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The Unemployed, in Their Own Words

Gawker.com asked unemployed people to tell their own stories, and the responses have been flooding in.

They’re harrowing, but they’re worth reading. Or rather, what makes them harrowing is what makes them worth reading; these are intelligent, articulate people (the all caps rants presumably don’t get published) who, often, didn’t make any particularly bad decisions but are stuck in the shithole for the foreseeable future. As one submitter put it:

I feel as though I fell down that big chute from Chutes and Ladders, and at this point in life, I won’t be rescuing the kitten from the tree anytime soon.

Personal stories are important because statistics—so many unemployed for so long bla bla bla—don’t register on our minds in the same way. Think of how many people understand the Holocaust through the experiences of Anne Frank or Vladek Spiegelman. (As someone said, “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”)

Also, all too many of these submitters tell the same story–unemployment insurance helps, but once you’ve been unemployed for too long, employers won’t look at you. That’s even if the long-term unemployment doesn’t drain your confidence, make you screw up interviews, and generally make you unemployable.

This is why we should have public works. We’re paying these people to look for work when there is none. We should be paying them to work. It’s really not rocket science: there’s plenty of work to do, and there are people ready and willing to do it. And right now is a great time, because we can borrow at nearly no interest–it’s free money.

I’ll end with another quote:

Mostly, I hope this shit gets better for my kid. Cause… this is shit. And those that shat are doing just fine. Getting ready to do it again. All I can think is, not on my kid, you don’t!

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