Monday, August 26, 2013

Bring Out Your Dead



From the NYT:
Set Back by Recession, and Shut Out of Rebound

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — In September 2012, it appeared that the world was John Fugazzie’s frozen oyster. He was in charge of dairy and frozen foods for the A.&P. supermarket chain, making $125,000 a year.

He was also a guest that month at a White House forum on joblessness, in recognition of his work creating Neighbors-helping-Neighbors U.S.A., a volunteer networking organization with 28 chapters in New Jersey serving 1,200 unemployed, mainly white-collar, baby boomers. “John has one of the best volunteer organizations out there,” said Ben Seigel, a deputy director at the Labor Department. “He’s tireless and always upbeat.”

Lately Mr. Fugazzie has been feeling a little weary and beat down. One morning last October, just before his 57th birthday, he was laid off and, carrying a box of belongings from his office, driven home in a car service hired by the company. In the 10 months since, he has applied for more than 400 positions and had 10 interviews, but still has no job.

He and his family are living in his 88-year-old mother’s home, and last month he awoke at 4:30 a.m., sweating profusely, in the midst of a heart attack.

As happens to many Americans, when he lost his job, he lost his health insurance. He now owes $171,569.44 for the six nights he spent at the hospital.

And so on the evening of Aug. 15, at a meeting of the job club he himself started here two years ago, he told the others he was just like them. “I need a job,” he said. “I need to make money now.”

Most of the 15 men and women meeting at the library in this prosperous suburb were middle-aged or older, people who had worked all their lives, but lost jobs in the recession and its aftermath and have not been able to get back to where they were. Many of them worry that they never will, in part because of discrimination by employers against older workers.
...
At my peak, I made less than Mr. Fugazzie, and so far no heart attack. Also I lost my last full-time job the two weeks after Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2008. 

The rest of it is wearyingly familiar, especially being active and well-regarded in the field getting other people jobs. Well-regarded, highly-respected and doing the work of five people...right up until the moment when they let me go. 

Because, y'know, recession.

To this day, I cannot completely get the taste out of my mouth that comes from watching staggeringly unqualified people being spared -- and the ones with clout getting promoted -- even at the height of cutbacks, furloughs and austerity. I, on the other hand, was genuinely excellent at my job, and yet...so sorry but it has been decided...by a faraway committee whose names you will never know and whose decisions are beyond appeal...

And that was that.

Of course, we're not dead.
In fact, we're feeling much better!
But that doesn't matter. 
Free market, don'tcha know
Doesn't matter at all




7 comments:

Jenonymous said...


Drifty, welcome to the world of shit that my life has been as of last May. I am trying for Tier 4 Unemployment. It's not nearly enough to cover my rent, of course, but my shrinking savings is tiding me a bit.

The DOL in NY is so overwhelmed that instead of having their usual 4-hour hold times to talk to a human being--and a system where you can leave your number and not lose your place on line--they have simply expanded their call hours from 7AM-7PM on Mondays and Tuesdays, and disconnect you after telling you to call back later "due to extremely high volume."

BUT...

If I DON'T get my Tier 4 (and my shit Tier 3 lasted only 6 weeks because Sequester/whatever) then, according to The Experts, I am by some miracle NO LONGER UNEMPLOYED because I am no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

We're the only "civilized" country that still tries hide its failure that way. I remember a few years ago, a pal of mine kept going on about what a horror living in Germany must really be because 8% unemployment.

Well, NYC is OFFICIALLY hovering near 9%, and that is for folks CLAIMING.

It says nothing about those about to be rolled off unemployment, or freelancers/laborers/individual business owners with zero earnings.

I bet that honest numbers are more like 20% if not more.

Everyone I know who still is working and not annointed management is working the jobs of 3 people, sweating bullets, and looking over their shoulder.

But that's not important because BOO SYRIA.

Ooooh, another war that we can never fully extricate ourselves from, in another country that will be dust long before it's ever democratic, that will never like us. Quick, write them another check for a few billion dollars!

Oh yeah when COBRA expires--and I can't go without health insurance--it goes from $870/month to close to $1500. For one person.

It's several hundred dollars more per month than my rent. Luckily, I have a magic little monkey living in my ass that magically pokes its fist out and hands me gold coins whenever I need them.

Oh yeah, I don't; I forgot, I don't work at the Pentagon...

Jenonymous said...


Drifty, welcome to the world of shit that my life has been as of last May. I am trying for Tier 4 Unemployment. It's not nearly enough to cover my rent, of course, but my shrinking savings is tiding me a bit.

The DOL in NY is so overwhelmed that instead of having their usual 4-hour hold times to talk to a human being--and a system where you can leave your number and not lose your place on line--they have simply expanded their call hours from 7AM-7PM on Mondays and Tuesdays, and disconnect you after telling you to call back later "due to extremely high volume."

BUT...

If I DON'T get my Tier 4 (and my shit Tier 3 lasted only 6 weeks because Sequester/whatever) then, according to The Experts, I am by some miracle NO LONGER UNEMPLOYED because I am no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

We're the only "civilized" country that still tries hide its failure that way. I remember a few years ago, a pal of mine kept going on about what a horror living in Germany must really be because 8% unemployment.

Well, NYC is OFFICIALLY hovering near 9%, and that is for folks CLAIMING.

It says nothing about those about to be rolled off unemployment, or freelancers/laborers/individual business owners with zero earnings.

I bet that honest numbers are more like 20% if not more.

Everyone I know who still is working and not annointed management is working the jobs of 3 people, sweating bullets, and looking over their shoulder.

But that's not important because BOO SYRIA.

Ooooh, another war that we can never fully extricate ourselves from, in another country that will be dust long before it's ever democratic, that will never like us. Quick, write them another check for a few billion dollars!

Oh yeah when COBRA expires--and I can't go without health insurance--it goes from $870/month to close to $1500. For one person.

It's several hundred dollars more per month than my rent. Luckily, I have a magic little monkey living in my ass that magically pokes its fist out and hands me gold coins whenever I need them.

Oh yeah, I don't; I forgot, I don't work at the Pentagon...

Anonymous said...

It's been pretty amazing to watch the plutocracy create this huge new class of the permanently unemployed, (moving 70% of capital from manufacturing to the "market" since 1980) while also fighting tooth and nail to dismantle even the most rudimentary safety nets those same people need so desperately to survive.
I used to have a friend in my 20's who was chronically unemployed (mostly through many faults of his own) at a time when unemployment was hovering around 15% (before the days where they stopped including the long term unemployed in the statistics..that is probably what it is right now).
Those were the days of the "Phd cab drivers" so keeping one's head above water was tough all around, but my nare do-well friend survived, never having a full time job, but by taking a lot of small part time gigs to make ends meet.
He had a term for it, he called it "scuffling".
He was a drug addict of course, and is long dead now, and lived that way by choice because having a full time job would have interrupted his chosen life style.
These days there isn't really a choice for most people, and scuffling has become an entire employment designation in itself...I believe they call it "independent contracting". It's how I have lived for a long time now..
It's what the once mighty middle class has been reduced to in this country....scuffling.
The saddest part is there are things we could do to turn this trend around, but it seems some critical mass has been reached favoring the upper income margins, and they are not about to allow any pesky government interventions to slow down the speeding train of top accumulating wealth....
Like you though, I am not quite ready for the cart....but I can't say, even in a vein attempt to save my life, that I ever really "feel happy!" anymore, or that I "want to dance!" much either....








Anonymous said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

Your Friendly, Neighborhood Grammar Nazi here...

"I, oi the other hand"

Enjoy the rest of your day.

---Kevin Holsinger

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Oi, Kevin, is a perfectly fine exclamation of excitement from a ska-punk.

Fritz Strand said...

If we were to have a realistic retirement policy and actually observe how business really work, social security would start around the age of 52.

I spent my whole working life in very large organizations. What I saw was that if you reached 50 and were not drinking scotch in the board room, you were considered dead wood and a prime candidate to be replaced by any 22 year old Indian who just fell off the global turnip truck.

n1ck said...

30 Hour Work Week, like we were promised 60+ years ago.

Goodbye unemployment, hello growth.