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Director of News and Programming
Award winning journalist Gary Baumgarten hosts the News Talk Online show on He asks critical questions, and invites people from all around the world to talk directly to his newsmaker guests using Paltalk's voice over IP technology. Gary came to Paltalk as director of news and programming from CNN where he was the radio bureau chief and correspondent in New York for a decade, where he covered, among other things, the 9/11 attacks in New York and Hurricane Katrina. He was previously reporter and assistant news director at CBS all news radio station WWJ in Detroit. Prior to that he was managing editor at Detroit Radio News Service and a reporter for the Jackson (MI) Citizen-Patriot, the Detroit News and a number of weekly newspapers. Paltalk is the largest multimedia interactive program on the Internet with more than 4 million unique users. News Talk Online is also syndicated by CRN Digital Talk Radio to cable systems serving an additional 12 million households.


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SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 12:09PM

Recession warning no news to unemployed

Rate: 11 Flag

The Wall Street Journal quotes a number of economists who are saying a recession is in the offing.

Did we really need this panel of experts to tell us what we already know?

This comes as no news to those who have been unemployed. Out of work for days, months, years.

Now there’s a debate over the extension of unemployment benefits. I actually saw a guy interviewed on set at CNN yesterday say they should not be extended. Because that’s a disincentive to finding work.

He allowed as to how people on unemployment would rather wait until the benefits are about to expire to look for a job. They’ve got to get off their duffs and find jobs, he insisted.

The anchor seemed a bit taken back by all this. Asking the “expert” where the jobs are.

I know people who have been out of work for two, three and even four years now. Folks who have been hard working contributors to society all their adult lives.

Of course, by the CNN guest’s measure, they are all just enjoying retirement on the government’s dime. As if the meager unemployment benefits keep them in the lavish lifestyle to which they were accustomed when they were gainfully employed.

Then there are those who are employed. But make so little money that they have to hold down two, three or even four jobs.

Sometimes the jobs are related to their life long careers. Often they are not.

And sometimes, they are lucky enough to find jobs “off the books.”  Working for cash money. That’s never reported to Uncle Sam.

Which, of course, contributes to the government shortfall. But at least they are working.

I guarantee you the people I know who are out of work would rather be gainfully employed than getting unemployment insurance.

I also guarantee you that to them, the Wall Street Journal article that we’re headed into another recession, comes as no news at all.

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Good post, Gary...and you hit several nails squarely on their heads.

Why these people would honestly think the unemployed in today's economy are only unemployed because of disincentives--is beyond comprehension.

People who think like that just are out of touch with the real world.

But I have a friend who was unemployed for over two years—trying with every ounce of fiber to get a job—and who, now that he is employed, is back to his conservative song-and-dance about people who are unemployed are lazy or disinclined to work because they want to live off the dole!!!!
Possibly on recession; it still depends on how quickly certain policy measures are taken.
There is something of a disincentive to find work with benefit extensions, although what that work would be might not really be very efficient in terms of accumulated human capital, i.e. someone with corporate experience taking two jobs, one at the Walmart, and the other cleaning floors at night, which I have seen first hand, and was the argument for Georgia Works.
Some people however never know when being pushy goes too far, and destroy everything instead of getting close to what they want, socialists and capitalists alike, zionists and palestinians alike, Indians and Pakistanis alike as to strongly analogous policy disputes. Your expert's about 60 per cent wrong, not one hundred, but more than half, because the other thing he's not seeing is that if the corporations have failed in this manner, it means some of the unemployed actually would be the right ones to listen to per entrepreneurship, but private capital won't ever see that, again, at the risk of destroying everything, because people with a lot of money in those types of circles too often let that go to their head too much, as powerful people always do.
The Repugs want a recession because it will make Obama look bad and they hope that will help them win the White House. Government of, by, and for the people is only a memory. And the innocent not the guilty are paying for the downfall of democracy.
I understand that the definition of a recession is based on lack of growth in the economy, but they're measuring the wrong things. I know one person who lost a good job with benefits at the beginning of the recession and has had nothing but temporary jobs since. And, his unemployment ran out a long time ago.

The problem with our economy is that the sole focus is, and has always been, corporate profit. It's time for a soul focus; a focus on jobs and well being of Americans. And don't get me started about corporations being people, too. R
Good one Gary. The problem with economists is that they told us that "statistically" the recession ended in 2009. De facto it didn't. To most of us, the economy and jobs picture has sucked throughout this time. I know that this is not the classic definition of a recession but for most of us it's good enough because it's the truth. Economists have one thing that many people don't--secure good paying jobs. So in that sense of the word, I have to ask, "what the hell do they know?" They can probably tell you the price of the Wagu beef burger at their favorite bistro but couldn't begin to tell you the price of a pound of ground beef at a local grocery store.
There is starting to be some speculation about whether the economic conditions in this country could lead to violence like rioting. Oh yeah! I can see that happening if things continue.
Part of the problem is that those who have the most control over the economy are mainly interested in the profits of the corporations any way they can get them. what they can't, or won't see is the fact that the best way to do this in the long term involves balancing this with the best interest of the consumer and the worker. the recession is due to epidemic levels of fraud at the top and this is escalating.

There is little incentive for workers and consumers to help maintain the economy since there is little or nothing in it for them.
Four of our 8 children (sons and wives) have lost their jobs in the past few years. The two wives decided to stay home . After factoring in day care and didn't make sense for them to chase lower paying jobs. Their husbands did go back to work. But then both of them were laid off, another time. Now ..thankfully, both are again employed. One son is a construction manager. He is always fearful of another collapse. Funding for the projects he builds is dwindling. Once, we could judge how well the economy was doing but counting the amount of cranes in the air. Aren't many these days.

I do believe that none of us was prepared for the repercussions of a global economy. Along with the benefits of new markets and trading partners was the long range implication of interdependency. And that is entirely unpredictable. One government in jeopardy shakes financial markets around the world.

We may come to think of recession as the new status quo. I don't think we need economists to tell us what we already know. Things are not looking up.
I'm thinkin' it's a RINO: recovery in name only. /r/
I'm not sure that these "experts" understand how unemployment works. I'm not sure they realize that unemployment benefits pay significantly less that your paycheck used to. I'm not sure if they realize that this means that people who were barely making it before getting laid off will be unable to make it on unemployment. I'm not sure they realize that there is a maximum weekly unemployment payment. I don't think they know that the average weekly payment is $290, and the payment YOU will get will be based on some odd formula that relates in some way to the amount you once made. [This $290 payment is obviously not being paid out to minimum wage workers who hve been laid off.] I don't think they understand that when someone actually finds a job, they have to decide whether they will be better or worse off taking the job. Taking a job may add significant expenses, such as daycare and transportation. Why take the job if it pays less than unemployment, if you can't even make it on unemployment? Why pay someone an absurd amount of money to raise your children so that you can go to work and earn LESS than your unemployment payment? This is why unemployment has rules about which jobs you MUST take, and which jobs you don't have to take.

Yep, pretty much everyone would rather be gainfully employed than receive unemployment. But "gainful" is the key word. If you gain nothing by accepting a particular job, and, in fact, will LOSE money by taking said job, the Department of Labor understands that this would be bad. If the people who run unemployment understand, why don't the "experts"?
The most expensive city in the U.S., New York, pays a maximum weekly unemployment benefit of $405 a week...$1600. (Connecticut pays quite a bit more, more than $2,000.) That $1600 would barely pay just the rent for many New Yorkers: no food, phone, health insurance, etc.

Here's what happens when you fall from your white-collar perch (the subject of my book) not only lose your income, you lose your confidence, identity and your networks. People can smell the stink of fear and desperation and wriggle away from it as far and fast as they can. So, if you can even find one -- and good luck with that over 50! -- you take a low-wage, low-skills job. Part-time. You want fulltime but they're not being offered.

I attended a retailers' conference in Sept. 2010 and listened as a woman working a national chain of women's clothing stores giggled as she said they'd lowered (!) their hourly wages....because they could, because workers were so desperate. Then...OMG!!!! ...she was shocked that they were quitting the second they found something better.

The corporate greed and contempt for us as workers is endless and growing. This is is the vicious face of capitalism.