Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unemployment Diary: I Write Letters

Below is the letter I sent to both my Senators regarding the November 30 expiration of extended unemployment benefits.  If you'd like to help the millions of us out of work, please write or phone your Senators right away. (Please see resources below.) (Paragraph 2 was edited for my 2nd Senator to reflect that I visited his office a number of times as part of a lobbying delegation, not shown)

Dear Senator:

I'm writing today to urge you to vote to extend unemployment insurance. Like many, I have been out of work for over twenty-six weeks.  While I continue to search for work, the benefits that I receive are critical to the health of my family.

A few years ago, we met while I was the Executive Director of the (redacted).  (Redacted) and I came to your office to present you with (name redacted)'s Legislator of the Year award.  You were very gracious, as was your staff, and we enjoyed the opportunity to chat with you about your views regarding (redacted).

Since then, I moved to a position with the (name redacted), a trade organization made up of (redacted) in Georgia and Alabama.  Unfortunately, many of the (redacted) had to leave the association as the real estate and construction industries collapsed and they struggled to keep their businesses afloat.  As a result, the Association's budget was cut and my job was eliminated.

I've been laid off since December 2009.

While I've used a number of resources to seek new employment, I have had no success to date.  The (redacted) market in Georgia has shrunk, reflecting the overall health of the economy and business.  I've applied for all types of job from entry level to management and I continue to seek work both in and outside of my field.  

The reality is that there are too many of us seeking work.  Moving out of Georgia isn't a viable option at this time.  My husband and I have children in schools in (redacted) and (redacted) Counties and our oldest daughter is a sophomore at (redacted), attending on an academic scholarship and working two campus jobs to cover expenses.

My husband's job, while relatively stable, is stretched to the limit of its ability to support us.  He teaches for (redacted) County.  To make extra money, he is the Math Department Chair at his high school and coaches three sports.

We have cut our expenses to the bone.  We have depleted our savings.  The unemployment insurance buys our groceries and gasoline and helps pay our utilities.  Over the course of 10 months, we've learned what it is like to have our electricity, our water, our phones and our gas cut off.  Thankfully, those things didn't happen simultaneously.  But each month, we basically rob Peter to pay Paul and when we get caught short, we end up having to pay extra fees to have services restored.  This results in yet another shortfall the following month.

The most important part of this long email is this  - our family is not alone in this crisis.  There are many of us out here desperate for jobs.  While we look for work, the unemployment benefits keep the lights on and keep our families from going hungry.

Thank you for your time and attention to this message.  On behalf of the long-term unemployed in Georgia and across the nation, I urge you to vote to extend unemployment insurance right away.

Best regards, 

Lisa Golden

P.S. If, by chance, you've been considering the addition of a token liberal to your staff, my resume is attached.  Thank you.

Contact info for Senators
Sign the petition to extend unemployment benefits

And if you think that this is a slam dunk because Congress is going to be oozing some trumped up concern about upcoming holidays, I give you this.

Thank you.


  1. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Tweeted!

  2. Maybe you should forget the individual stuff and declare your family a corporation. Also hire someone with a green card perhaps a nanny or gardener then you would be an international corporation.

    Once this is done the government will fall all over itself giving you benefits, tax breaks and other special privileges.

    Alas, with wimpy Dems and idiotic Repugs mucking things up we may never again have calm normalcy. The Repugs seem intent on killing the middle class leaving only the wealthy and lower class workers.

    As George Carlin noted, "We're circling the drain".

  3. Nicely done, Lisa.

    I hope it helps as those Senators read it thru their gold, gem-encrusted rims while devouring that $150 steak lunch given them by their Banking buddies (thinking about their afternoon massage right after their free healthcare visit and botox shots) and mentally preparing for their family vacation to that exclusive beach that Boeing owns in the Mediterranean.

  4. Forwarded to the list for local liberals here in red, red El Dorado County.
    To anyone that has never had to scatter one's family to couch surf while, ahh, 'between domiciles' I would only say:
    "You're Eligible, Too" == YET

  5. this is good, lisa, as a letter and as a comment on the current economy.

    you should shop this as an article/post to some sites and publications that are heavy on political content (maybe even hand it over to your local papers forum editor).

  6. Excellent letter/essay.

    While citizens beg for work the new Congress, much like the old Congress, debates leadership and the newly elected are upset because "their" medical coverage doesn't kick in for 28 days from when they take office.

    Get a clue!

  7. This topic chaps my ass. They have $ to give corporate welfare to Wall Street. They have spent over a trillion on 2 wars in the middle east & still flushing $$$ down that toilet. I read the linked article-- according to Bachmann, the tax cuts for the wealthy are just fine, but paying for unemployment is wasteful spending.

    Allow me to call bullshit on that "reasoning".
    #1. We've had the tax cuts for the wealthy for 10 years now.
    #2. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, keeping the tax cuts will cost the gvmnt. $680 billion in lost revenue over the next 10 years.
    3. Almost all of that $680 billion will go to tose earning more than $500,000 per year.
    4. The majority of the tax cuts will go to the top 1/10th of 1 % of earners, that is, those who earn on average, $7 million per year.

    Here's the thing-- if this theory worked, and we've have tax cust for the rich for 10 years, then, where's the jobs?
    Why aren't we basking in the availability of employment-- all those family wage jobs that should be trickling down???

    No this trickle down theory is the middle & lower class getting pissed on.

    I don't want the debt to grow-- but we sure have money for wars, and corporate welfare, & lots of it.

    I've been watching the classifieds. There is *nothing* in the way of work being offered for realistic, living wage jobs.

    The government created this monster back when they decided to ignore the economy & it went away. (Another G. W. Bush legacy).

    So let them step up & get it together FOR THE PEOPLE.

    The pisser about this too, is they know those struggling to keep afloat on unemployment, don't have the time or resources to launch a full blown campaign- they are too busy scrambling to stay above water. Not like insurance & banking lobbies $$$ resources.

    But hey! Maybe Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow & Michael Moore might draw some attention to these issues & champion the cause.

    Loved Will's tongue -in-cheek suggestion about declaring your family a corporation.

  8. It will truly blow my mind if unemployment benefits are not extended. I have written my senators and will continue to do so. Thank you for this post Lisa.

  9. Well of course, the unemployed don't create jobs, merely suck up the noblesse oblige of the hardest working men in show biz.

    Any local banks owned and operated with Barney Fife types? Easy pickin'.

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  13. Sorry! @#$@$# Blogger told me my post was too long, but then it posted it twice, as I broke it into 2 parts.
    It's all Blogger's fault!

  14. I'm on it, Lisa. Will write and call. It was a stunner to me when they didn't automatically extend them last time, so this time it is more crucial than ever that we all get involved.

    Now, one of my senators is perhaps the most unevolved human being on earth... but still... will try. ;)

    Your letter is amazing. You are amazing, Lisa.

  15. thanks Lisa, I linked to this today. Hope it helps a bit

  16. thanks Lisa, I linked to this today. Hope it helps a bit

  17. I'm guessing you've probably seen reports of this too. It's all so scary and overwhelmingly sad but you've written a magnificent letter. I hope it will be read into the record and cause a change of heart.

  18. Let us know if you get an actual personalized response from either one, or if it's the usual generic "thank you for your interest in this issue" blow-off.

  19. So important--I can't believe the dim thinking of those idiots holding up the rich and trying to squash the poor--do they think people WANT to be unemployed? Well done with the letters--that DOES help. I know my senators and rep at the moment are already on your side, but I can certainly help you spread the word.

  20. Even in DC, jobs are sparse. My girlfriend has been applying for a month or two and gotten nowhere, even with lots of education and skills.

    I help lead a Young Adult group of Quakers, and several of us are currently unemployed, or have had incredibly difficult times finding the job we do have. This with substantial credentials.

    Who one knows is more crucial than it was before.

  21. I hear ya, sister. I know how scary it is right now. I'm tweeting your post here.

    Will be up your way for Thanksgiving. If you guys will be around, maybe we could hook up? Lemme know! Would love to see you.

  22. I signed up. And let's hope things start to get brighter.

  23. I tweeted you. Good luck and keep on them for their hypocrisy.

  24. Wow, fabulous letter. Your work experience may have not gotten you where you'd hoped right now, but your writing abilities surely can't hurt.

    I'd like to think the economy will turn around, but this last election doesn't give me much hope. I'm crossing my fingers (and my legs, that's quite the sacrifice) for you and everyone in your position.

  25. Can I send the letter to my senator? Hmm...what if we all sent this letter to our representatives. It might be a great campaign, "letters from Lisa".

  26. Great response. As I mentioned on Twitter, I was laid off for almost 17 months. The company I worked for reduced their staff, including my position of System Admin. My unemployment benefits of $315 a week were cut in half due to my child support obligations. And while I didn't balk at paying my obligations, it made it rather difficult to pay my bills, which I supplemented with side work (under the table).

    To see this kind of reckless decision from people who are employed is very short sighted. Why do they think that people are wanting to live on a fraction of what they could make given they could find work again to sustain themselves. I'm sure there are some, but it's a small fraction of real people that are riding to ride the gravy train without working.

    We are talking about 3 months here. The lives of those wanting to return to the work force are being toyed with by partisan dog fighting.

    Just pass the bill, Congress. And give those that need the extended benefits a less stressful holiday season.

  27. I linked this on FB. I really, really, REALLY hope that they listen.

    Love to you and yours.

  28. I, too, have been unemployed since December 2009. I was employed in the commercial real estate market in California (enough said). My salary made up 40% of our household income. We have made many adjustments and are seriously considering downsizing to a one bedroom apartment. I have been willing to be underpaid and underemployed but in Los Angeles even that is a struggle. Too much competition and not enough jobs. I am galled when certain politicians accuse those of us on employment of being slackers. Sure, who wouldn't choose a 75% paycut. ARE THEY CRAZY!! I hope the unemployment extension recently passed will help you and your family out. I am so happy to have found your blogs. All the best to you.


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