Long-Term Unemployed Baby Boomers in 2013

Those 50 and older, who were laid off over the past 5 years, have had an especially difficult time being rehired. Many have already drained their savings and now rely on government services. Some have taken their own lives.

For the Baby Boomers, the Great Recession and its aftermath has taken its toll on the sons and daughters of the Silent Generation...those who grew up during the Great Depression and World War Two --- those who were sometimes called the "The Lucky Few". But in the prime of their working careers, many of their children are struggling to survive. They weren't so lucky. Simply put, as Susan Sipprelle of the website Over Fifty and Out of Work says, "They were the wrong age at the wrong time."

According to a study by the Government Accountability Office released last year, workers 55 and older have experienced consistently longer periods of unemployment than younger workers, as employers seek cheaper labor and look to skirt potentially higher health care costs.

Whenever we hear media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians complain that too many people are using government programs (SNAP, disability, TANF, etc.) to survive on, and saying that there are "plenty" of jobs to be had, it can really make one's blood boil. These people always use a few anecdotal stories (that may or may not be true) to make their arguments for cutting taxes for the rich, rather than using non-partisan data and research to explain why so many people need government programs to live on. Especially ever since the job market has morphed over the past 30 years with the offshoring of good-paying manufacturing and tech jobs, while simultaneously, having such explosive growth in the low-paying service, fast-food and retail industries.

Instead, these media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians use misleading, false, and skewed (politically or ideologically motivated) reports and studies from "think tanks" that are pushing the interests of big business, and NOT the interests of every day American workers. The pro-business think tanks, pro-business lobbying groups and pro-business media outlets (e.g. Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.) outright lies to the voters, tricking them into voting against their own best interests. They like to use the word "freedom" in place of the word "greed". It's despicable that they use faux patriotism to hide their true anti-worker agenda. It's a shame that many who dodged the draft (politicians, CEOs, media pundits, etc.), are now in power and oppresses the true heroes who actually served their country.

The fact is that for the past 5 years it has NOT been easy to get a job --- any job --- especially one that actually pays a living wage, and is a regular full-time job, and is a permanent position, and also offers humane benefits (like healthcare). For the past 5 years most jobs have been either part-time, low-paying and/or temporary. Employers are doing more with less. According to two articles in the L.A. Times (Part One and Part Two) Americans are already hard-working people. It's just that employers keep pushing them for ever more "productivity" --- and in the process, are wearing workers down.

What don't these media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians understand? Most of us suspect that most do understand --- and know all too well --- but that they just don't care, and only want what's best for the billionaires on the Forbes 400 List --- and not what's in the best interests of average working Americans. According to the Social Security Administration, 50% of all U.S. wage earners who filed a W-4 with an employer and paid FICA taxes earned $26,965 a year or LESS.

Many people still don't believe (or can comprehend) that the Great Recession displaced over 8.7 million workers, or that the offshoring of jobs is still escalating and exacerbating the unemployment problem. Almost a third of all domestic U.S. jobs are still prone to offshoring while 30 million Americans (after 5 long years) still need a full-time job (Apple's iPhones will soon be re-classified as part of U.S. Gross "Domestic" Product, rather than as imports).

Many media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians are trying to convince the general public that 47 million Americans are gaming the system to use food stamps because they are lazy, not because they need SNAP to eat. It's been wealthier Americans who have been gaming the system with a rigged tax code, but most multi-millionaire news pundits on the major cable news channels will almost never admit this because they don't want their taxes going up --- or their bosses' taxes going up (the billionaires on the Forbes 400 List that own the major media outlets.)

Because the government stops counting people in the unemployment rate after a given time, millions of unemployed Americans are no longer counted. But for the sake of argument, by using the government's reported U-3 numbers --- counting part-time workers who want and need full-time work, there are still 20 million Americans who need a full-time job, but there are only 3.8 million listed job openings. Can these media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians do simple math? Are they burying their heads in the sand like ostriches, thinking if they don't see the danger, none exists? Or are the politicians so beholden to their billionaire campaign donors that they are too afraid to utter the truth to their constituents --- putting their jobs before the interests of the American people?

A research paper by Ghayad and William Dickens (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) showed that the long-term unemployed are struggling to find work, no matter how many job openings there are. In an interview for the Wall Street Journal Ghayad says, "Once you are long-term unemployed, nobody calls you back."

But many of the media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians still think it's the same now as it was back in the "old days", when all one had to do was pull up their boot straps. (Reality check: No, this is not the old days. The older long-term unemployed workers were raised during the old days and most of them always found jobs during the old days. These days are not the old days.)

In a speech to a local Chamber of Commerce (a business lobbying group), Rep. Dave Joyce (a Republican from Ohio) said, "The trouble is, it's because they [employers] either can't find people to come to work sober, daily, drug-free and want to learn the necessary skills going forward to be able to do those jobs." (This is a typical anecdotal story to disparage the less fortunate and most unlucky...like older long-term unemployed Americans, who may have already consistently worked and paid taxes for the past 35 years during "the old days".)

Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas (seen giving a speech on C-SPAN last night) said Obamacare was forcing businesses to offshore their manufacturing to China (although this has been happening since the 1970s); and a pundit on MSNBC said today that manufacturing workers who had their jobs offshored overseas failed to acquire new skills, like in the tech industry (even though those jobs were also offshored).

Howard Foster writes, "President Obama was once asked by the wife of an unemployed engineer why the U.S. allows H-1B visas for engineers and other high-tech workers when so many are unemployed. The president seemed remarkably ill-informed in responding. He said, without citing any statistics, that businesses tell him they cannot find enough engineers."

But this kind of anecdotal evidence is usually misleading. Obama should have known that there are many unemployed engineers. In fact, the U.S. Census had put the number at 1.8 million. And in a study by the Economic Policy Institute, they found that "the United States has more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM occupations."

The editorial board of the New York Times writes, "There is a durable belief that much of today’s unemployment is rooted in a skills gap, in which good jobs go unfilled for lack of qualified applicants. This is mostly a corporate fiction, based in part on self-interest and a misreading of government data. When there are many more applicants than jobs, employers tend to impose over-exacting criteria, and then wait for the perfect match. They also offer tightfisted pay packages."

It seems that many media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians are trying to convince the general public that over the course of 19 months (during the Great Recession, from December 2007 to June 2009) 8.7 million workers suddenly lost their jobs skills. But many of them who are over 50 years old have PLENTY of job skills --- a LIFETIME of jobs skills. Americans don't lack job skills, they lack jobs.

How easy is it (really) to find a job? And especially for older workers, who have been passed over in record numbers? Older unemployed Americans have not been hired mainly because 1) they're older, and 2) they're unemployed. Otherwise, they're responsible, mature, experienced and diplomatic individuals, and many have skills and most are reasonably intelligent; but they have those two fatal flaws: 1) they were over 50 years old and 2) they were laid off.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office study identified employer reluctance to hire older workers as a key challenge that older workers face in finding reemployment. The GAO also found that the number of workers age 55 and over experiencing long-term unemployment has grown substantially since the recession began in 2007. Other findings:

  • Individuals age 55 and over have consistently experienced longer durations of unemployment than younger workers.
  • The median length of unemployment has more than tripled for older workers.
  • Only 31 percent of those older workers age 55-64 who were displaced between 2007 and 2009 had regained full-time employment.
  • Several experts interviewed said long-term unemployment diminishes the likelihood that older workers will ever be re-employed.
  • Long-term unemployed older workers who exhaust unemployment benefits before turning 62 are particularly at great risk.
  • Displaced older workers suffer greater wage losses than younger workers.
  • The effects of job loss are likely to be longer-lasting for older workers, including them being more likely to lose subsequent jobs and experience additional unemployment spells.
  • Losing their jobs has taken a toll on their sense of self-worth, reduced their standard of living, and put them at risk of long-term financial hardship.
  • Long-term unemployed older workers struggled to pay health insurance premiums and some said they had found it difficult to secure private insurance because of high costs or preexisting conditions. Many had forgone seeking medical care altogether, and stopped taking prescribed medications because they could not afford them.

A study by the Urban Institute also reported that older adults took longer to find work when they lost their jobs; and that wage losses were especially steep for unemployed workers in their fifties who managed to become re-employed. As of 2011:

  • Adults in their fifties spent more time unemployed than their younger counterparts.
  • Half of workers age 50 to 61 who became unemployed spent at least six months out of work (It's much higher now.)
  • It took more than nine months of job search for half of unemployed adults age 50 to 61 to find work (It's much higher now.)
  • Unemployed adults in their fifties were about a fifth less likely than their counterparts age 25 to 34 to become reemployed. (It's much higher now.) - "Conclusions" on page 5

A newer study from the Urban Institute shows that even if the economy returns to full employment, many workers are still likely to face long-term unemployment. Other findings:

  • Long-term unemployed workers are less educated than employed workers, but actually somewhat more educated than newly unemployed and discouraged workers.
  • Ages 56 to 65 - 14.8 percent are long-term unemployed workers, 15.7 percent are employed workers, and 17.8 percent are discouraged workers.
  • 40.5 percent of long-term unemployed job seekers are age 16 to 25. This suggests that the youngest job seekers are likely to experience shorter spells of unemployment.
  • The characteristics of the long-term unemployed changed from the periods before (2007), during (2009), and after (2012) the Great Recession. The long-term unemployed in 2012 were somewhat more educated than before the Great Recession.
  • Workers with less than a high school degree now make up 18.1 percent of job seekers who have been out of work more than six months, rather than 23.5 percent as was the case in 2007.
  • Those with some college but no degree are making up an increasing share of the long-term unemployed.

According to another report by economists Dean Baker and Kevin Hassett that was cited by the New York Times (which was also referred to in a congressional hearing for older workers) a worker between the ages 50 and 61, and who had been unemployed for 17 months or longer, only had about a 9 percent chance of ever finding a new job. And the longer they were unemployed, the lower their chances for ever finding work again. Add in any sub-standard credit reports because they were unemployed, medical records indicating below average health, any back taxes owed, a mortgage foreclosure because of job loss, or a rejected disability claim by Social Security, and the odds are much worse for an older person ever finding a job again --- essentially, they are SOL.

Since the Great Recession began, many older workers have been out of work for five years or longer, caught between a rock and a hard place, because no one will hire them and they are not yet old enough to qualify for regular Social Security.

All in all, the Baby Boomers were the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath. These Americans in their 50s and early 60s --- those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security --- have lost the most earnings power of any age group.

And a study by economists at Wellesley College found that people who lost their jobs in the few years before becoming eligible for Social Security, also lost up to three years from their life expectancy, largely because they no longer had access to affordable health care.

Many older workers have run through their retirement savings: One survey of post 50s found 25 percent had used up all of their savings between 2007 and 2010. And those who are forced to take Social Security at age 62 are stuck at a lower benefit for life. According to the GAO report, someone who exited the workforce at that age would receive a median monthly benefit of $909 -– compared to $1,212 for people who wait to take Social Security until age 66.

For someone who's 55 years old today, and has already been unemployed for 5 years, they would still have to wait another 7 years before they can become eligible to take an early Social Security retirement at the age 62 (with the reduced income). But they will still be without affordable health care coverage until they can qualify for Medicare at age 65 --- unless of course, with the new qualification rules, they might finally be eligible for Medicaid in 2014. (And we certainly know who opposes this.)

Research also suggests that long-term unemployed Baby Boomers may die sooner too, because their health, their income security and their mental well-being were battered by the Great Recession at a crucial time in their lives. The study cited also found that for people in that age group, the long-term unemployed were also more prone to suicide.

The major TV media outlets consistently reports on an improving employment situation, based on the government reported U-3 unemployment rate, but this is very misleading. The U-6 rate would be a more accurate measure (even though even that statistic doesn't include millions more who have supposedly "dropped out" of the labor force. Some have put the number of "discouraged workers" between 8 and 10 million since December 2007 (when the Great Recession began), and most likely the majority of them are 99ers. (And one can reasonably guess, most of them were older workers.)

And rarely is the plight of older workers ever mentioned, except in a few online stories. Instead, we hear major media pundits interviewing many bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists, politicians and other corporate shills who claim the current administration is turning the country into a nation of dependents, rather than pointing out the offshoring of good jobs, the mass creation of poor jobs, and the huge difficulty of finding any job at all. Their emphases has primarily been on government programs to sustain those who are no longer being offered any opportunity at all to earn a livelihood.

The United States has the worst income inequality of any industrialized nation. One of the very few talking heads in the major media who decries this record-high income inequality is Ed Schultz (who was once a conservative) on MSNBC. It's odd, in that that President Obama would mention the middle-class so often, the offshoring of jobs, and a more fair tax system, after he had also made the CEO of General Electric (owner of MSNBC) his Jobs Czar when GE's CEO not only offshored many good domestic jobs, but he had also successfully "avoided" paying any corporate taxes. (Now Obama is blaming homeowners instead of the banks for the housing crisis. That my friend, is also a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.)

For those over 50 and unemployed, the statistics are grim. Once out of a job, older workers have a much harder time finding work. The reality is that the problem of the older unemployed was acute during the Great Recession, and is now chronic.

Andrew Sum, director of Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, says, "The longer you’re unemployed, the more likely you are to leave the labor force, and the more likely it’s an early retirement for you.”

According to the Labor Department, the majority of the long-term unemployed are older white men, including many college-educated workers who rebounded from job losses earlier in their careers, only to see employment prospects dim in what should be their prime earning years. Economists say the longer that they are unemployed, the harder it becomes for them to find work.

“It’s the problem I worry about the most,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Global Insight, a Lexington forecasting firm. “We’re condemning these people, creating this permanent underclass. Over 50, it’s just impossible to get a job.”

Those 55 and older who lose jobs have the most difficulty finding new ones. This segment of the labor force has consistently had the highest long-term unemployment rates [and experts say] is a looming public policy crisis as this group becomes dependent on various forms of public assistance --- because of either permanent joblessness or prolonged unemployment. Only about 15 percent had been able to find a full-time job.

AARP's Public Policy Institute surveyed unemployed baby boomers in 2010 and 2011. While 71% blamed their unemployment on the bad economy, almost half also said they believed age discrimination was also at play.

A few statements made at a Congressional hearing last year for older workers who were long-term unemployed:

  • Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) "While Americans were hit hard by this recession, the ramifications for older workers are particularly severe. Once older workers lost their jobs, they struggled far more than other groups to find work again."
  • Charles A. Jeszeck at the U.S. Government Accountability Office: "An October 2011 AARP survey of workers age 50 and over found that nearly a quarter said that they had used all of their savings during the past three years. Further, long-term unemployed workers nearing age 62 may opt to claim benefits earlier than they would have if they had still been working. Claiming benefits early, particularly for life-long low earners, can increase the risk of poverty at older ages."
  • Joseph Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace: "It's compounded for older workers. They're dealing with the stigma of being older. They're dealing with the prejudices that come with it, with the discrimination that comes with it [and the] perception that lots of folks have that you're looking for something for nothing --- or your skills are too dull to be of help to anybody. It's a challenge if you're under 50. It's a category 5 hurricane if you're over 50." (In an interview for PBS Carbone also said "They're carrying a double whammy, not just the long-term unemployment, but they're 50 and older.)
  • Christine Owens - Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project: "When they [older workers] become unemployed they are more likely to remain so and to remain so for longer periods of time. Moreover, older unemployed workers are three times as likely as younger unemployed workers to become unemployed because they have lost their jobs." She also mentions the Protecting Older Americans Against Discrimination Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. (All the relevant testimony from the hearing was reposted here.)

The longer any worker is unemployed, the longer one tends to stay unemployed. Businesses hesitate to hire people who have not been working. Those workers tend to get "discouraged". The result is what wonks call hysteresis, where the scars from joblessness diminish the chance of future employment and reduce future earnings.

In an exposé by The Atlantic, they found that employers intentionally screen out the long-term unemployed, even if their résumé has the same work experience as someone unemployed for less than six months.

In one ABC report about older unemployed workers (video) it shows that the economy might be slowly recovering, but not for the long-term unemployed, especially not for Baby Boomers over 50 years old. They have been in a continuing struggle to find work in the wake of the Great Recession after 5 years of trying to find work --- and after repeated rejections.

Researchers found that the long-term unemployed will suffer deep mental and emotional scars from the experience. A Gallup study in the Economic Journal found that those who were out of work for at least a year took longer to recover emotionally than those who had lost a spouse. The results showed quantifiable declines in their health, their self-esteem and their overall emotional well-being. One Gallop Poll showed unemployed adults and those not working as much as they would like are about twice as likely as Americans who are employed full time to be depressed.

Carl Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University in New Jersey says:

"There is really no demographic age group that has as much difficulty getting back in the job market if they lose a job. There is definitely bias against older workers, even if you have skills. They are depressed. They can't deal with rejection anymore. Many of them are requiring food stamps and Social Security Disability Insurance. There has been a high early-enrollment in Social Security, which is a lifetime punishment for people who are forced to do this, because many are taking roughly one-third less at 62."

The New York Times: Suicides Spike 30% for Baby Boomers:

  • Suicide rates among middle-age Americans have risen sharply in the past decade, prompting concern for a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry.
  • The most pronounced increases were seen among men in their 50s, a group in which suicide rates jumped by nearly 50 percent.
  • It is the baby boomer group where we see the highest rates of suicide.

Most reasonable and informed people can assume that the vast majority of those deceased Baby Boomers would much rather have had a full-time job that paid a living wage (with healthcare). But for some reason, many of those media pundits, bloggers, radio hosts, lobbyists and politicians (that cater to the ultra-wealthy) would much rather have the general public believe otherwise --- that it was the Boomer's laziness or their lack of job skills, rather than their economic desperation, which had led to their early demise.



Update on Unemployed Older Workers

From the New York Times, who mentions jobless Boomers in general, but they don't specifically mention "long-term" unemployed Boomers.

* Two-thirds in that age group [55 to 64] who found work again are making less than they did in their previous job; their median salary loss is 18 percent.
* The re-employment rate for 55- to 64-year-olds is 47 percent --- and finding another job takes far longer (46 weeks for boomers.)

Remember: The longer a Boomer (or anyone else for that matter) is unemployed, the less chance they have at re-employment. And remember all those that are no longer even being counted by the government, so they wouldn't be included in the New York Times recent statistics.


$200k for 6 day hospital stay???

owes $171,569.44 for the six nights he spent at the hospital

That is outrageous. One could hire their own Doctor and equipment for $50k for 6 days I think, these hospitals are getting away with murder! How is this called health care when entering a hospital is guaranteed financial ruin???

Well, folks....

These boomer folks were the folks who helped Reagan bust the unions, destroy their own parents' retirement years, and who advocated for a free-market economy without the social safety net. Now, and only now, do they wake up and see just how dumb they were.



typing in all caps

Is considered screaming online. We know what you tell us is true, yet consider writing normally. We've shown many an article that women STEM are so discriminated against it is worst than 1950, try 1880 it's so obvious and horrific. This is especially true in California, the supposedly left leaning state.

It is now 2017. Perhaps it is

It is now 2017. Perhaps it is time for an update on this article. I know I never re-entered the workforce. Still ready, willing, and able to work.

Unemployed baby boomers

I'd like to see President Obama say this in a speech...of course, I'd like to see world peace too...and it's more likely...

Structure Incentives to Help Local Employment

As a former wind power development I worked in a few states - just 2 or 3 - that gave wind farm developers preferences for power contracts and taxes if 50%+ of the economic benefits (long-term cash flows) of the wind farm stayed in the state where sited. We need incentives such as these to re-invest through local firms and to hire locals as a countervailing force to the relentless concentration of "value-add" into far-flung international hubs whether a major US city, Shanghai, Bangalore, or name-your-hub. We also need lower cost of inputs and regulatory streamlining in order to keep businesses competitive enough on the world market to encourage them not to leave or reduce activity here (oh and do so without ruining our environment, labor laws, and etc). Third, individuals have to keep upgrading skills, at ALL ages, and business and govt need incentives to encourage (strongly) these individuals to work hard to upgrade periodically (including granting serious time off to keep upgrading). Fourth, the US needs to get smarter in its law and policy about how to compete intelligently, not blindly, with countries that merely take advantage of our open economic borders and general fair play. Fifth, there is no substitute to encouraging innovation - cheaper, faster, better, smarter. An area that cries out for this would be healthcare, yet "Obamacare" mostly forces everyone to pay into a broken and overpriced system, and does little to encourage true innovation to lower costs. Mega-dumb. Finally, sorry to say, but illegals aka "undocumented workers" do take jobs citizens would like to have, but the flood of illegals drive down the wages - a $15/hr roofing job becomes a $9/hr job, not worth it to a citizen with possible alternatives. Taken together - upgrading skills, incentives to keep projects and portfolios "flowing down locally", streamlining regulation and keeping a lid on the cost of inputs, getting competition policies correct, incentivizing innovation, and jobs-for-citizens first and foremost, will probably be enough to keep the US competitive and encourage job growth. Wow that's a lot in a comment.

Age Discrimination Is Very Real

I would say anyone over 40 that is not working right now is lucky if they will ever find work again. The major corporations figured US workers can not be exploited anymore so they went global and are making record profits during this depression. Corporate officers will take home another round of fat bonus checks at year end and small businesses will continue to be crushed by lack of corporate domestic spending and crippling regulations from a government that gives every free pass and tax break it can to the corporates, while using every mean possible to enforce regulations on small businesses. End result is a deadly cocktail for US workers. Small businesses have to hire kids, immigrants, and low skilled workers at the lowest wage possible, corporates figure they have to exploit cheap overseas or immigrant labor to keep prices down so the low wage US worker can keep buying their disposable junk. To both, if you are 40+, degreed, skilled, or have something of tangible value to offer, you are too expensive and far too risky. Better to hire a low skilled person that can be trained and more importantly, someone that doesn't care if they don't get paid a living wage or benefits. It's a fast race to the bottom, eventually to a place that justifies slavery as necessary to keep the marketplace 'profitable.'
I'm 40, been out of work for over a year now. My mistake, leaving a minimum wage job to return to school and finish college so I could get back into the field I used to be in. Now that I have a degree, I'm unemployable because I also have 20 years of workplace experience.

Age Discrimination Is Very Real

I Agree with you entirely on this and have personally seen an email from my former employer outlining 10 steps to force older workers to quit. After working 30 years for one firm I have learned that "over qualified" really means too old, expensive to insure etc. Ageism is rampant in the American workplace today and nobody wants to address it. At all. Dedication, talent, experience today have all been trumped by younger, more tech savvy workers. My dear friend Camille is HR president for a huge American corporation and flat out told me "We know younger workers will change jobs on average 8 times between the age of 20 - 30 and are ok with this because technology is ever increasing and since millennials are "me first" I have been forced to accept this by our board of directors. Their response to me regarding our experienced senior workers was "get them out as quickly and discreetly as possible". No .. in America as technology moves ahead the value of a worker and the time they are treated fairly in the work place decreases. Camille summed it up for me thus: "When you hit 40 your employment to termination clock starts at 45 it picks up speed. At 50 you can expect that false faults in your performance will be found at 55 ... they want you gone". What millennials will find due to the fact technology is ever moving faster their clock will begin to start at 35". They will not deal with it as well as the boomers.

Newly proposed plan to cut food stamps

If the House majority leader Eric Cantor has his way, people like myself are totally screwed with his newly proposed plan to make cuts to SNAP. It limits benefits for jobless adults without children to just three months out of every three years.

It also terminates those not meeting certain work requirements...even if there are no jobs available and people are willing and able to work. (It's unclear if this applies to people who are currently applying for disability, and therefore, unable to work.)

As it now stands, this November cuts are already scheduled. My SNAP benefits go down from $200 to $189 a month --- or $6.22 a day. So that's a big bummer --- I'm already hungry.



wow, boy does Cantor deserve a serious blast

Let them eat cake isn't enough to describe the hatred involved in such an agenda. What is wrong with this horse's ass that he has an agenda to force Americans into starvation? Seriously, this deserves vitriol, condemnation.

Comment on Unemployed Baby boomers

When I was growing up, someone who didn’t have a job was a bum and a freeloader. Let’s face it, the social contract is broken.

The whole idea of putting yourself through school, getting a good education with good grades, paying your bills, working hard, saving your money…doesn’t exist. When I was growing up that’s what they told me to do. It was actually considered a noble thing. Now, no one cares how you got it, just as long as you have it. The baby boomers were warned about the drying-up of resources as we got older. So I did everything they told me I should do to combat the impending doom.

Any fool would say that money buys happiness, but it sure buys you options. I’m living my worst nightmare. I’m the perfect demographic. I’m 54, the end of the baby boomers. I’m a single male Caucasian. I’ve been laid-off eight times in my career. I was hit hard by the recession. In the last six years, I’ve been laid-off three times. One was for six months, one was nearly a year and a half and this time for over a year and eight months. All my savings are gone. I have no health insurance. Even if I did, I couldn't afford it. There is no retirement. I don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. I don’t qualify to get the education I need to compete in the job market. I had to give up my apartment because I couldn’t afford it. I used savings to move to an area of the country where I thought there would be more opportunities. I share a bedroom in a flop house with several other people because it was cheap and I needed a place to stay. I don’t have any resources on any level, to compete. I’ve simply fallen out of the system…the forgotten generation. Yet, I still have to pay taxes for the little money I made doing temp jobs. This is not self-pity. These are the facts.

We keep pushing the longevity of life. But, seriously, what are we going to do with all these people? How are we going to take care of them and give them resources they need and most of all purpose? There simply are too many of us. I’m 54 and don’t have the resources to take care of myself. What am I going to do when I’m older? I mean, you have to take into account the quality of life and not just the quantity. Sure the numbers look good on paper, but what good is life if you can't live?

Actually, I have no intention of getting that old. There is always an option. Everyone asks me what my Plan B is. If I told them, they’d put me in an institution. I have no moral issue with the plan. After all, we now choose when and if we have babies, why can’t we have the same control on the other side of life? (No, this isn’t a suicide letter.) People always say that others have it worse. I always say they can execute their Plan B, as well.

I’ve always took pride in being able to take care of myself. I can’t anymore. I’m, frankly giving up. They won’t let you live with dignity, yet they make it difficult to die with dignity. I need to maintain my pride, dignity and self-respect. (So, I won’t be a greeter at Wal-Mart and I won’t go on General Assistance and I won’t live in a Section 8. I just won’t do it.) I have to read my resume now and then to confirm that at one time I had a life and was a professional and a productive, contributing, self-sufficient member of society.

So, is this it? Is this what it all amounts to? If it is, then I want it over. I have compromised my life too much to just survive. Besides, how long will it be before I get laid-off again…six months, two years? If I’m having problems at 54, what will I do if it happens in the future? I have no time to recover. If I allow myself to compromise any more, I won’t recognize who I am and who I fought to be. I will relinquish my pride. I won’t and can’t live with that. There’s just no dignity in any of this.

One thing I have to keep telling myself….IT’S NOT MY FAULT!

Telling someone “something will come along” when you’re unemployed is as much of a cliche as telling someone when a loved one dies that “they’re in a better place”. You just want to hit them...hard.


I hear ya, and our government, this should be job #1 to get work back to what it used to be and it's worst than that, it is denial that millions are wiped out as a result of offshore outsourcing, bringing in foreign guest workers and eroding work so instead of a right it's a survivor game.

We won't tell you a bunch of crap about the situation, more just write your representatives, keep speaking out and raising hell. There are millions just like you and if everyone raised hell, they might just have to pay attention to the rancor.

giving up and executing plan B

Yep, I am 47. And after working for 25 years at the same company and finally having my hours cut down, and down, until I was only working a ridiculous one day a week... I quit. ($40.00 an hour was what i made) I thought I would find a job, and I did. But they were only temporary. The last company couldn't even afford to keep me working at $14.00 an hour due to the ''recession''. Basically, I have been unemployed for 6 years off and on, never got a dime of unemployment, and finally had to go live at my Mom's house. But after having it all... A good job, hot girlfriends, lot's of friends, a new truck every few years, and a nice pad.... I have lost everything. After dating many beautiful women, I now haven't been on even one date in years. My self confidence is gone.
It is way too late for me now. Plan B is starting to sound peaceful. I used to fear death... Now I look forward to it. Boy, this country is in deep trouble! I feel sorry for the survivors. What a waste of a life mine was.

Loss of respect, dignity, self esteem is unbearable.

I am 51 years old and was laid off in 2008 from my job as a quotes administrator with a large aerospace company. I have some technical trade school certifications and have been working since I was 14 years old. I have been looking for a job for over 5 years now and have had two interviews in that whole period of time. I lost my job first, then I lost my home, my husband, my car, and my world has simply turned from normal to a constant nightmare. I have been at the mercy of the environment, and I get no benefits except for SNAP food benefits. I am so disheartened and have thought many times that it would be easier if I were not here anymore. I have come to believe that I am the problem. I have suffered great losses in the last 5 years and it all started with losing my job. I have been a survivor of many situations in my life, and I have only one person who is my family. I ave no where to turn, and I am discouraged and my self esteem is in the proverbial toilet. I just want a job and I cannot find one anywhere. I understand completely where you are coming from. I feel like my life is over. It really is. Even my own sister calls me a freeloader now. It cant get much worse than this.

Ironically, none of us ever liked your sister. You, on the

other hand...we always thought you were ok. ;)

That line - "I have come to believe that I am the problem". No, you ain't. The policies that are funneling to the wealthy our output that would otherwise be creating opportunity or quality of life improvement for ALL of us, are. The forces arrayed against you, against all of us, have no soul, and want to deprive us of everything we have as output. They don't want to kill us, they want to stand us up against the wall with their claws as we live and struggle, and their goal is to collect from us into the grave and beyond. (A dead debtor can't make you any money, but they are working on that).

Doesn't really sound like any of that is your doing, eh? Nor are you big enough by yourself, (or even with a couple hundred thousand neighbors) to do much - so it couldn't possibly be your fault.

So time to bite the bullet. What we used to have is gone and likely not coming back in our lifetime, and I think we are just going to circle the drain for at least 2-3 decades, maybe more. All in all, past both our lifetimes. (Tens of millions could cooperate and make things better, I just don't see the scale of the work it would take being implemented)

But if you know things like that are coming, do some learning to make yourself better at survival. Spend some time looking around for other things to do (like you have been, but do something new, because the old stuff isn't working). Learn how to make it through the day with a long stick and hat, and still be happy. (That takes practice, if you are used to using computers).

Know this. YOU decide how you will look at the day, not them. No one can "make" you feel a certain way about something. That is entirely unique and within your control. You aren't in North Korea, and you aren't in a U.S. prison camp. You are doing better than some. It ain't much, but you do the best you can with what you have, and that will help you with that self-esteem issue.

Shed the memory of what was. It. doesn't. matter. What matters is what's in front, and what you can do with it. You now know that this is not your fault, right? Do not let those bastards beat you down. Fight them.

Your sister is lucky to have you. (Just watch A&E to see what she might have wound up with otherwise - EEK!).

Good luck.

I was laid off along with 39

I was laid off along with 39 other people during the recession following 2008. This was after going three years without a pay raise as the company explained they were having financial difficulties. I had it on the word of the person doing the bookkeeping that this comoany was NOT in troubke and rather enjoying great profits. At the time I was 58 years of age. As weeks turned to months, then to years of unemployment despite a wide job search and canvassing, both in and out of my field, all I could think was thank God I wasnt 49 as I would not be able to sustain myself long enough to collect a meager pension and Social Security. I could not obtain even a minimum wage job in retail ( "overqualified") The indignity of being left to rot with nothing but television and walking has left me chronically depressed and at times suicidal. The part that galls me the most is the company I once worked for simply picked up stakes, moved to another nearby town and hired completely new, more cost-effective staff. I am part of the living dead. Noone cares. When I finally collected my social security I officially declared I was not retiring, I stated I was unemployed with no other options. The clerk at SS said she hears that a lot. I explained I possess literacy skills and am highly computer literate. I refuse to join AARP for this reason. It just today came to my attention that my spouse enrolled me in AARP. I intend to write a letter and recind my membership as I am not retired, I am unemployed for seven and a half years. I am not a retiree. Ready, willing and able to work. Noone will give older workers a chance, yet we are told to reinvent ourselves. I hear you about wanting to belt them hard. One day I just may.

Need to network, organize, but most of all accept this reality.

I think that last part is going to be our downfall. Too many people don't deal well with change, and they have to if we have any hope. Too many people still have in their heads that somehow we are going to get back to where we were, and we are not. Not in our lifetime, perhaps never. But life is still worth living, and to give up means giving in to the bastards that continue to profit from our misery. We could organize, protect ourselves, cooperate with each other and insure our housing and food, put economic pressure on employers who don't hire enough older workers at a decent salary, change some elections - but it is going to take giving up the mindset of the Reagan Democrat and become adults who realize that what they have is because of the sacrifices of those who came before us, not the things we have because of the debt we have been accumulating by selling our freedoms for the past 40 years.

They did it in the labor movements from 1865 to about 1930, and we can do it again, but we have to set aside that illusion of security we lived with for so many years, and immerse ourselves in getting free again.

I just don't know if we still have the spirit.

Reagan Democrat?

I believe that nitwit was a republican. I lived in California when he was governor. The worst ever!

the real truth

I got kicked out too. My mistake was getting a job in OLD technology. No demand for it anymore. Now I am back in school getting a CS in the new technology. I had plenty of interviews based on what I learned in the NEW tech (prior to going back to school).

I had zero interviews for old tech. That is more important than age - unless you are trying to get a manual labor job.

Bottom LIne: WE get the govt that WE vote for - socialism is the only solution...

what is happening now is -- capitalism as capitalism was meant to be - only for the rich

I loved this article, but I do not like when labor goes agains labor - labor must stick together and fight management - and labor MUST VOTE FOR LABOR in elections...

OR, we get more republicans - and more republicans means that people die