such normal, empathic, logical thinking & acceptable problem solving skills don't exist in a pathological mind of a person with such negative traits. To say one is disconnected, uninformed or mislead by " bad knowledge" is to imply they can be informed & educated to the truthful facts. A pathological mind can not be taught such retraining & behave in a more positive manner. Pathological-caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition. That is a sad, serious statement & should send chills down any person's spine that cares about the future of our country & what our children will be facing in their child bearing years & beyond. Not only is money in play & back room deals being made in the world of politics, finances & big corporate businesses. That all has been happening since the dawn of time-albeit on a much smaller scale & in many instances for different reasons compared to todays horrid happenings we witness. Example in my birth year of 1966 Mr.X might have made a back room deal with Mr.Z to get funds for a few more school buses badly needed or funds for a bridge to be built on a road thousands of people travel daily to get to work or school. Mr.Z in return was assured his funding for the badly needed addition of more federal or state hired job codes to help his area he represents. The mindsets, be they sneaky & the deals questionable in a possible ethical sense if ever ethics existed, in politics & I believe they did somewhat decades ago, were a differing shade of gray. The power behind the deal making was for all intensive purposes by both Mr.X & Mr. Z for things POSITIVE for the greater good of the majority of the people. It isn't like that today in the year 2013 in government, banking or the legal systems. If you have not heard of ALEC & what they REALLY do vs what they CLAIM to do, look it all up. We can tell by the decisions made, the votes cast & outright manipulation & fraud in our financial industries & legal systems that deal making & trade offs are for selfish gain, cover ups or simply unnatural greed & a narcissistic need to feel unnatural power. The ideology of together everyone achieves more & being mindful of doing right by the majority of the greater good of the population long ago was tossed out with the baby & the bath water. We all know the old saying, "poop runs down hill." What starts rolling from the top gravity takes down hill in science & nature it is normal. In a human mind such thinking being applied to human beings in lower or disadvantaged socioeconomic sectors of our society is without a doubt pathological i.e.- sick, destructive & often deadly. Just like I have tried to teach my son & hope to inspire him to a high level in an employment & financially secure accomplished adult life by informing him, " You will be a leader, not a follower." I learned to balance it by reminding him that with leadership come accountability, humbleness & he should have empathy for those less fortunate than himself. I've informed him with sayings & little truthful stories such as, " one can be the most gifted, educated, best neonatal neurosurgeon on the planet with the best medical support team & the most modern equipment in a state of the art highest of high accredited hospital, BUT if the EVS staff that cleans the OR suites & the scrub techs responsible for the sterile instruments, a long with t...

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