In front of the Federal Reserve building at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan, New York, the 99ers managed a “Build Up” which recreated the proverbial bread line from the Great Depression era today. Apples and loaves of bread were displayed as if being sold for five cents. Taking advantage of the opportunity to interview a few people at the “Build Up,” I realized that the 99ers and their supporters have differing opinions on how to fix the economy; however, they all believe that job creation is the key to ending the current economic crisis.
In the interest of fair disclosure, I support the 99ers as I tend to gravitate toward any movement concerning workers’ rights. Speaking with these brilliant professional citizens and residents of New York and New Jersey has been an eye opening experience.
Mr. Joe Stanick is an unemployed Engineer from New Jersey who I interviewed regarding Clinton era versus G.W. Bush era economic policy. Joe says, “I remember fondly back to the Clinton years. I was working full-time. In fact, there was a time when I was working fifty to sixty hours a week. A pay check every week. Health secured. There was no thought of lay-offs. No worry about job security. And now we’ve had eight years of George Bush giving tax cuts to the wealthy. Basically gave the keys to the Treasury to the rich. And, basically they looted the Treasury. And now, we have a Government that’s broke. We have millions of people out of work. We got right now fifteen million people on unemployment and then we have another five million Ninety-Niners who are unemployed people that have used up all their benefits. We’re going through tough times!” When asked about the recent election and the overwhelming Republican majority win in the House of Representatives, Joe said, “People are totally disenchanted with both parties.”
A teacher showed-up and announced that six thousand (6,000) teaching positions will be cut in 2011. Unfortunately, she believed that President Barack Obama is in a position to create jobs. Truth is businesses and individuals with profitable ideas create jobs. Congress passes legislation that makes things easier on Corporations. The only jobs the United States Government can create are Census jobs.
According to Connie Kaplan, even American attorneys are losing opportunities abroad due to outsourcing. Connie vehemently said, “We have to stop exporting our jobs to other countries. I’m sorry! It’s so un-American.”
Kian Frederick, Director of Political Action, said that she doesn’t believe that the imposition of tariffs would be wise. Kian says that, “Predatory capitalism is not working for ninety eight percent of America. Plain and simple!”
Gavrielle Gemma blamed global economics for the national economic crisis here in America. Gavrielle said, “This is a global depression” and India’s unemployment rate is rising as jobs are being shipped to Thailand. Afterward, the jobs are shipped to Honduras. Gavrielle said that American business owners are shipping these jobs around the world and storing their profits in off-shore bank accounts. She accused Mayor Michael Blumeberg of depositing 70 million dollars in an off-shore account. Ultimately, Gavrielle blamed Corporate America for hording money. In summary, Gavrielle is saying that keeping Americans unemployed is a profitable game that only the rich can play with the expectation of turning a profit. There’s nothing American about global economics.
Sam Calvin says, “What’s at stake here basically is we already have over two hundred thousand . . . about two hundred forty thousand New Yorkers who’ve lost their benefits that’s in New York State. And, we are going to have another two hundred thousand lose their benefits before Christmas if Congress fails to act. So, that’s what is at stake here and this is the day that benefits are going to start running out for people. The thirtieth is going to be the first day that people are not going to get their checks. And that’s why we want to keep . . . even as it’s festive season we want people to remember the true spirit of Christmas which is, remember the needy, remember the least among us, and also peace on Earth because a big place a lot of this money is going is to war. And you know, we know that’s part of the problem. They’re not building the economy here . . . they’re blowing it up over there.” Sam is an excellent organizer and he gives 100% to the 99er movement.
Dinea Anderson is a precocious fourteen year old who participated in the “Build-Up” in support of her mother and father who are both unemployed. Dinea said images of the historic bread lines during the Great Depression sparked her interest and compelled her to support the 99er movement. Previously, Dinea has been an activist in a couple of movements in New York City. Dinea believes that the United States Government is misinforming the public about the state of the national economy. Ultimately, Dinea says that her parents are worried; however, they are hopeful that the economy will get better. Most of the unemployed that I’ve spoken with share the optimism expressed by Dinea.
In the U.S. Senate, S. 3706 is one of the hottest unemployment extension bills held by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. With the in-fighting between the Republicans and Democrats it’s hard to distinguish between Congressional politicians and gang members. Were’s the respect and the overall duty owed to the American public? The structure of the upcoming U.S. Senate and House of Representatives almost guarantees that nothing will get done for the next two years. However, the unemployed are optimistic that Congress will do the right thing. Let’s hope they’re right!
If you are or have experienced unemployment and would like to tell your story, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or simply post a comment in the box below. If you have an ideas on fixing or stimulating the economy I’d like to hear your ideas.