But when I heard this story coming home from work on NPR I thought twice about my habit of listening to NPR.
Unemployed Without Benefits: A Couple’s Struggle
Let’s pretend all you know about the story is this headline. Would you presume the story would involve a woman who was used to making $80-$100K a YEAR who is married to someone who RETIRED AT 60? And pays $1500 per month out of pocket for health insurance.
Boo fucking hoo.
Really NPR? Let me show you the plight of people who are unemployed without benefits.
I’m not shocked, but saddened that THIS is the couple they chose to profile.
Yeah, I’m not done.
“The largest group of people that do not qualify for unemployment insurance are the nontraditional employees,” says Howard Rosen, a labor market expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He says millions who are not full-time, permanent employees are out of luck.
A growing number of people who are consultants, self-employed, temporary employees, part-time employees — a whole plethora of different kinds of arrangements — are not currently eligible for assistance, Rosen says.
RIGHT. Like waitresses/waiters/bartenders, home health care aids, PT clerks at a grocery store, date entry temp workers.
No, not in this story in this story they choose to feature…
Among this group are Barbara and Gary Ratner. Gary Ratner completed a doctorate in biochemistry from Emory University. Barbara Ratner has been a self-employed architectural illustrator since 1990, when she was laid off from a company in Atlanta.
“And I actually never had to worry about work,” Barbara Ratner says. “The phone just kept ringing. It was — it was like magic.”
She had so much work when she was laid off, she didn’t apply for unemployment benefits. Now, because she’s self-employed, she doesn’t qualify for them.
Um. Yeah. Wait, it does get better.
“I’m beginning to identify with the frog in the pan of water where someone turned the heat up and it took me a while to realize that yes, this isn’t like it has been before — and I don’t know where it’s going,” she says.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Um, let me tell you a story or twenty my friend about what a frog in a pan of water really feels like.
The Ratners have already pulled nearly $10,000 from their retirement account. They are cutting back where they can — eliminating a phone line and canceling memberships to civic groups. Gary Ratner decided to retire late last year. And because they’re in their 60s and do not have a group health plan, the couple pays $1,500 a month for health insurance.
How they chose to profile a family who chooses to eliminated memberships to civic groups instead of choosing NOT TO PAY THEIR ELECTRIC BILL for a month, is seriously beyond me.Um, how many Americans who are unemployed don’t even have ANY KIND of a retirement account.
I’m not suggesting that this isn’t a difficult transition for this couple. But come freaking on NPR, let’s welcome ourselves into the REAL world for a change.
I’m embarassed to be a faithful listener after hearing this story.
Gary Ratner is hoping to get a biochemistry fellowship, while his wife continues to look for work. And both hope that President-elect Barack Obama’s economic plan will create new jobs and ultimately turn the economy around.
Thank God for President Obama who will save them.
For shame, NPR. For shame.