Jobless, Broke, Homeless, & Hungry

24 May

Last week a former colleague of mine let me know he’d used up all of his unemployment benefits. He was looking for work. He was the third person who has contacted me since the beginning of April with the same news.

No more checks and no jobs in sight.

By year’s end it’s been estimated that more than one million Americans will have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Hundreds of thousands have already lost their meagre lifeline to subsistence. And of the more than 15 million citizens without a job, less than two-thirds are even eligible for unemployment benefits.

I haven’t seen an unemployment check since autumn 2008 when, through a mistake on my part, I became ineligible. But I’ve been able to squeak by with freelance writing assignments, an involuntary member of the so-called “gig economy.” Most of those who have been thrown off the unemployment rolls aren’t as lucky as I am.

I still have a home. Many do not. Depending on who’s counting, homelessness in this country ranges between 1.6 and 3.5 million individuals. And it’s rising fast. People are also going hungry. In my state of Oregon, the kind souls who once donated to the Oregon Food Bank are now getting their own groceries there.

People are jobless, broke, homeless, and hungry. At what point will they get angry and lash out against the powers that be? Or will they internalize their misfortune and sorrow?

So far, it’s been mostly the latter. Americans are a conservative lot and, by and large, unwilling to take collective action. They’ll wrongly blame themselves instead of the greedy corporations and incompetent politicians who have ruined their lives. Given that our utterly corrupt two-party system conspires against the underprivileged and unemployed, there will be no help there.

Other than the radical right’s and media’s darling anti-tax Tea Party, there is no serious populist opposition in this country. No national organization of substance is taking up the cause of the downtrodden, certainly not the Democratic party. And until that happens, more people will lose their benefits, their homes, and their three square meals a day.

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One Response to “Jobless, Broke, Homeless, & Hungry”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Jobless, Broke, Homeless, & Hungry « Croisan Views -- Topsy.com - May 25, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Everett Hall, gg. gg said: RT @Croisan: The new American: Jobless, Broke, Homeless & Hungry http://bit.ly/b37f6w It keeps getting worse despite happy talk in the media […]

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