The top issue: unemployment

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Our friend Jim Harper has written a post noting that one of the bills made available for comments on his WashingtonWatch.com site (full disclosure: Sunlight has supported it financially) has gotten more than 100,000 comments from users of the site. To me, that seems like a stupendous total for a site that tracks legislation.

So what’s drawn so much interest? It’s not the House or Senate version of health care. It’s not the cap and trade bill designed to marginally address climate change. It’s not the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion stimulus bill.

No, it’s the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009, which was passed and signed into law last November. The comments themselves are what’s fascinating; here is a small sampling:

Today, I used the few pay as you go cell minutes remaining on my only phone service to contact the Washington Office of the Representative for my zip code. Frantically, I stated my concerns having exhausted my long term benefits this past week. Essentially, as with too many others in this scenario I too, will be another homeless mom in an ever increasingly desperate situation. I asked if their was any new info other than tracking HR 3404 that may provide a Band Aid as only Gainful Employment/JOBS can fix this crises. The male voice at the other end of the phone (Representative Daviss Office) stated that he didnt know that there was an Unemployment Benefit Issue!

IMO, all of the unemployment benefits extensions have been the only thing that has kept this country out of a deep depression. I hope congress comes to their senses and at least tacks on a Tier V. I don’t think many of them realize that millions of the people who were laid off were in their 40’s and 50’s. Too young to collect SS and their pensions. Many lost most of their savings in the stock market crash. They’re now trying to compete for jobs with the younger people who are also out of work. It’s a terrible situation and a recipe for the perfect storm. We as a country are in deep doo doo when this all comes to a screeching halt. We all need to bombard our congressmen with calls and emails!

Congress is not set up to listen to the American people. They are set-up to play volley ball with each other. Your concerns are not their concerns. If you wanted a job, you should have ran for a congressional seat. Our president said that we are going to spend out way out of debt and I believe him. I got my job so you need to get yours.

When talking to other Chicago’s unemployed they are also disgusted by the whole situation and tired of sending out resumes with no response coming. Since the Government isn’t Houdini, these jobs are not mushrooming.

All States don’t qualify for Tier Iv. Millions and Millions will fall off of the employment extension in March 2010. Just wanted to re-affirm that information so when the new unemployment rates comes out we’re know why it appears that unemployment in this country is on the decline. NOT!

When is out help coming. This country can raise billions of dollar in a matter of days. But, the unemployed, have to wait for months before Congress and do anything. Whats wrong with that picture. Can’t take care of your own middle class. But, can try and take care of someone else poor class. Whats wrong with that picture?

There’s more, including all kinds of problems individuals have navigating state welfare agencies, comments about everything from the Winter Olympics to the latest political events, a troll named Omar who pops up to cheerily offer encouragement (and sell tents) to his “American friends,” and, most obviously a huge amount of frustration with the political class.