Standing Out in the Land of Information Overload

Over the past five years there has been explosive growth on the internet and massive adoption of online services. Couple this with the growth of cable and satellite TV, radio, print, and all other forms of advertising, marketing, and sales, and you can see how consumers’ attention has been stretched thin.

To be heard, one has to say something that stands out.

This could be well-thought out, well spoken, and meaningful, of course that would take a fairly smart individual a decent amount of time to craft.

Or, it could be timely, over-simplified, and done to intentionally upset a segment of the population who will then ‘amplify’ it by complaining, protesting, and making it well known to everyone else who missed it (pretty much what is happening right here).

Lately, I’ve heard two people, with more to follow I’m sure, commenting on the extension of unemployment benefits. Both individuals are multi-millionaire, elitists, one in the media the other running for president.

They don’t believe unemployment benefits should be extended because people are fundamentally lazy and don’t really look for work until the cash-flow is cut off.

The reality is that

  • over 50% of those on unemployment have been so for more than six months, the highest figure on record
  • one can not support a family on $600 a week and pay $1000 a month on healthcare for very long without drawing on savings or credit

The number of jobs is undeniably down. People who have 10+ years experience and were middle-upper middle management and now aged late 30s and up are having a particularly hard time finding employment. Those at 50 nearly impossible. With so many people seeking employment, it is more difficult to get through the initial screening and some companies have policies in place that deny the opportunity to work to someone who doesn’t currently have a job.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t earn multi-million dollars per year and wind up in a position, like John Stossel, who is left to complain that he has to pay thousands per year to an accountant to figure out his taxes and has the luxury of job security. Yes, John last night complained that extending unemployment would allow individuals to grow our nation’s debt, while living large. He specifically stated that people don’t try to get jobs until the unemployment benefit is taken from them.

The media in general earn significantly more than an average American, though small in number, their earnings are in the millions. Again, I’d like to see John support a family on $1400 a month after paying healthcare. Rent or a mortgage alone, especially in New York City would see him out of luck in one month.

Two-thirds of US Senators are worth more than a million and the average Congressman is worth six times the average American. The ten highest net value congress-persons are all worth more at least $40 million.  Our politicians are out of touch and over-simplify. Presidential candidates are  worse. Mike Huckabee, on the low side of net value compared to his peers, recently stated those on unemployment for six months or more have simply gotten accustomed to their situation and lost their motivation to want to work.

I expect this type of rhetoric to continue, it is what draws attention to these individuals and attacking 10% of the people to gain personal, political, and financial gain probably appears to be a good risk-reward payoff for them, but I’d still like them to spend six months to two years living like this so they could at least speak from experience.

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