Monday, August 22, 2011

Going to work

A couple of people I know found jobs over the past week after being out of work for about three years, and I'm happy for them. I'm also a bit worried about a lot of other people I know who are still looking, with few options.

Michigan's unemployment rate is around 10 percent. I know a couple of months ago the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics had Michigan ranked third in the nation in that category, up (or down, if you will) from fifth this spring.

This is concerning because of the impending guillotine coming for families receiving welfare. I know a few folks who are wondering what they are going to do once the cash assistance welfare benefit ends Oct. 1. The problem, for me anyway, isn't about legacy welfare recipients. I know about multiple generations of people working the system, and it's both sad and indefensible. But there are a lot of people, like those I know who've never been on assistance, or been unemployed for years, who aren't part of the problem that has led to a draining of the system.

While four years seems like a long time to be receiving cash assistance, given our unemployment rate and the state of the national economy, it's more like a short window of time these days. When well-qualified, hard working people need three years to find a job, a lifetime limit of four years seems a bit severe.

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