This is What the Unemployed Look Like

60 Minutes has a segment on the unemployed who are not getting a job. They called it The 99ers, meaning those who are about to fall off the unemployed count, or already have. That's right, over 99 weeks and they cannot find a job. Watch below and realize:

  1. This is Silicon valley
  2. All of these people are over 35
  3. These are the best and the brightest

 

Imagine if age discrimination wasn't rampant, if labor arbitrage wasn't enabled. Think about this women digging through the trash and think about new businesses, starting a business, innovation and competency. This woman is digging in the trash when she should be running a business and if this isn't a crime, I don't know what is.

The absurd Viagra ad is so ironic. Here are these people, the best of the best, worked hard, played by the rules, resorting to sorting through the garbage to survive. Yet corporations seem to view people over 35 as consumers, buyers of Viagra! Me thinks the best Viagra is a damn job!

For some statistics on the unemployed and excuses employers are making while refusing to hire people, read Blame the Employers.

Meta: 

Comments

That show on 60 Mins.

broke my heart. Thanks for highlighting it.

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Why I put the video up almost "naked"

I could have said, "watch this" and almost did.

That has to be the most realistic "personal story" video segment I've seen in a long time. They made a point to go to the place always screaming "worker shortage" (read young, foreign cheap labor), one of the most wealthy areas in the country, where income inequality is most stark and clearly picked people to interview who are the cream.

I especially appreciated they showed that one can have a PhD and be grateful for a part-time job at home depot, which also blows the lid off of the claim that our problems are just "structural". See Blame the Employers for some statistics on this.

I don't know if anyone here watched TV, but it's like a different world they are talking about from what the reality is for most Americans. Just take any sitcom, they will be working in some job while living in a $500k home and magically have an amazing amount of free time where they don't have to pay bills. Commercials are completely out of reality.

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I am one of them.

I used to be a System's Engineer. I've been living on savings and 401k money since I was laid off. I have chosen to go back to school and learn a new skill as a chef after a two year stint looking for a job in Silicon Valley. I am halfway done and there is, at least, a good chance I will be able to find a job after I graduate. Everyone I knew is either out of work or they've changed careers. There is no sense in trying to find work in the Electronics field, because those jobs are gone and won't come back for a generation. I'm lucky -- I saw it beginning to happen in the early part of the decade, and I saved as much as I could and got rid of everything that cost money every month, like house, car payments, and furniture. I paid cash for a car and I'm still driving it today. I believe I am going to be OK, but I feel for everyone else trying to get by.

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looked like propaganda to me

My girlfriend and I watched this and thought it was kind of strange that no one was interviewed other than middle-aged white, educated persons. Yes, it was sad. But we live in Michigan. Come to Detroit and interview some out of work auto worker with 3 kids and no savings. The comment by the lady in the video still image that said "i was a shopaholic before i lost my job" definitely would have had the teabaggers howling "it was her own fault". Besides, how much longer did any of them have to go before they still get to enjoy the privelege of Social Security and Medicare?

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problem with personal stories

You don't get the "big picture". Find a Detroit personal stories video interview clip and we can add it. How about generally, if you know of a great, in depth, accurate personal stories unemployment video clip, post it in the comments.

Silicon valley is where he went and he walked into a "self help group". Frankly Silicon valley is loaded with Indians and then Chinese, but in terms of domestic diversity, i.e. Black engineers, black middle class, women engineers, Hispanic engineers....it's a wasteland. In addition to that, now it's becoming an age discrimination wasteland and an American worker wasteland.

If 60 minutes went to Detroit, I do believe he could have found Black engineers unemployed, Hispanic HR unemployed and so on.

The point of this interview is you have PHDs, people at the top rungs of their careers, enormous education, experience, skills, who cannot even get a part time job at Home Depot. They are all middle aged because Silicon valley (except for executives of course) is one of the worst areas for age discrimination, but this is new.

I'm sure if he did this personal story segment in 2002, he could have found all of he Black women, the black engineers who lost their jobs.

Which would be another interesting post. When it comes to labor arbitrage, are the first victims U.S. domestic diversity? Firings seems to move from women, blacks, hispanics to age and then to all Americans as they pick people off to be fired. That's just an observation, I have zero data, zero statistics to back up this statement, so it could be completely wrong.

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Stunning and heart-wrenching ...

A few years ago, on a trip to Buenos Aires, I saw what appeared to be middle class people going through trash bags for recyclables. At the time, it never occurred to me that it would happen here, as well. My heart goes out to all of them ... honestly, I don't even have the words to express how wrong it is to leave people in these circumstances so helpless.

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Back in the 80's we the

Back in the 80's we the organizers of the labor movement saw this coming. If you think it is difficult to get a job if you have age or negative ethnic identification, imagine if your background includes years of organizing workers to defend basic conditions and wages. However what we possessed and there are many employers who will recognize this and employ you is a basic understanding of the following and it seems to me all the people in this video either neglected or did not posses this knowledge.
1) there is no such thing as a secure job, only a secure employee, ie no debts, multi skilled, minimized obligations and savings are essential.
2) in this capitalistic culture you will only be employed as long as you can make your employer money.

I will not belabor the point. I have spent my life defending workers rights including the right to a living wage. However we have to be strong and self reliant, a job is a bonus, we must have the skills and resources to survive independent of the government or corporation. The lady recycling has the right attitude, she will prosper.

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Short term thinking results in short term gains.

Quite why the so-called elite think a few hundred thousand short sighted idiots who hold all the wealth and three hundred and twenty million penniless serfs constitutes a viable economy I have no idea. For decades, the American consumer has been the only game in town for foreign companies who manufacture goods for export. In their blind rush to reduce their labor costs, American companies have made substantial profits; but these are short term profits. Once consumer demand in the U.S. is destroyed by unemployment, where will those future profits come from?

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First they came for the

First they came for the steelworkers and I did not protest because I was not a steelworker.
And then they came for the autoworkers and I did not protest because I was not an autoworker.
And then they came for the assemblers...
coders...
system analysts...
call centers....
research scientists....
paralegals....
radiologists.....

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