Open Letter to John Boehner

Dear Mr. Boehner:

I have been watching the news lately and couldn’t help but notice that the extension of unemployment insurance is up for vote in Congress.  As one of your constituents (I live in Dayton, OH) who is unemployed, I thought I would write to tell you how important these extensions are to me and others like me.

I was laid off after Christmas 2009 due to the economic conditions.  I was at this company for two and a half years.  I have a business degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH, and paid my own way through college.

While I knew that finding a job would be difficult, I did not realize how difficult it would be.  I cashed out my 401k to help pay expenses.  When the 401k money ran out, I tapped into my savings.  My savings didn’t last long because my real estate taxes increased by $600 per year.  This increase in taxes caused my mortgage payment to rise by $105 per month.  I suffer from hypothyroidism and can no longer afford to see the doctor.  Without a prescription, I can not get medication.

This isn’t a plea to keep the new health care plan, this is a plea to extend unemployment.  My unemployment benefits are roughly half of my salary.  Benefits pay my utilities and keep a roof over my head.  If I have any money left over (which is rare), I go grocery shopping.  I am down to eating once a day to make food last longer.

The GOP argument is unemployment benefits add to the deficit.  I understand this position, but you need to make an effort to understand mine.  Unemployment benefits keep me afloat.  Without it, I would be homeless and probably fall into a coma due to my hypothyroidism.

Another argument is that extending unemployment just makes people lazy.  This is absolutely UNTRUE!  I apply – on average – to five jobs per week.  My resume is posted on various job boards.  I spend two to three hours per day applying for jobs.  I have applied for blue collar positions (e.g. warehouse worker, retail, etc), but was told I was overqualified. I do want to work!

What you and the rest of your party need to realize is that there is a new breed of unemployed workers.  The unemployed are no longer the uneducated, flighty people who bounce around from job to job.  The unemployed include people like me – hard-working, educated people who have specialized skills.

Maybe what you need to do is visit your constituents more than three times a year and see how the majority of people really live, not just the top tier.  You should see the struggles some of us go through and the agonizing decisions we have to make.  Please Mr. Boehner, extend unemployment insurance.  Some of our lives depend on it, literally.


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