While Washington scrambles around so that 1 percent of the public can keep its crappy insurance for another year, no one seems much concerned about these folks:
With time, however, even people with desired skills can become “structurally” unemployed. Longer spells of unemployment become harder to explain away. Jobless workers’ skills can atrophy. Job seekers find it harder to appear eager. Wounds become scars.
After she lost her job, Ms. Barrington-Ward lived off her 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. Two years ago, she had to give up the house she shared with friends outside Boston. She cannot get Medicaid because she does not have a fixed address. She has no car to get around. She does freelance “intuitive” readings, similar to psychic readings, and web production work. A jobless friend committed suicide.
She tries not to let those strains show, but she describes the experience as wearying. “After working since I was 15, I have nothing to show for it,” she said.
I guess the squeaky wheel gets the grease, huh? If only several million of these long-term unemployed had gotten a letter in the mail telling them they were fired because of a law signed by President Obama, Congress would be all over this like...the Philliies over an aging, half-assed outfielder, or something. But these folks who've played by the rules their whole lives and are now in the 50s and 60s, jobless and losing hope don't hold our attention. That's more than just a shame, it's a national disgrace.