Courier Letters to the Editor 1-22-14

Too quick to condemn the unemployed

Dear Editor:

I have heard about how the right portrays the long-term unemployed as lazy freeloaders.  They want you to believe that these people are lazy deadbeats looking for a hand out.

I once worked for the S.C. unemployment office, so let me tell you about the freeloaders they so condemn. They are the Korean War vet who lost his security job and without the unemployment check he must decide whether to pay for his wife’s medicine or his heating bill, or the Iraq war vet with PTSD who’s having trouble adjusting to civilian life after the horrors of war. Or think about all the 50-60-year-old textile workers whose companies shut down and sent their jobs to other countries for tax breaks and cheap labor — their job skills are outdated after working 30 or more years in textiles, and many of these have limited education. How about the single parent who was let go from the temp job since the company no longer needed them, and they can’t find another full-time job, but only short-term temp jobs.

If you think you can live off of unemployment payments, then you are sadly mistaken. The highest before taxes was $326 a week; I saw payments as low as $20. You can not live on unemployment.

It’s amazing that so soon after Christmas we rush to condemn the poor. The need to take care of the poor and least fortunate suddenly ends on Dec 26. We must make Christ proud of us.

Larry Allen