Unemployment & Immigration

Politicians use terms like the undeserving poor or illegal immigration as red herrings to scare Americans into believing and/or voting for policies that are essentially against the average American’s interest.  People on unemployment are not getting welfare handouts.  Unemployment is aptly named unemployment INSURANCE for a reason.  It is insurance that everyone pays while working in the event they are unemployed.  It works like any other insurance policy.  You have taxes taken out of your paycheck in case of unemployment.  However, unlike other insurance policies, unemployment has a catch.  Regardless of how long you put into the system, you are limited in your length and amount of your benefits.  Work twenty years, never unemployed and all of a sudden downsized.  You are only entitled to six months of benefits unless an extension is granted.  Then there is the stigma of being on unemployment.  Filing for unemployment benefits (that you are rightfully entitled to after having put into the system) makes you lazy and undeserving.

I offer two articles: the first highlights the situation of forever employed, economic downsizing, unemployment and no longer able to work.  The second article illustrates the problem our youth face, college degrees and no jobs.  Yet our politicians call these people lazy.

Trading Down: Laid-Off Americans Increasingly Taking Pay Cuts – And Kissing Their Old Lives Goodbyehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/19/trading-down-long-term-unemployed_n_850220.html

For Many College Grads, the old college try not enough

Illegal immigration cannot exist if: (1) there was no demand; (2) businesses and Americans did not employ them. By the same token, the service industry would come to a halt without them.  Like spoiled kids, Americans want the benefits of illegal immigration (nannies, domestic help, landscapers) without the consequences.  The argument that they are taking American jobs is a bit inflated because Americans generally have a superiority complex about manual labor.  It is beneath them.  It may be okay for an immigrant, but not for them.  And while we are on immigration, can America stop showing brown people as the face of illegal immigrations?!  There is a huge population of illegal Eastern European immigrants in America.  However, whenever the issue of illegal immigrants comes up it is always in reference to our southern borders.  A good percentage of illegal immigrants from our southern borders are seasonal migrant workers that return to their country of origin when the season is over, unlike illegal Eastern Europeans that remain in this country.  However, that is rarely mentioned.

The point is not to fall for political rhetoric of “if we just get rid of lazy people on unemployment or those illegal immigrants all our problems will be solved.”  That is a refrain oft repeated throughout history before a civil or world war.  There must be balance.  No government regulation is tantamount to laissez faire politics and we all know where that ended.  No government interference is equivalent to never disciplining children and hoping they turn into model citizens.  It does not happen.  We must move beyond “back when my grandfather was alive there were plenty of jobs.”  Blaming iPads and technology for unemployment is like those that cursed the railway and the industrial revolution for changing life as they knew it.  We need to acknowledge that advance technology is here to stay and prepare a workforce for that technology.  Technology will only advance.  Certain jobs are never returning to our shores.  The American dream may have to be modified.  However, political rhetoric about lazy people, illegal immigrants and the undeserving poor is why we are unable to move forward.  Those are old arguments not really true then and especially irrelevant now.  Stop looking for scapegoats, own up to the fact that WE (big gov’t and small gov’t proponents) both had a hand in making this mess and get to the business of preparing an educated citizenry able to compete in the global marketplace.

Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.