Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today, my unemployment benefits came through. I’m hoping they’ll be more regular now, but they were two weeks behind (first time application process I imagine), so it was twice what my weekly benefits will be. I have not applied for unemployment, at least not during this crisis since the pandemic began. I was working with contracts as an adjunct professor, which paid about eight hundred dollars a month. Certainly not enough to survive without the help of my good friend allowing me to stay with him, but enough, barely, to at least pay my minimum monthly bills. So, I needed to do something.
That something has a few parts. First, I found a job that will likely kill me in this pandemic. A non-profit organization that takes surveys on government contract operates by having “field interviewers” go, quite literally, from home to home of volunteers, and while they take the survey, the interviewers sit with them.
Oh, yeah, no chance that I’ll get Corvid-19 from that.
The pay is actually quite a bit more than as an adjunct professor makes, but, the good news is that it is also part-time temporary. I imagine it will pay about as much as adjunct teaching, but it is flexible enough that, they tell me, I will be able to wrap it around my teaching responsibilities. Between the two, I’ll be making significantly more money than now, but still no benefits. Although, actually, because of the nature of this job, this company is considering options to help deal with field interviewers who do end up sick, so…maybe. At least in a limited capacity. When my kidneys kick I’ll still be in trouble, though.
In addition, I’ve signed up for a Coronavirus vaccination study. I should be hearing from that soon. No doubt, there will be unexpected side effects which I am SO excited about, but, they pay, and if it does work, ironically, they’ll pay for the vaccination that may unfortunately save my life.
I mean, seriously, how cool would it be to buy it because I need a job from the virus that makes me need this job. Irony incarnate.
My friends are pulling their hair out by now.
The last thing, and really the point of this blog, is unemployment insurance. See, I had a contract to teach this summer, but because of low enrollment that course was canceled. I suspect that the reason for the cancellation was because of the pandemic, but I have no way of knowing that for sure. I have been told that normally these courses do run, so it’s possible.
My friends finally won in convincing me that I kinda need to eat on rare occasion. They’ve been trying to get me to apply for unemployment, and I finally did. I was not told explicitly that the enrollment was down because of the pandemic, but I honestly expect that it is, so I put it as a reason the course had to be canceled. I was honest, and explained the situation figuring they would look into it and decide if, indeed, it was virus related. They judged that yes, in fact, it is, which is cool. That pretty much tripled the weekly unemployment benefit to which I am entitled which helps a LOT. Trust me, without it this two-week deposit would not have even covered the overdraft on my bank. Damned autopay. I swear I told the bank not to honor that.
I know, you’re saying, “but hey, you have jobs!” Yes, kinda. There is training and they say they will pay for that, but the training itself won’t even start for another week at the earliest, and I have no idea when they’ll give me my first payment. We’re talking about possibly another month before I get even a partial paycheck from one of my partial jobs, and I won’t see a paycheck from my second partial job for probably two months. For me, unemployment is probably an ideal situation; it’s covering my income while training and preparing for actual employment that is already set up.
Because I’m lazy like all unemployment beneficiaries, right? Yes, that’s sarcasm.
NONE of this is the point to this post. I know, I tend to do that. I start writing, my mind wanders, and suddenly my readers know a helluva lot more about me than I ever intended for them to know. The point is to discuss what happened with this unemployment benefit.
See, if I were a major corporation, I would use it, as many do, to buy back stocks to increase my holdings. The corporate handouts that the government doesn’t want to admit are handouts for corporations and the wealthy go somewhere into a void never to be seen again, or at least, not to a great extent. So, what happened to mine?
First, a little bit about how much I had. Several hundred dollars went to bring my bank account back into black (yeah, I was that far down, not originally but with continuing overdraft fees it added up). So, that money immediately went to the banking industry. But even after that, there was (in just two weeks’ worth of support) more in my bank account than I have seen in there in the last five months. As a result, I paid up on a few of my debts that I have been unable to pay, so the money went to the phone industry, and a credit card so even more to the banking industry. I’ll catch up on house payments, so that, too, will go to the banking industry. I have been needing to have repairs to my vehicle (just to make it safer), so some of it will go to the automotive industry. I have two storage units so some will go to these “small businesses” (well, one is small, the other not so much), I’m trying to consolidate these units so the petroleum industry will get some of it, I desperately need a haircut so some will go towards that small business, plus food that will support grocers and farmers, and on and on and on.
The point is, if you managed to get through that rather protracted paragraph, socialism for capitalistic corporations (as ironic as that is) benefits nobody but the corporate owners. Socialism for the people goes back into the economy, increasing support and the need for employees, small businesses, and a plethora of industries many of whom, sadly, already are getting bailed out. Our politicians often fail to see this, but when one party talks about support for the wealthy and the other talks about the people, I remember that support for the people ALSO supports corporations, but the corporate support goes towards those most used by the people as opposed to the ones most liked by the politicians.
Just something to think about.