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Never Seen Anything Like This: Unemployment Claims Jumped Nearly 1500% in Two Weeks

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/03/26/never-seen-anything-unemployment-claims-jumped-nearly-1500-two-weeks

While economists have labeled certain people as “labor” we must remember that is an artificial construct. People are people and taken together are The People. The People need to buoy Bernie into office by whatever means possible if there is to be any hope for them in this nation going forward. He is the only credible voice of Progress at that level at this time and the sand is running low in the hourglass. Please keep at it Bernie–the online talks, the Senate floor speeches–give us what we need and tell us what you need from us. It is right for you to not cave in to Biden, who just ain’t going to be able round the bases come November. There is no reason why this crisis cannot be won by Progress, despite the long odds. I am not naive, but I know that quitting early plays into the enemy’s playbook, and I’ve read too much Sun Tzu to fall for that ploy.
BERNIE 2020!

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“I’ve been a labor economist for a very long time and this is simply unprecedented.”

Buckle up Heidi, it’s going to get a lot worse.
While were at it, how about we stop calling what the Senate passed a “stimulus package”. It’s a treasury looting package for the rich, with a tiny amount of stimulus for the people and small businesses.

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Not mentioned is that many red states have been underfunding their unemployment insurance funds for many years and been bailed out by the feds during past downturns.

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It occurs to me the basic concept supposed to justify insurance itself falls to pieces in the face of a pandemic. With insurance, a large class of unharmed people has to exist to bail out the larger harm to a smaller class. Otherwise there’s no numerical, monetary sense to insurance at all, and it’s just a theological practice: compelled faith.

Unemployment insurance is a textbook example. Obviously, it could never work in the contingency where most everyone becomes simultaneously unemployed.

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As a labor economist, the author knows that unemployment claims are just the tip of a large emerging iceberg. For instance, I read, this morning, that the worst is yet to come because a lot of laid off workers haven’t even filed for unemployment, yet.

I agree that it is a mistake to call this a stimulus package. It’s a giveaway to corporate America, while the people at the bottom get kicked in the teeth, yet again. A one time payment of $1200 doesn’t even cover the cost of hiring a lawyer to declare bankruptcy. For many Americans, it won’t pay the rent or the mortgage or even put a dent in their credit card bills. Calling this part of the giveaway package a stimulus is beyond outrageous; it’s immoral.

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The IRS says they’ll get around to actually dropping those $1200 checks into mailboxes in four months or so. Good check-writing, envelope-sealing help is hard to find. Especially lately.

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Folks, that big rumble might be the bus we have just been thrown under.

American government is overwhelmingly against poor people. And, by all indications, a lot of people are just about to become poor. This is not a reason to not fight for positive government actions and against negative actions. But it surely is a reason to not imagine that the government will do much that is positive. Almost to a person, the wrong people are in office. For the most part, the protections that might have helped have been gutted.

We’re going to have to find ways to take care of our selves and the people around us.