Activism

Unemployee All Stars

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Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney, whose story on 99er activist Kelly Wiedemer's debt-related arrest I cited in a column the other day, hips me to a much larger universe of unemployees: non-workers who have evolved careers as subjects of news stories about long-term unemployment. (I discussed these folks briefly on Charm City radio this morning.) 

While I claim no kinship of any kind with the 99ers, I note that there is a generational/freedom-from-ageism (agism?) element to their argument and that I am a member of the purported generation, we happy few who greet each other with the solemn query: "Where were you when Skylab crashed?" 

But the unemployees are a varied bunch. Bud Meyers, a former Las Vegas bartender who has been written up in AP, HuffPost and CNN, publishes his own blog at bud-meyers.blogspot.com

Rhonda Taylor of Rhode Island worked as an IT specialist but now organizes 99ers, whose struggle she likens to that of the late civil liberties activist Rosa Parks. In this video with CNN's Kate Snow, Taylor says that she has sold all of her valuables and depleted her own savings, but her rental home looks much nicer and more spacious than my own.

Gregg Rosen's best side not captured in this detail from a photo credited to Reach Out Job Search Blog-MonicaRW.

Gregg Rosen, cofounder of the American 99ers Union, shares with Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson an interest in the fact that more than 40 percent of ongoing federal spending is borrowed. But the former marketing manager and cell phone store owner (one of which should count as self-employment and not create eligibility for unemployment benefits) conflates this statistic with Christina Romer's career-ending claim of a 155-percent "multiplier" for every dollar spent in federal stimulus. 

I believe Rosen's claim that the $1.55 multiplier applies to every dollar spent on unemployment benefits would be rejected even by Keynesians. (Though as a member of the everywhere-in-chains Generation X, I do recall an argument made during the debate over a Clinton-era stimulus package to the effect that money given to the lowest-earners is relatively more stimuluative than other forms of welfare, because lower earners spend all or most of the money in their possession.)

In any event, the 99er movement has already developed an extensive network and grown an important appendage of any ascendant movement: hard-line cadres who denounce the lukewarm methods of the leaders. 

Writing from the state of Oregon, Henry Shivley promises fisticuffs against Fox host Charles Payne and other establishment media figures who ask difficult questions of Rosen and other unemployees: 

I will not allow myself or the 99ers to be further victimized through adding insult to our injury, especially in a public forum.  If I hear anyone in any place trying to portray the 99ers as beggars or welfare recipients with their heads in the trough, I will shut them down, even if I have to take my fists to them…

We are not beggars as it is our table that the elite are sitting at and it is their heads that are buried in the trough, clear up to their shoulders…

I have a message for Charles Payne.  The 99ers are going to take back what has been stolen from us.  If you and your ultra elite masters try to get in our way, this 99er will curb stomp your smart ass.

God bless this Republic, death to the international corporate mafia, we shall prevail.

Update: HuffPost's Delaney says in an email that this post "implies these people are somehow making a living by being in news stories." First commenter Marshall Gill seems to draw the same inference. For the record: My saying some high-profile unemployees have evolved careers as subjects of news stories was not meant to imply that they are getting paid for these profiles. In fact I believe that the establishment media make a particular fetish of not paying subjects of their stories. And in my earlier post I noted my concern that building a personal brand as an unemployed person is more likely to deplete than to enhance your earning power. Nevertheless, I regret any confusion.

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  1. I am to understand that these people have found employment whining about not being employed? Brilliant!

    1. I’m gonna curb-stomp you!

  2. “…death to the international corporate mafia…”

    So this guy Shivley is one of our trolls?

    1. He means the people that shitcanned him?

      I’m new to this story. If he/they had a job with the ‘internationalist corporate mafia’, would they still be complaining?

      1. Wanna get curb-stomped?

      2. Yeah, he seems kind of confused, basically saying “I hate you, I want to kill you, please give me a job.”

  3. Me, I just can’t figure out why ol’ Hank isn’t getting any call-backs.

    1. Don’t call me back and I’ll curb-stomp you!

    2. It’s a real mystery. He seems like such a charming fellow.

      1. If I were interviewing him for a job I would ask him in detail about his curb-stomping experience. If he told me he had never actually curb stomped someone I would then ask him how he intended to back up his resume as I’m not sure I can believe any of it based on the disconnect between his public assertion of curb-stomping knowledge and his private admission. I can’t abide a man who would lie about curb stomping.

  4. Read some of the comments at that link. “Take back what is theirs” and similar nonsense. They sound like the idiots in Atlas Shrugged.

    Amazing how many people are still employed after all this economic disaster known as Bush 43 and Bush 44 Electric Boogaloo. Are these people even employable?

    1. Ed Schultz rabblerouses people like this at his live events.

      I hope they start rioting one of these days, just to watch his smug fat bastard face reacting to what he has wrought.

      1. You and Ed Schultz are gonna get curb-stomped!

  5. The 99ers are going to take back what has been stolen from us.

    so how ’bout you start with your ‘work ethic’, tuff gai. kthxbai

    1. Or I’ll practice my curb-stomping ethic on you.

      1. You been drinkin’ again heller?

  6. 99ers Union? Really? Other unions at least claim to work.

    1. “Other unions at least claim to work.”

      Appearance is everything.

      1. I actually think most union members do work, just not enough to justify their compensation.

        1. It has been my experience, working for years in unionized industrial environments, that about 10% of the union folks work hard and really care, 20%-30% do what they’re asked to do without too much grumbling, about 20%-30% , and about 40% actively try to get away with doing as little as possible.

          The top 10% get nothing more than the bottom 40% other than pride of a job well done and have to put up with constant pressure to reduce their output from the lower ranks who don’t want to look bad.

          1. HOLY CRAP!!! Did you sit next to me when I was working for the LEC? That is the exact same experience I had.

    2. How will we even know if they go on strike?

      1. Audibly-discernable reduction in the level of whining we can hear?

      2. A 3% increase in their productivity?

      3. By the sound of skulls getting split on curbs.

        1. All funny. The four of us should work up some comedy routines.

          1. Only if it pays under the table. I don’t want to lose my eligibility…

      4. How will we even know if they go on strike?

        They won’t being paying the unemployed to picket for them?

    3. I’m gonna to get to work on curb-stomping you!

  7. So this guy wants to “curb stomp” a black man?

    Does he think he is Ed Norton from American History X?

    1. DEYTURKERCURBSTOMPS!!!11

  8. We are not beggars

    You’re right. Beggars have the nominal gumption to go out on the street and (usually) politely ask for money. They actually have to make an effort and show up, in person.

    You’re just a piss-ant whiner with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement.

    1. And you’re about to be curb-stomped!

      1. I don’t have any curbs. Hah!

  9. “I continue to look for work but despite having a BS in Finance and experience working as a business analyst and in the financial services industry for over 12 years, I have not found work. The jobs similar to those I’ve done in the past either no longer exist or have been deemed as ‘non-essential’ by corporate America in this economic environment.”

    Education bubble or stupid woman?

    1. But don’t you see, a piece of paper should gurantee you a job, economic reality be damned!

    2. You would think after 16 years of finance she would have learned why corporate America can’t afford to keep paying marginal employees like her.

      1. I must confess that the more I read about this woman, the more I think, “Christ, no wonder you can’t find a job as a financial analyst.”

    3. We’ll see how stupid she is once she curb-stomps your face!

    4. Education bubble or stupid woman?

      Why not both?

    5. FIRE bubble. The FIRE sector grew to as much as 40% of GDP, that will have to shrink to under 20% before any actual economic growth begins.

      Yeah it sucks when your skills aren’t needed anymore, but that just means you gotta go get new skills. Whining about the oversupply of your skills may be a skill in itself, but there is already an oversupply of that.

  10. (agism?)

    I wish. The stupid “e” makes me pronounce it like “uh-geisz-‘m” in my head whenever I read it.

    JOOS

    1. I always think A-jizzum.

  11. These people should work in the laxative industry. Their words make me want to take a shit.
    What say you, Sandi?

    1. I’m gonna curb-stomp you and then shit in your skull

  12. I’m literally stunned by these people’s sense of entitlement. And we pay for their fucking income. Someone needs to go start flipping burgers at Mickey D’s.

    1. “I’m literally stunned by these people’s sense of entitlement.”

      No, you’re not.

    2. I’ll curb-stomp Ronald McDonald before I work for the international corporate mafia.

    3. I was at McD’s this morning and actually saw Caucasians working there. That’s how you know the economy is bad.

      We haven’t hit rock bottom though because these Caucasians were so useless I asked the manager for a Mexican employee instead.

  13. I found work in Mexico.

    Yeah, the place where millions of Mexicans flee–to go look for work elsewhere?

    I found work there.

    I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t know how to find work or are hard to employ for various reasons, but I know there are a lot of people out there who aren’t willing to take the work that’s available too–and I just don’t have the sympathy for them.

    …not enough to feel bad about them having to take lower wages. …not enough to keep paying for their sorry asses our of my paycheck.

  14. …an important appendage of any ascendant movement: hard-line cadres who denounce the lukewarm methods of the leaders…

    Typical mealy-mouthed handwaving from a so-called libertarian like Cavanaugh!!

    1. I see what you did here.

      1. I just wanted us to be ascendant

  15. am I missing something, what the fuck is a 99er?

    1. Someone who’s had 99 weeks of unemployment insurance.

      1. I didn’t realize they had a memetic name now. Thanks BP.

      2. So that gets you in a club? I thought it would have identified you as “unemployable”.

        1. Use that word again and I’ll curb-stomp you!

  16. No they definitely are not beggars, just an organized gang of thugs.

    Taking money from productive people? Check.

    Threatening violence towards anyone who opposes them? Check.

    1. Dude, is that you spamming under “99 Brain Cells”, or is it a troll using your email under the handle? Because it sure doesn’t seem like you.

      1. LOL it’s me.

        1. Yer gonna get curb stomped!! Also, a trademark infringement lawsuit.

      2. He’s a curb stomping one trick pony!

    2. Libertarians propertarians and other “civilized” definitely are not beggars, just an organized gang of thugs.

      Taking a whole continent from productive people? Check.

      Threatening violence towards anyone who opposes them? Check.

      1. I can’t tell if this is the real White Indian or a satire. Darn you, internet!

      2. The Blackfeet asked their Chief in autumn, if the winter was going to be cold or not. Not really knowing the answer, the chief replies that the winter was going to be cold and that the members of the village were to collect wood to be prepared.
        Being a good leader, he then went to the nearest phone booth and called the National Weather Service and asked, “Is this winter to be cold?” The man on the phone responded, “This winter was going to be quite cold indeed.”
        So the Chief went back to speed up his people to collect even more wood to be prepared. A week later he called the National Weather Service again, “Is it going to be a very cold winter?”
        “Yes,” the man replied, “its going to be a very cold winter.”
        So the Chief goes back to his people and orders them to go and find
        every scrap of wood they can find. Two weeks later he calls the National Weather Service again and asks “Are you absolutely sure, that the winter is going to be very cold?”
        “Absolutely” the man replies, “the Blackfeet are collecting wood like crazy!”

    3. Taking money from productive people? HELLO – the 99ers have not had any $$$$ for 19 months so who exactly are they taking from? You should really KNOW the facts before judging and spewing BS like that. I could not find work after nearly 3500 resumes in 3 years in California, so I sold what little I had left and moved to another state where I was able to find a GREAT job in about 1 month.

      Not everyone in the hard hit states can afford to move to where the job market is better. I was blessed to have somewhere to go and enough $(after selling what little I had left)to get there. Unless you have been in their desperate situation – you cannot imagine the fear and panic associated with that situation. I can only hope all who slam the 99ers and their unfortunate plight someday VERY SOON have to live the same HELL.

      1. So basically you “99ers” are all nasty, spiteful little twerps with an overblown sense of entitlement. Got it. No wonder no one wants to hire you.

        1. 3500 resumes in 3 years? I think submitting over 3 resumes a day is actually casting too wide a net.

          1. It’s more like almost 10 per day.

      2. Guys, I’m sensing a rising star, here. Just enough ALL CAPS for that frothy edginess, yet still semi-coherent. Shame she’s a drive-by and won’t be back.

        1. Gotta love the self-involved “Paladinette” handle too–as if she’s some White Knight for the downtrodden 99ers.

          Her business card must read, “Have Lib-Rage, Will Travel”.

      3. I could not find work after nearly 3500 resumes in 3 years in California, so I sold what little I had left and moved to another state where I was able to find a GREAT job in about 1 month.

        It might have occurred to someone a little less slow on the uptake to move about two years and eleven months or so before you did.

        My God, your sense of entitlement is staggering.

  17. to these layabouts.

    Remove minimum wage from the law books. Legalize indentured servitude.

    1. Trouble is, a lot of these people could get jobs paying over the minimum wage now, but such work is beneath them.

  18. Where were you when Skylab crashed

    Watching CNN at my dad’s office at Hoods Canal Washington wondering what the hell CNN was…which was pretty insightful question for me as I was only 7 and compounded on the fact that according to Wikipedia CNN did not even exist yet.

    1. The station did not burn up as fast as NASA expected, however. Due to a 4% calculation error, debris landed southeast of Perth, Western Australia,[2]:371 and was found between Esperance and Rawlinna, from 31? to 34?S and 122? to 126?E. The Shire of Esperance fined the United States $400 for littering, a fine which remained unpaid for 30 years.

      HA!!

      1. I got a good LOL out of both of these comments.

  19. And then there are people like Tony who boldly claim that paying these people for doing nothing is not a moral thing, but is good for the economy.

  20. I currently work for the international corporate mafia and I have to say they pay a nice wage and have some nice benees and perks.

  21. With all sincerity, this ’99 Brain Cells’ character is one of the best recurring jokes I’ve seen on here. And that’s quite a compliment.

      1. MAAAAAAATTTTTTTT DAAAAAAAMONNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!11?!

  22. If this Gregg Rosen guy is unemployed, how can he afford the same stylist as Triple H?

  23. So with your way of judging the 99ers you think that all 8 million of them must live in a shack with NOTHING in order to prove they need help? You are as shameful as the Jerks in Washington DC!

    1. I think you mean ‘shameless’.

    2. So with your way of judging the 99ers you think that all 8 million of them must live in a shack with NOTHING in order to prove they need help?

      The universe does not owe anyone a living, regardless of whether they are participating in the Shack-brah lifestyle or not.

    3. Maybe they should just figure out what the fucking Mexicans are doing to get a job and do that?

    4. Not a drive by. Awesome.

      Still kickin’ it in CA.

      Oh, and I got a raise.

      Toodles.

  24. Kicking folks who are down is hella fun and I hate to rain on this parade, but — no liberty-loving outrage over knowing a woman was put in jail NOT because she was a threat to the life or property of others, but because she couldn’t afford to pay a traffic fine? Bad enough to try getting blood from a stone; now the government’s imprisoning the stone after it refuses to bleed?

    1. now the government’s imprisoning the stone after it refuses to bleed?

      I’m guessing you’ve never been to court as a defendant. This goes on hundreds of times a day in US courts.

      While I was in court on a DUI weeks after Clinton blackmailed every state into lowering their BAC – actually it wasn’t a courtroom it was a meeting room at a church because the courthouse was having its windows replaced – I sat and waited for all the other petty offenses before mine to get “heard”. There must have been ten of them – nearly all poor blacks caught with an mj cig (street value: 75 cents). And half of these were for non-payment of ridiculous fine amounts. As I’m sitting there I’m thinking “the only way this poor schmuck is going to be able to pay a fine like that is to either steal or rob someone or sell dope.”

      Basically the U.S. justice system has devolved into the Catholic Church – it is interested only in keeping people subservient to the system’s elders based on nothing but the whims and hatreds of its elders, justified with patently false claims of science and statistics. And I’d put the Church miles higher than the US government on the moral totem pole because the Church only ever asked for ten percent.

    2. is the compassionate solution, and it is based upon mutually agreed upon standards where one person is taken care of in his basic needs at a time he can’t do so himself.
      It is how the problem was dealt with for centuries, and millions of people owe their lives and well being to its lawful employment. Also, it is far less destructive to the moral fiber of both person and society than the solutions we have set in place currently.

    3. she couldn’t afford to pay a traffic fine?

      Kinda like how she couldn’t afford to work for less than her previous salary? Amazing that she could afford the costs of blogging but not pay a fine. Any chance she was arrested simply because she didn’t WANT to pay the fine? Big difference.

  25. I am sympathetic to SOME people, but 99 weeks seems like enough time for able-minded and/or bodied person to learn a new skill. i mean, that’s 2 years- enough to get a technical or master’s degree in another field. I don’t want to encourage the education bubble too much, but there are some degrees that still matter and it is not hard for a poor educated person to get into one. Or find 2 shit jobs just to survive.

    1. You’re forgetting the application cycle delay; somebody might not be able to apply and start class until months after their checks begin coming.

      Also, I’m pretty sure that regularly looking for work and being available to immediately accept work are both requirements of unemployment insurance. So there might be exceptions (California has some sort of training program) but I think going to school full time would disqualify you.

      If somebody needs more than 2 years UI, why shouldn’t they just be on regular welfare? Does it really make sense that poor people have to use welfare but middle class people should get higher welfare payments just because they used to have a job? If we’re going to have a welfare system, then this is what it’s there for.

      It’s tragic if somebody is unemployed for 2 years despite best efforts to find a job. But it’s just irrational to argue that there should be wholly separate welfare systems for the middle class and the poor.

    2. So how many degrees does it take to find a job (not a career) in America..Grow up these people are not being hired because people 40 and above cost more for health costs. Simple until you grow up and realize that keep being ignorant that will save America

    3. So how many degrees does it take to find a job (not a career) in America..Grow up these people are not being hired because people 40 and above cost more for health costs. Simple until you grow up and realize that keep being ignorant that will save America

  26. I do recall an argument made during the debate over a Clinton-era stimulus package to the effect that money given to the lowest-earners is relatively more stimuluative than other forms of welfare, because lower earners spend all or most of the money in their possession.)

    I would think that investing money would be more stimulative than spending it. Meaning that money given to people who might not immediately spend it would have a better multiplier, right?

  27. I’m still puzzled by the commenter at the Gregg Rosen site who’s pissed off about the lack of respect for people on unemployment but thinks that libertarian Ron Paul is the answer he needs.

  28. Rosen should call Elvis Costello and ask if he needs a double.

  29. This series has been great TC. I offer for your consideration “unployee” and its variants.

  30. Wow as I live and breath….Terrorists calling the unemployed who get nothing entitled….Why dont you all get out of mommies basement there is a whole big world out there….

  31. As the owner of the blog that took the picture you cut/crop for your article blasting 99ers, it would be most appropriate to credit the source of the picture….which was the Reach Out Job Search Blog or ROJSNews. Thanks!

  32. I’m pretty sure that regularly looking for work and being available to immediately accept work are both requirements of unemployment insurance. So there might be exceptions (California has some sort of training program) but I think going to school full time would disqualify you.

  33. and and other witnesses claimed that the elbowing-in-the-head pr

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