This 60 Minutes episode on “The 99ers” was really difficult to watch, and not only because I’m in the same boat. (My benefits ran out in March after 72 weeks. If you’re collecting the top of the scale, benefits run out faster.) Watching people who were making good wages picking through the trash for recyclables or eating in a soup kitchen is a very, very emotional experience:

“60 Minutes” and correspondent Scott Pelley went to several communities in search of the 99ers, but we didn’t expect to find such a crisis in Silicon Valley, the high tech capital that many people hoped would be creating jobs.

If you want to understand why the economy is stalled, come to San Jose, Calif., and talk with 99ers like Marianne Rose. “I remember it coming close to like six months. I was saying, ‘I can’t believe I’m out of work this long.’ Then the year mark hit. And I just started just panicking seriously. Now that it’s over two years I can’t believe it. I just, I can’t believe it,” she told Pelley.

Rose was a financial analyst at a real estate firm. Age 54, she’s single with a grown daughter. After being laid off with about 100 co-workers, she spent her savings, lost her home and finally found herself sitting in a truck with her dog and all of her possessions.

She made a desperate call to a friend and found refuge upstairs in the home of strangers, her friend’s brother and sister-in-law.

“How long did you think you would be in here?” Pelley asked.

“Two weeks really. That’s all I thought,” she replied.

But she told Pelley it has been six months. “And not really an end in sight, yet.”

“What sort of things would you be willing to do at this point?” Pelley asked.

“Well, I can say that probably the lowest level position for me has been now to apply for a clerk, a county clerk and I just realized the competition is pretty stiff out there,” she replied.

Asked what she meant by stiff competition, Rose explained, “There’s a lot of people, speaking of the county. I had applied to those clerk positions. There’s actually four positions that were open. I found there were over 2,000 people that applied for those four positions.”

Rose is one of at least a million and a half Americans who’ve exhausted their unemployment checks.

4 thoughts on “99ers

  1. I know the meme about how long can we expect to collect benefits, that 99 weeks is too long. But it’s a fallacy that UI lasts for 99 weeks, at least universally. First, your state has/had to have very high unemployment numbers, and if the state percent when down, extended federal benefits ended – to wit, NYS went from 8.5% unemployment to 8.3% and extended benefits ended. Second, you had to become unemployed at the right time. For example, based on when I first filed my UI claim, NYS only allotted me 60 weeks of total benefits.

    I really want to do damage to a whole lot of government leaders (especially the ones who demonize the unemployed); a lot of body damage, a lot of wealth damage.

  2. I wish Sharon Angle were one of them… but then her husband does have a nice pension from his government job. So that’s not going to happen.

  3. Wonder when the elites will finally and openly say that this is the second coming of The Greatest Depression ever? And it certainly looks as though it’ll get even worse before it gets better, especially for folks over 50.

  4. Gee, whodathunk rasing the full SocSec retirement age would bite
    society so awfully soon after it was passed back in 1983?

    Barely a quarter century — and, kaboom, people hurting very badly indeed.

    Hey, France, keep fighting that Sarkozy crap, as long as possible. It’s the last year or two or three, when laid off in your 50’s that’s the hardest to hold things together until you reach pension age…. Here, it used to be 65, now it’s 66 for early Baby Boomers and 67 for younger people.

    Just imagine it being 70!

    Or, as the piece said, too young to retire — too old to hire. Catch 22 on steroids.

    Try making it from late 50’s to 70 without a good job.

    Thanks a lot, Tip O’Neill and St. Ronnie — and all the enabling Dems of that era. (It all must have seemed so far off for Tip O’Neill — and would affect so very few…or something like that…. Or, IBGBT* probably applied.)

    Note: Some municipalities make it a crime to take recyclables
    from public trash, even from private dumpsters.

    So, this lady is lucky she’s in an area where she can try to glean some income from dumpster diving.

    *IBGBT — I’ll Be Gone By Then

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