Now 3 years of welfare…er…unemployment benefits?
Today on Facebook I complained in my status about the GOP caving to President Obama on the newest 13 month extension of unemployment benefits in order to get him to agree to a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. One of my Facebook friends took issue with the thread (others who commented on the thread pretty much agreed with me) and in a private message told me she didn’t think anyone who has a job has a right to comment on the need for unemployment benefits. The following is my response:
We’re certainly going to disagree on this, but I respect your opinion. I just think it’s wrong.
I’m glad your daughter found a job, and I’m sorry your nephew hasn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s the government’s job to step in and support him or his fellows. (She explained that her daughter spent a year looking and that her nephew and 350 of his union comrades are unable to find work.)
Unemployment benefits were meant to be temporary to allow for a smoother transition between jobs. In the beginning, I believe it was for 13 weeks. The idea was that if in 13 weeks you couldn’t find work to sustain your previous lifestyle, it would then be time to adjust that lifestyle downward to a more affordable one.
I can say that I’ve been unemployed for only 2 weeks in my adult life, and never drew a penny of unemployment insurance. Not because I couldn’t have drawn unemployment at times, but because I took ANY job that was available so I wouldn’t have to. At one time, immediately following that two weeks (which ended when I was able to walk on my broken leg), I took the first job offered me, a minimum wage position as an unarmed security guard. Because of the low wages, I moved into a one bedroom trailer that cost me less than $100/mo, ate pork & beans and bologna, had no airconditioning, and only a second hand black and white television for entertainment.
Having adjusted my lifestyle downward to that level, I believe I am qualified to comment on the extension of unemployment benefits. Because, in my opinion, they keep people from making those necessary adjustments to live within their means. And I’m sorry if we disagree, but your nephew is not living within his means if it takes a government check to subsidize him.
In the years since my bologna and beans existence I’ve served in the Marine Corps, worked as an independent truck-driver, raised chickens and cattle, and now have finally positioned myself to work as a high school teacher. Again, the fact that I’ve done so many jobs that most will never consider taking makes me feel I’ve earned the right to comment on those who sit back and take a government check rather than adjust their lifestyle to a position they CAN find.
The worst part of it all, is what long term unemployment does to the psyche of the recipient. In essence, it makes him little more than the equivalent of a medieval serf at the mercy of the nobleman on whose land he resided. He loses hope of ever finding meaningful work, loses the feeling of satisfaction that comes after a productive day’s work, and loses the incentive to learn and/or try new things.
These arguments are not meant to insult you. Like I said, I respect your opinion. But I do emphatically claim the right to comment on the extension because I have served in faraway desolate lands, I have spent countless hours away from home pushing a truck and trailer up and down the highway, I have breathed in enough chicken dust and wallowed in enough chicken crap to kill lesser men, I’ve been kicked in the head and everywhere else by 1000+ pound cows and bulls, I’ve worked in the cold rain on holidays when others were celebrating with their families, and now I work with high school kids every day.
I’m not complaining about any of it. The Lord has blessed me and I’ve survived it all and kept forging ahead because He gave me the strength, determination, and will to NOT accept handouts when other avenues were available. But in all of these jobs I’ve had, I’ve heard others say “Oh, I could never do that.” The reality is, they didn’t WANT to do that. You do what you have to do, not always what you WANT to do.
Because I’ve never taken a check, I’ve learned to do new things that many have told me they can’t do. Again, until your back’s against the wall, you don’t know what you’re capable of learning. A hungry belly can provide excellent motivation to learn new skills and take new risks. No reward comes without risk, and when your skills are no longer in demand it’s time to learn new ones.
To sum all of this up, I’ll say what I say to my students whenever they tell me they CAN’T do something. I tell them, “Quit telling me what you CAN’T do, and tell me what you CAN do.”
In respectful disagreement,
I didn’t even address the number of people I’ve heard describe how they work under the table so they can continue to draw unemployment, or the people I know who rationalize not taking a job that pays $100 more a week than their unemployment because they’d “only be making $2.50/hr” in a 40 hour week. Anyone who doesn’t believe benefit extensions extend unemployment is stumbling around with blinders on, refusing to see those who exploit the system.
These are the reasons I’m opposed to lifetime unemployment benefits, and make no mistake about it, that’s where we’re headed–LIFETIME unemployment benefits. So for all you RINOs and liberals who disagree, you can believe I’m wrong, but don’t ever try to tell me I haven’t earned the right to comment on the matter.
My Facebook friend deleted me after she sent the message, but that’s okay. She has a right to her opinion, and I most certainly have a right to mine!
Tags: Unemployment, Obama, GOP, Republicans, Conservatism, RINO, Compromise, Extension, Economy, Recession
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