While Congress spent the lame duck session passing tax breaks for the wealthy, DADT, START, and 9/11 responder assistance, it did not address one of the more tragic consequences of this jobless, slow-motion recovery, the growing population of 99ers -- those who have exhausted all available unemployment benefits, in some cases up to 99 weeks.
There were a few halfhearted efforts to address the 99er issue, but all efforts failed. Senator Stabenow (D-MI) in August 2010 introduced the Americans Want to Work Act, which would have added up to 20 weeks of Tier 5 benefits in states with unemployment rates of 7.5 percent or greater. Representative Berkley (D-NV) offered similar legislation in the House that would have added 20 weeks of Tier 5 benefits in states with unemployment rates of 10 percent or greater. The final attempt at 99er assistance was from Representatives Scott (D-VA) and Lee (D-CA) who proposed adding 14 weeks of benefits to Tier 1. That effort failed due to its proximity to the end of the current congressional session.
Beyond those failed legislative attempts, Congress has ignored the over-5-million long-term unemployed. The population of 99ers is expected to swell dramatically in 2011 and with Republicans in control of the House; most 99ers feel that any chance they had to receive help have ended. Millions of long-term unemployed feel abandoned and hopeless this holiday season.
LaDona King, or Paladinette as she is known by many 99ers, decided to tell the 99er story with a holiday flavor in a dark-style, WeirdAl Yankovich way. This 99er "Santa Baby" version should be heard by President Obama and all those in Congress who said they wanted to help the long-term unemployed but failed to deliver anything for up to 5 million struggling and desperate Americans.
For those who wish to sing along to the accompanying video:
Congress Baby, the 99ers need a tier 5... to survive
I know you're HEARTLESS P@#*s But... so what?
My children need some dinner tonight!
The car got repo'd and the rent is awfully late... but wait
You only care for the rich that's a B*@#H
there's millions of us dying out here.
We can't afford a Christmas tree
While you're all buying Cartier at Tiffany
You bailed out banks Greece and Haiti too
I think it's time the 99ers heard from you.
Obama baby, just help the 99ers please
And... don't tease
Been a really tough year
I Hope Your change is comin' tonight.
Obama honey, you sold 99ers flat out
And now it's snowing out,
My stomach's growling
I need some food and shelter tonight.
Sherrod honey, Schumer and that Stabenow too
Were through we all trusted you
but senate baby your lies have left us hurtn' out here
We're not rich - guess we don't count
The dirty little secret you won't talk about
There'll be no jobs again next Year
It's time you kicked your senate's butts into high gear.
Congress baby just pretend to care for us poor
Once more -- come on it's just a check -- so what the heck?
There's millions of us dying out here!
That's right, I'd rather work than fight
Hurry Congress there's 99ers dying TONIGHT.
You can see LaDona's take on her song at Merry Christmas 99er "Sacrificial Lambs" From Hawaii - Glad you're Not here
Her extensive efforts to help 99ers can be seen here.
Follow Michael Thornton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/layofflist