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Two Small Good Things Happened Today - Mo's Journal
July 19th, 2010
01:41 pm

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Two Small Good Things Happened Today
First, I found my prescription swim goggles. I've been swimming and/or taking an aquatic exercise class most days, but I couldn't find my goggles. I started up swimming after a long time of not doing it and could not remember where I'd seen them last. I knew I'd brought them with me when I moved, but beyond that... nothing. I looked everywhere, repeatedly. Obviously I can't afford to get new ones, so I've just been doing without. Well, today they turned up in one of the spots they hadn't been in all the other times I looked. Go know. As the song (sort of) says: they once were lost but now they're found, I was blind but now I see (even in the pool).

Secondly, I thought I ran out of unemployment insurance this week, but it seems I have a few weeks left. As those in the US will know, extended unemployment is stalled in the Senate because the Republicans are against it and Byrd died, so the Democrats don't have the 60 votes needed to force a vote. Over a million people have fallen off the rolls with little prospect of jobs in the near term. Another 200,000 get added to those without unemployment insurance each week. I've been watching the numbers fall in my account for unemployment insurance on the state website and last week it was down to $100 so I thought that was the end. The instructions say to keep claiming even when there's no money in your account, because if Congress does pass the extension and passes it retroactively, you get the money if you kept claiming. So I went to the site yesterday and claimed, expecting to get nothing but that $100 and thinking "Just what I need in my life - more rejection." But this morning I looked and there was more money in my account!

It took me a while to figure out how that could have happened. I've been getting reduced unemployment because I'm doing some freelance work (and being honest about it). It seems like they deduct the full amount from your account each week even though they give you the reduced amount, but when you run out they put the money you didn't get back in. Seems like a weird way to handle it but I'm not complaining. I get the princely sum of $328.75 a week for the next few weeks.

Okay, not big things by any means. But the way my life is going, I'm thankful for even small blessings.

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From:hippediva
Date:July 19th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
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{{{{{hugs}}}}} hang in there!

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From:mofic
Date:July 19th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
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Thanks.
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From:barb_krasnoff
Date:July 19th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
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I've become convinced that there are Lost & Found gods that determine what gets lost and when you find it. When something is lost -- for example, my most current pair of distance glasses (I've been driving for the last couple of weeks using my glasses from my last prescription) -- you will not find it again until you make an appropriate sacrifice to the Lost & Found gods by losing something else.

Unfortunately, the gods are not propitiated if you purposely lose something -- it's got to be really and truly lost. For example, when I lost my reading glasses, together with my favorite leather case, hiding my keys deep within my pocketbook, and yelling, "I can't find my keys!" loudly and repeatedly didn't help. I only found the glasses after I lost a favorite earring.

So when I first saw your blog entry, my first thought was, "I'm glad she found her goggles, but wasn't losing her unemployment an awfully big sacrifice? The gods should be restoring everything she lost since she was five years old for that one!"

Luckily, that wasn't the case. I'm figuring you've probably misplaced a paperback book or something.

(Seriously -- yes, last time I was on unemployment I was also freelancing, and yes, they add the monies you didn't get to the back end of your benefit. Otherwise, if you actually lost money out of your account by reporting freelance work, it would be, in essence, fining people for actually working....)
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From:mofic
Date:July 19th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
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Cute theory.

Actually, I did know that they aren't really deducting the money from your benefit, just leaving it in case you are unemployed longer. But I assumed they would just deduct from my benefit account the amount I was paid each week, and I never checked how much they were actually taking out. So I thought I'd gone through it all - including the money I would have gotten if I'd been taking the full amount each week - by last week. I was confused to see money in my account but then I counted out the weeks and realized they deducted the full amount each week but only paid me the reduced amount...
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From:ringthebells
Date:July 20th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC)
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Yay for the goggles turning up and for the benefits not being tapped out yet!

Boo for the economy still sucking and nobody yet having realized that you're exactly the person they need to fill their vacant position for lots of money.

*hugs*
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From:mofic
Date:July 20th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, Alice.
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From:lilacsigil
Date:July 20th, 2010 09:13 am (UTC)
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Ugh, I didn't understand until recently that the US limits unemployment benefits in this way, but it's just disgusting. What do they think will happen when everyone runs out of money at once? In Australia, they put lots of bureaucratic conditions on the benefit, but they don't cut you off after a certain amount of time.

I hope it all holds out until you get a job again.
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From:mofic
Date:July 20th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
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The way it works here is under normal circumstances you get 26 weeks of a fairly small stipend. You pay for it in taxes while you're working - half of it is paid by the employer and half by the employee. But in times of recession/depression the U.S. Congress has always voted to extend that, with the federal government paying. This has happened whether the Democrats or Republicans are in power in Congress, and it has almost always been done through deficit spending, occasionally with additional taxes on the still employed.

This year, the Republicans are saying that they won't vote for it unless it's paid for with spending cuts elsewhere because it's not fiscally responsible to add to the deficit. They also say that having unemployment benefits encourages unemployment - that people don't look hard enough for work if they get this stipend.

This is the same party - and many of the same people - who took the country from a huge surplus under Clinton to an enormous deficit under GWB, voting again and again for tax cuts to the rich while increasing military spending to finance an unnecessary war. So it's completely disingenuous.

I've worked since I could legally do so (at 16 - I babysat from age 11) and have been financially self-sufficient since I was disowned at 19. So 35 years of working to support myself and, later on, my family. For the past 30 years I've worked in this country.

I've paid for unemployment insurance all that time and never received any of it. I could have received it - I've been unemployed - but I felt it's for those who really need it and I would claim if I couldn't get a job in short order. Well, this time I really need it. And I've been trying to get a job as much as is humanly possible. It makes me angrier than I can easily express to think that these people would deny me and those like me this small amount of money to make political points. And angrier still to think there are so many Americans cheering them on.
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From:talktooloose
Date:July 20th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
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I can only imagine how angry you must feel. You have worked for all those years and contributed to the social safety net. Now, when you need to receive those funds (because of the actions of irresponsible banks and war-mongers) you are treated like you are lazy. I love how the "family-values" conservatives are content to let your family go deeper in debt or give up education. In the case of many Americans, they are content to let them go hungry, too.

It's maddening!
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From:mofic
Date:July 21st, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
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I was really heartened by the very moving speech our President gave the other day on the importance of extending benefits and the callousness of those who vote against it. He spoke - as he always does - intelligently and persuasively and clearly. And it looks like they'll be able to push it through now. It's up to 2 million people who have lost benefits, btw.

Yk, I've been wondering why Obama wasn't saying anything about this, at least not in a high profile way. Then I heard someone on the radio saying that his style is to lay low and maneuver behind the scenes until he can win, then make a big statement followed by victory, that it makes more of an impression that way. I really hope that it works this time. Elections are coming up and if the Democrats lose Congress, things will get much, much worse. I hope the voting majority doesn't fall for the Republican bullshit, but I'm always mindful of Barnum's maxim: no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people.
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