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I will try not to take too sanctimonious of a tone here, and probably fail.  I understand why we're gloating at Boehner's failure.  I respect that both as a matter of partisan strategy and good long-term policy, we very well might be better off to just go over the cliff, though the unpredictability of the consequences gives me more pause perhaps than most.

But personally, I can find no joy in tonight, or the coming cliff.  I'm one of the two million or so for whom this really is a fiscal cliff, not a curb.  I'm one of the hostages whose only source of income for the last six months, unemployment benefits, will go poof.  The complete and utter failure of our government to govern doesn't give me much space to go HA HA HA HA HA, to borrow a diary title.

My particular circumstances aren't relevant to anyone but me, nevertheless:

I was a history professor.  I was exceptionally well-rated in my teaching, beloved by my students, well-thought of by about as many people in my department as a guy could possibly hope for,  took particular pride in my work training and supervising the next generation of high school social studies teachers, and somehow on the side produced three well-received articles and a book (released Monday of this week and, ironically, about the history of trying to stigmatize the poor) at an institution dedicated to teaching, not research.  I did this for six years on consecutive one-year contracts, before an unfortunate set of Circumstances Beyond My Control left me essentially term-limited out of my job.

I probably don't need to tell anyone here just how difficult it is to land and keep a good academic job.  But in the last six months I've also discovered that I'm simultaneously overqualified and underqualified for every entry-level McJob: no manager wants to hire a guy with a PhD and a book, in the assumption (quite correct) that I'd ditch it the moment something better came along, and no manager wants to hire a guy who's never worked a cash register or waited a table.  I've discovered that my network of academic contacts does me little good outside the academic world.  I've discovered that, having spent my entire adult life working first to get a PhD and then using it in a university, my crazy-rad skills in writing, editing, speaking, and teaching do not seem to count for much at all in terms of "real-world" corporate experience.  

My first round of unemployment benefits expired in mid-November.  I was deemed eligible for the extension, which, in a sane world, would carry me through mid-March if indeed I needed it to carry me that far.  Instead, it will expire on Dec. 29th if nothing is done in Congress.

In my own case, I probably (probably...) will wind up coming out of this relatively unharmed.  I have no dependents -- not even a pet -- no debt, no health concerns that make my loss of health insurance too troublesome (so long as my appendix doesn't decide to burst), and am an almost obsessive saver of money. I presently am waiting for word on the results of my finalist-interviews for more than a couple of very appealing teaching opportunities, ranging from substitute high school teaching to tenure-track professorships. We'll see...

If those opportunities fail to materialize, then in ten days it looks like I'll begin the transition from where I've been -- trying to hold close to break-even -- and into the phase where my life's savings begin to get wiped out and I have to begin the countdown to being unable to pay rent.

 If my own circumstances amount to about the best-case situation that someone could hope for as he faces the expiration of his emergency unemployment extension, think about those with families, without savings, without the educational opportunities I've had, who are going to find themselves falling off a very steep, very dangerous cliff.

So please, enough with the "it's not a cliff it's a curb" cuteness.  This sucks.

Fri Dec 21, 2012 at  8:24 AM PT: Thank you for the rescue-treatment.  I appreciate the thoughtful comments and find I don't have much to add, beyond my appreciation for how we're all struggling to find the right answers in a nearly impossible situation.


Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:46 AM PT: Your suggestions, insights, and encouragement have been a wonderful holiday gift.  More than anything, it is nice to feel like I have something to offer in a larger, thoughtful dialogue.  A useful feeling for an unemployed prof.  :)

Originally posted to Transmission on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:18 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (243+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Susan G in MN, Brahman Colorado, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Killer of Sacred Cows, Addison, madmojo, moviemeister76, thestructureguy, cany, Gooserock, sceptical observer, reflectionsv37, VClib, quaoar, Jack K, tgypsy, moonbatlulu, karmsy, redrobin, Azazello, gramofsam1, Batya the Toon, lucid, Heart n Mind, mskitty, seancdaug, AaronInSanDiego, Pluto, FG, Larsstephens, ybruti, Lonely Texan, ploopie, dear occupant, edrie, Phoebe Loosinhouse, Actbriniel, blueoasis, treesrock, VickiL, GwenM, blueyescryinintherain, sk4p, nomandates, inclusiveheart, Avilyn, Lily O Lady, Sailorben, nextstep, rmonroe, ChemBob, cyeko, mjfgates, BennyToothpick, BeadLady, murrayewv, Liberal Thinking, Thinking Fella, pengiep, Pat K California, maryabein, True North, No one gets out alive, annominous, aravir, Chi, guyeda, ThatPoshGirl, ProduceMan, Roadbed Guy, ban48, ogre, Barbara Marquardt, albrt, wordene, cassandracarolina, BleacherBum153, northsylvania, lissablack, TFinSF, bleeding heart, foucaultspendulum, kharma, DeminNewJ, Steveningen, jfromga, Sylv, old wobbly, puakev, Jeff Simpson, hwy70scientist, Keone Michaels, PeterHug, Liberal Mole, lgmcp, wordfiddler, appledown, lineatus, victoria2dc, citizen dan, wader, Wolf10, marsanges, Wood Dragon, Sun Tzu, Frank Palmer, fiddlingnero, gloriana, Nina Katarina, Blicero, Old Surgeon, Mistral Wind, Skennet Boch, doroma, Blue Boy Red State, SadieSue, mjr, One Pissed Off Liberal, Andrew C White, Naranjadia, missLotus, La Gitane, DianeNYS, kurious, kevin k, DRo, exNYinTX, WiseFerret, TAH from SLC, sebastianguy99, jhop7, FloridaSNMOM, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, dwahzon, Garrett, VickiStein, addisnana, catly, Onomastic, Dancun74, allenjo, dewtx, howarddream, soarbird, fumie, grrr, Nicci August, revsue, jnhobbs, Crabby Abbey, linkage, Robynhood too, shypuffadder, leonard145b, newpioneer, xynz, Justanothernyer, Cedwyn, Nailbanger, RebeccaG, profh, Joy of Fishes, pamelabrown, askyron, anodnhajo, Beetwasher, cotterperson, Simple, chicagorich, toom, ObserverinMontreal, claytonben, CalGal47, Izzzy, TiaRachel, Late Again, Ree Zen, Chrislove, Noor B, CharlesII, uciguy30, ColoTim, citisven, greycat, sethtriggs, Aquarius40, Frisbeetarian, SmartAleq, frankw9, jazzence, mikeconwell, Daulphin, CS in AZ, jessical, TheSpectator, Chaddiwicker, 6412093, eeff, vzfk3s, bleeding blue, bubbanomics, monkeybrainpolitics, smileycreek, madhaus, hulagirl, Cronesense, cato, HappyinNM, Quilldriver, HamilcarBarca, Lorikeet, cyncynical, BlackSheep1, smokem2271, mslat27, kaliope, riverlover, databob, cactusgal, the mom in the middle, ladybug53, Geenius at Wrok, ATFILLINOIS, The Marti, Involuntary Exile, Odysseus, LamontCranston, asterkitty, tobendaro, sumitsu, chicklet, elginblt, dotsright, worldlotus, RJDixon74135, silentpawz, NoMoreLies, Aaa T Tudeattack, greenearth, This old man, slowbutsure, BusyinCA
  •  Thank you for posting this (54+ / 0-)

    I am not on unemployment nor counting on some of the targeted tax breaks but I have friends who are and they will be struggling if we "go over the cliff."  There are no good answers here because the Republicans seems willing to kill some hostages.  Given that I think we shouldn't be flippant about going over the cliff.  Realize that while it may be the best of any bad outcome it is still a bad outcome.  

  •  thanks and good luck to you (28+ / 0-)

    History professor is a worthy profession. I hope you can get back into it.

    I agree that the cliff/curb/slope is not to be taken lightly. It's inescapable though - it's a consequence of losing the House of Representatives.

    There should have been more forethought about how to avoid that pre-2010, how big Dems could have co-ordinated & messaged better, etc. ....

    If the GOP is in charge of any aspect of government, we are screwed, really.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:27:56 PM PST

    •  Have you looked at some of the various think tanks (9+ / 0-)

      Though the world needs more good teachers than position paper writers, the latter can pay well and be pretty stable.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:52:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, RJDixon74135

      And Obama will create a mechanism where the Senate can be lost if he nominates Kerry as Secretary of State.

      He created the big problem  (Jan Brewer) when he took the governor of AZ and made her the Homeland Security Secretary.  Look what has happened to AZ since that time.

      Seems like someone would get that... Scott Brown could easily take that seat.  Sigh....

      •  Please reread what you wrote. (7+ / 0-)

        It makes no sense. Obama has never even lived in AZ, so I doubt he created that mess. The people of AZ re-elected Jan Brewer. That was their doing.

        Obama also selected Hillary Clinton, who was replaced by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Joe Biden, who was replaced first by Ted Kaufman (D-DE), and then Chris Coons (D-DE), and Ken Salazar, who was replaced by Michael Bennet (D-CO). Hilda Solis came from the House, and was replaced by Judy Chu (D-CA). While Scott Brown could take the MA seat, we won't let that happen.

        President Obama is the POTUS. As such, he's entitled to select his cabinet.

        Perhaps all the negativity comes from this poor economy and children being killed, but our President isn't responsible for everything that happens. Make a few phone calls to your congresscritters and let them know how you want them to vote. That would be much more productive.

  •  We are there with you. I have been (45+ / 0-)

    adjusting our budget for the inevitable hit from the termination of our UI benefits. The mortgage, car payments, utilities are more than the income we receive and something will have to give.

    I am sad for you and the 2 million of us and our families who will be impacted by this hostage situation that the Republicans have created.

    After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.

    by Brahman Colorado on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:34:02 PM PST

  •  I have sympathy for your situation (24+ / 0-)

    But I can't see any route to unemployment extension happening.

    The Republicans feel about anything related to the Stimulus of 2009-2010 the same way most people here feel about cutting social security benefits.

    Inaction means they all go away.   They're in an even stronger position on that stuff than the Dems are on Bush tax cuts...because they really don't care about any of it and the Dems do care about the lowest tax bracket and are somewhat fond of the lower taxes up to 250k.

    There isn't any route to 218 house votes for any bill that has unemployment extensions, and there hasn't been for a long time.

    The reason most of us are ok with going off the cliff is everything that CAN pass the house seems worse than the protections carved out in the original sequester agreement.  

    Tax rates and even some tax reform...yeah, we could still get a few R votes and a full D caucus and pass some stuff there.

    Some kind of rejiggering of the sequester cuts?  Maybe but we're unlikely to do as well as we are now (no entitlement benefit cuts, 50% defense cuts).

    Additional stimulus of any kind?  No way.  They're not even going to do AMT or Doc Fix.   No republican has ever even hinted that unemployment extensions are on the table.

    So...sorry.  I really hope those job leads turn into a new position for you.  I don't see how unemployment is going to be there for you after Jan 1.

  •  After Jan 1, they need to work AQAP! (11+ / 0-)

    I have two friends on unemployment that have been on it quite a while.  They live in states not as well off job-wise as my state, Virginia, has been.  

    Heck, even I only make $8.25 an hour and get about 850 bucks a month.  That's not much, and with my taxes going up, it'll be even less.

  •  Thanks. It's worth saying... (13+ / 0-)

    ...but that said, the GOP's plan would've drastically hurt more than two million people over the next decades. I hate being utilitarian about it -- you are a real person and it's maddening that they are willing to do this to you and everyone else on unemployment insurance. But in the end their failure is a glimmer of hope that things will turn out sensible.

    In short, a GOP win here (and I'm talking symbolically, since the Plan B thing was doomed anyway) would've been a fiscal cliff for your two million AND millions more. There was no "win" for the unemployed possible in any of Boehner's machinations.

    I guess just know that you're not a bargaining chip for the Left, and if it weren't for Boehner's downfall, there'd be absolutely no hope. Cold comfort, I'm sure, but at least with this volcano of GOP-fail there's a chance that the benefits might get extended?

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:38:35 PM PST

    •  The GOP spending cuts the House passed were (11+ / 0-)

      worse than the cliff.

      When enough voices are heard, there will be improved policy.  

      Not an easy task and pain will be spread around.

      Still, I am currently feeling like no deal is preferable to a bad deal.

      Lots of folks had benefits that were cut off in June, due to the bad deal last time around that set up bad formulas for the states to end benefits if unemployment rate was a certain number in their state (as high as 7.9 percent) even though folks were led to believe benefits would go through the end of the year.

      Hang in there.  We'll get through this together.

      No, not joyously, but with resolve.  We need to avoid regressive formulas that increase income equality.  We need to promote progressive formulas that raise the floor of those most in need, including female Social Security beneficiaries, most of whom are at the very low end of the benefit scale, well below poverty level.

  •  Thank you for saying this; it needs to be said (14+ / 0-)

    to combat the "curb" sense of the upcoming change for a variety of reasons...  

    ...I know people at risk of losing their unemployment insurance; I know other people who have jobs but that may lose them if the Federal budget sequester takes effect for a lengthy period of time.  I've marveled a bit at the rather callous nature of the idea that "going off the fiscal cliff" isn't all that big a deal, what with the loss of unemployment insurance for so many and a relatively huge cut in federal budgets and what that means to lots of federal employees I personally know (none of whom are involved in any aspect of the Defense budget), not to mention the decline of the purchase of non-Defense goods and services that the Federal government procures every day in the public economy...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:10:10 PM PST

  •  Folks have no idea what is about to impact them (21+ / 0-)

    No understanding of what just happened.

    No concept of economic consequences to these events in the short, medium, or long term.

    No awareness that the Federal government has just frozen solid and cannot act again (except militarily and in support of the finance cartel) for years to come.

    The story of the latter day American colonists will be told in small disjointed ways, like this Diary. It will never be seen in its fullness, as it is unfolding.

    I wish you well.



    They are "War Rations."
    Can we please call food stamps by their proper name?

    by Pluto on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 10:24:03 PM PST

    •  That very few people will understand what you've (10+ / 0-)

      just said or will flick on the cognitive dissonance switch is the main reason that it's gradually become inevitable.

      As we see what's happened and how, we have seen a climax which leads to the end.  The only major player that hasn't entered the picture is climate change and no one will be able to withstand seeing that play out in the early stages which have first begun.

      The only humor that works for these times on the higher level of events is dark, unfortunately.

      One of the incidences that's come to mind strongly lately is Reagan's joke that became a meme about the government's here to help you.  The double meaning there intentional by a neoconservative I wonder, like the acronym OIL for the Iraq invasion?  There seem to be so many of what I can't help but think are intentional ironies if one is on the inside, which very, very few are.

    •  The consequences of this are unseen and could (15+ / 0-)

      be quite bad. The loss of any income for a large number would cause deep suffering. people are going to get helpless and hopeless. Food stamps and UE have kept people from considering other options. many of them violent. Remember the Bonus Army during the Hoover years? The apex of left wing politics was in the Hoover years. As was the threat of real violence.

      This is the real class war. It is on. Cuts to social programs by the elites and the loss of UE and the destruction of labor are going to make the helplessness and hopelessness and the alienation much, much worse.

      FDR and Keynesian policy stopped revolutionary movements in this country. And saved capitalism. And by not repeating those same solutions we are inviting massive upheaval and violence. The elements that caused fascism in Europe in the 30s may be rising again here. We avoided wide scale violence through Keynesian policy. Because it gave people hope. What policies today are giving people hope?

      •  To answer your last question: none. (4+ / 0-)

        At least, none I can see.  (Mind you, I may have missed something this week, I've been sick.  If somebody pulled the magic solution out of their back pocket and waved it around, please tell me about it below.)

        I don't know what the answers are anymore.  Like the diarist, I'm an eggheaded ex-academic who can't find work in her field or in anything that is remotely related.  BTW, Transmission's book looks really fascinating, and seems timely.  We're going to see even more strongly-stated versions of the worthy/unworthy meme over the next several months.

        2013 is going to be a rough year.  Either we will relearn the lessons of the 1930s and get this thing back on track, or we will crash, slowly and painfully.  Even tripping over a curb or speed-bump can cause a lot of hurt if you land face-first.  Even those of us not getting UI are going to endure significant pain.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

        by Noor B on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:37:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You may be the first over the fiscal cliff (12+ / 0-)

    the rest of us will follow shortly behind.

    only the rich are anchored by their money.

    Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

    by Future Gazer on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 10:42:10 PM PST

  •  I went over the cliff in 2008 (26+ / 0-)

    My freelance work dried up due to the recession, and my investments in mutual funds lost half their value. Being self-employed, I didn't qualify for unemployment at all. I had absolutely no safety net except to use my savings to cover much of my bills for the past three years. I had to cancel my health insurance a few years ago too, since in the midst of all this, my rates had nearly quadrupled since 2005 or so.

    I have no family to fall back on for help, as my parents are in their 80s and just squeaking by on $1400 a month of Social Security. I started buying stuff at yard and estate sales and selling it on eBay, which helped somewhat. Not until this past year did I start getting sufficient work again, but by now I have almost nothing left in savings--no safety net of my own left, and if work dries up again, I'm still not eligible for unemployment. But somehow, I did manage to scrape by.

    My hope is that Obama doesn't cave now to all the Republican demands because of trying to protect those who need unemployment such as you. Because if he does, and they get their way, things will get so much worse for all of us. Worse than if we go over the cliff. Best of luck to you.

  •  Thank you for giving us a first person report. (16+ / 0-)

    Anyone who has not read the report that
    was issued by the OMB as required by
    passage of the 'cliff' law last summer
    in response the debt ceiling fiasco
    needs to do so to understand just
    how bad these cuts will hurt so many.

    caution! 394 page pdf file!

    This report is tentative, and subject to revision.
    I take that to mean that it could be worse than
    the scope and depth of program cuts presented.

    There are a lot more than 20 million unemployed
    that will ultimately be touched by these cuts.
    Imagine the reverse ripple effect to our economy
    when these cuts are made to SNAP, WIC, HUD, etc.
    DOE, CDC, NIH, NASA, EPA, BLM, USPS, and yes, DOJ.

    It might be simpler to list those that will not be cut.

    Whoever drafted this report has a very dry gallows
    sense of humor as they listed several pages of cuts
    to congressional offices, programs, and budgets first.

    For your own families and your neighbors
    and nations sake, please, look at the report.
    I guarantee it will numb your minds and eyes, but
    it may open them to what we are all truly facing.
    This is the law already. It goes into effect January 1st.

    Those exclaiming that there should be no negotiations,
    that there are no reasons for any compromise whatsoever,
    have decided that those who disagree "don't care
    about people". We are soon to discover who is correct.

    If you are fortunate to be employed right now,
    how has the business been at your workplace?
    Steady enough to ride out an 8% across the board
    decline in gross receipts or sales? If you add the
    defense spending portion of the sequester into
    the equation, double that percentage. 16%.
    16% of government spending across the board.
    Is your own employment really that secure?
    Is your current private pension or IRA immune from
    how the market responses may effect their value?

    Still wanting to jump off the cliff?

    There is much to consider as I rapidly approach
    my own retirement age. If I am solely dependent
    on SS, as so many are, I will be taking a huge cut
    in my present pay. I see many quoting that $1200
    is the average monthly benefit. My actual projected
    benefit is for some reason, exactly half of that; $600.
    Probably due to low or flat lifetime income base payments.

    I don't blame anyone for my economic conditions,
    even though it seems as if my income has not been
    keeping up with my expenses all my working life.
    Luckily for me, my debt load and living expenses are
    extremely low, though not necessarily by choice.

    I don't make much now. I don't expect riches from SS.
    I still would gladly trade a smaller amount, or a lesser
    increase, in my future benefits, for the relief and rescue
    of those in dire need today. And strive to then repair or
    replace them at a more politically favorable opportunity
    sometime in the very near future if that is even possible.

    As we all know, the current conditions are not tenable.
    Or sustainable. Not politically, economically, or environmentally.

    I trust our president to defend the interests of
    the great majority of his fellow citizens way more
    than i do the judgments of those who are willing
    to sacrifice the survival of their neighbors, such
    as this story's author, and many, many others, now.
    All on the chance that voters will judge harshly,
    for or against, in 2014. Or something sooner?
    Tell me that is not a gamble of immense proportions.  

    That is why I voted for him. Twice.

    There is still some time.
    I expect further developments.
    One way or another, we shall see
    whose judgement and vision prevail,
    and is ultimately proven correct.

    Good luck, Transmission,
    and to all of you, Happy Holidays.
    Thanks for all of your efforts.

    •  Republicans are going to demand steep cuts as a (7+ / 0-)

      way out of the cliff. Deep cuts in the social programs they hate. Food Stamps, UE, welfare, education. Republicans are pitting SS folks against UE folks. Non union workers against union workers. Races against each other. We in the lower classes must stand together. UE must stand for SS. SS must stand for UE. Workers must not be divided against each other.
      And we have to recognize that there Democrats who stand only with the elites. The Democratic party is not the voice of workers. Or poor people. If they were they would fight harder for those interests. Nut many fight for the interests of the elite. Like Wall Street.

      •  The steep cuts are the law already. (0+ / 0-)

        They go into effect January 2nd, (corrected) 2013.
        Unless 8% is not steep for you?

        That was the deal to
        raise the debt limit.
        August 1-2, 2011.

        It was discussed here some.
        I may have missed the details.
        Plus this OMB report was not (PDF)
        released until  this past September.

        Some say it is the better deal.
        I think we can do better.

        Thanks for all of your efforts.

  •  I'm very sorry to hear this but it is an important (5+ / 0-)

    part of the story and the damnable inhumanity of these no-win situations.

  •  We are a resilient people. We will survive cliff. (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    ArchTeryx

    No doubt some will sacrifice more like the history professor, but now is the time to buckle up and ride the storm before our children get drenched in debt.

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:11:29 AM PST

    •  Sacrifice? (20+ / 0-)

      No one should sacrifice basic necessities for the debt of the richest nation on earth.  

      Now would not be the time to buckle up and ride the storm except by design of politicians.  This is a disaster of their creation by not addressing right wing extremism sooner.  

      And your comment of shared sacrifice "for the children"...is just a right wing meme.  

      Children gotta eat

    •  It is not the debt. It is who the debt is owed to. (15+ / 0-)

      Like the 2.4 trillion owed to SS. It is about making sure that the right people pay the bill for the party they threw themselves. The rich created this mess. The rich must clean it up. Or we must admit that we, the base of the party have nothing to say about governance. That we are only here for our money and our volunteer efforts.

      •  There are not enough rich people to have created (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        this mess. If you took all the wealth from the top one percent do you think it would even come close to paying off our debt.

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:46:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't understand the connection (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, jabney, Noor B, Brooke In Seattle

          Policies that favored the wealthy have over the last 30 years caused us tremendous deficits.  It has led to our current level of debt.  That there isn't enough current wealth to cover the debt today doesn't indicate a lack of responsibility.  You only need what? 300 people to have total control over spending in the US?  That's affordable if you have deep pockets.

        •  There sure are enough rich people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noor B, Brooke In Seattle

          to have created this mess.  And in fact they did create this mess through numerous methods.

          The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:07:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, it would. (7+ / 0-)

          The total household wealth in the US is somewhere between 50 and 60 trillion dollars. The top 1% own 35%-40% of it. so over 20 trillion dollars. That would actually pay off the entire national debt.

          Not that I'm advocating doing so. but I'm not not advocating it :)

          The top 20% own 80% of the household wealth. So yeah, there is a problem. It is actually the core problem of the economy, and probably the political system. Progressive Taxation can fix it. It is a money pump that keeps the economy flowing, as it did for the greatest period of American power.

        •  Wow, you are a real plutocrat ass kisser (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kvetchnrelease

          You little lapdog fuck.

        •  BWAAAH-hahahahahahaaaa! (0+ / 0-)

          You're so funny!  Not.

          Really?!?!?!?!

          Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

          "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

          by Noor B on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:45:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  are you nuts or just a low information zombie? (7+ / 0-)

          It is not only a question of taxing the rich, but how the CEO elite of the United States has been on a capital strike for more than thirty-five years and has in a very real sense abandoned the nation for sake of short-term rates of return.

          Since the late 1970s the largest 600 corporation have followed a combo plan of off shoring capital and jobs to nations where workers’ right are a joke and/or to better serve the local markets they seek to profit from by switching  99% of their focus to foreign markets,  because the return is higher for little effort on their part; either way the larger economy of the U.S.A has been on a downward spiral since the days of Jimmy Carter.

          The brief uptick during the Clinton years was mere happenstance a pure accidental fever driven by internet wishful thinking and Greenspan shoving shit loads of billions of credit card debt into consumers hands while at the same a time twenty year pump up the housing market to delude everyone we could speculate and live off housing as a substitute for making things.

          When you walk through the local Home Depot just remember that only thirty-five years ago almost everything you see was made here and sold via a locally owned small hardware stores.

          That old retail space is gone thanks to Wal-Mart, and that now gone manufacturing base has been replace by global con game where elite corporate parasites really do think the twenty million or so under –employed and the 12 million long term un-employed can just die off while the rest of us pile up credit card debt to keep buying to support the fantasy dysfunction economy based on nothing more than whims and the delusions of narcissistic overpaid elite corporate thugs.

          The said truth is 90% of board room America could not invent a new product or service if their lives depended on it.

          This massive corporate entities prosper on the invention and capital that on the whole can be traced back to the period 1940 through 1975 which they took for granted and then set about shipping overseas because real innovation and service to the customer took a back seat to destroying the New Deal and the unions that made our industry might a living breathing reality that actually raised all boats in the economic harbor.

          The net result the last forty years is the tax base of this nation has been hollowed out and replace with millions living on the edge – barely making the bills each month, and after each new layoff wave millions more pushed into the very real world of fuck off and die.

          Yes taxing the rich is only just a start, but sadly the real debate should be about new industry and bringing manufacturing back to the US.

          Only trouble is the CEO elite will never do this unless they are given a Union free environment and complete control of all politicians and only have to pay about 3% or 6% of their real income in the form of personal or corporate taxes and Social Security and Media Care are destroyed so they can live in a world where they do not have to comprise on anything.

          In short a very feudal arrangement, because, after all, for more than thirty years millions of American jobs have been sent to Mexico or China and a few dozen other worker paradises where the return on investment is high enough to make it possible to ship said products back to a nation where more than 60% of population now can only look on and make choices like our family does:

          NO Flat Screen TV, no cable bill, no Tivo. My cell phone is 7 years old. No I-phones- no I-pads nothing that is not directly related to the mortgage, insurance and clothing on our backs or food in the fridge.

          My first pay-cut was back in 1997 and many of us older workers were quietly given the hint back in 2000, long before the economy tanked  never expect a pay raise for the rest of your working life, no mater how skilled you are.

          When the company I work for laid off 8 workers last year, (10% of our work force and second round of layoffs since 2008 meltdown), I learned two months ago that two of my ex-co-workers are now homeless.

          Yes, indeed, the United States has become an economic dictatorship of the businesses elites and the degenerate super rich, taxing them to pay for American civilization should be the least of their collective worries.

          From my view most of the businesses elite in this nation are spoiled narcissistic brats who long ago abandoned any pretense of due diligence beyond what pads their personal pockets.

          Which leads me to this conclusion: they should worry more about that millions of us who would rather watch them burn and fuck die and being over taxed should be the last thing on their little selfish fuck brains.

      •  The rich primarily own the debt (8+ / 0-)

        which means the rest of we peons are forever stuck paying them interest on it - i.e., more "trickle up" economics.

        IOW, they win both ways (we bite the bullet and pay more taxes to get rid of the debt, the pain will disproportionately fall on the working poor - if we don't - the aforementioned trickle up dynamics dings the lower income groups).

        •  If you look at who won and who lost in this (7+ / 0-)

          economy over the past 40 years you will see that the gap between rich and poor is quite wide. Yet worker productivity per worker has skyrocketed. We are turning more and more into an economy based on moving money around. And that is an economy in decline. We are becoming irrelevant. Which is OK except for the fact that people are hurting. We have seen a massive redistribution of wealth. From the poor to the rich. We have rewarded handsomely incompetence in the finance sector while punishing people who work hard and do their jobs well. The free market in our country is rewarding people who do not deserve to be rewarded for doing things they should not be rewarded for. This is hardly efficient.

          Here is what Adam Smith and every free market thinker since 1776 has missed. People in a free market cheat. They try to eliminate competition. They form cartels and monopolies. They act in ways economics does not understand or describe. hand an economist a can and ask him to open it and he will say "Assume you have a can opener". Well what if you do not have a can opener. Economics stops dead at this point. At least market economics does.

          So people make investment decisions based on assumptions and models. And when they loose the government bails them out. And then they yell at us for wanting them to pay higher taxes because according to them we are stealing their money that they earned. A bank will pay a retention bonus to a banker who lost millions because the bank can afford to replace him. This is an efficient free market?

          A big part of the national debt is caused by a shell game played by the Bush administration. part of it was lying about the true size and nature of the debt and part of it was borrowing money to lower taxes. And that is a successful business model for a company like Bain Capital. But who bails out the government when the house of cards collapses. Should it not be the ones who got us into this situation? Why do we not own every bank we bailed out? Why does a home owner owe a mortgage that the government already paid off through the bailout program? Why is anyone getting eve-cited from a house whose bank bank got bailed out? Did we not pay off those mortgages with the bailouts?

    •  Lol, are you fucking kidding? Sacrifice? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jabney, newpioneer, worldlotus

      Um, the rich whose collective ass you seem to be kissing can step right up first.

      Tell me you're snarking, please.

    •  What would you sacrifice? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, NoMoreLies

      Food?  A home/roof over your head?  Meds for when you or a family member is sick?  New tires when the old ones are so bald you skid on dry pavement?  For a lot of us, that's what's left to cut.

      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

      by Noor B on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:43:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  HRed for right wing talking points. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I've recc'ed this, and you should too. (12+ / 0-)

    This really needs more attention.  There are people going to be hurt by the cliff, and lots of people just calling it a "curb", etc., isn't that helpful, IMHO.  It may very well be a curb...it may not.  But my confidence in our government to do anything to cure any ills from a "curb", after last night, convinces me more that we are all going to have to live with a cliff of austerity for at least the next several months.

    Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.

    by wmtriallawyer on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:14:33 AM PST

    •  There are people who are hurt regardless (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Transmission, NoMoreLies

      of the "cliff"...even if UE benefits are extended, they don't go on forever...I think they end after 99 weeks regardless, don't they? As long as we continue to buy the right wing spin and keep shoveling wealth out of the middle class toward the rich, poor/working people will be falling off "cliffs" every day.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:16:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't thing anyone is truly gloating (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, Noor B

    on the new republicans failure.  We are much like you, we really do not understand the complete consequence of what has just happened.  Of course, I speak for myself, but I have a hunch that I am correct.

    So there is no joy in Mudville today that is for real.  We are watching a completely dysfunctional government muddle along and like you imply, it is very disgusting.  These terrorists in the new republican party are intent on bringing down our government by causing more economic damage than 9/11.  Shameful

  •  I am with you on this Trans (12+ / 0-)


    One of the reasons I gave a qualified thumbs-up to Obama's offer is because the unemployment package is NECESSARY to help those who are struggling and out of work so that they don't end up homeless and hungry.  And I hope that in the New Year, the Republicans get so slammed in public opinion that they make a deal that will restore your UI benefits, as well as those of millions more people.  We need them.  I hope you get an offer!

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:28:12 AM PST

  •  It's a cliff for many of us, but a curb for the 1% (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChemBob, Noor B, worldlotus

    but you'll never hear that from the extremely well-heeled.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:28:30 AM PST

  •  I think that it is quite serious, quite scary (20+ / 0-)

    and not at all good.

    I watched an interview with a Tea Party congressman from Kansas this morning that actually made me even more concerned.  Aside from his total lack of comprehension of what is really at stake at this juncture, what really upset me was that everything he said he stood for ideologically - and he was intractable, btw - was based on the idea that his job was not to keep a government going and help people in this country, but instead to dismantle it.  All he could say was "cut spending".  On the subject of guns his only offering was to insist that parents don't allow kids to play violent video games.

    For this man, everything was about withholding money, help, action, whatever.

    Our government has been taken over by people who do not believe in public service.  People who don't believe in helping.

    That was troubling.  This man did not come to Washington to fulfill the ideal of serving the American public through government.  This man came to Washington to destroy it.

    No one is safe from people like that.  It doesn't matter if you are one of the poorest or if you are one of the wealthiest.  We all rely on a functioning, stable and effective government whether we realize it or not.  Because this man doesn't believe in government, there is no way to build anything with him.  He's here as a member of the demolition crew and will refuse any other role regardless of reality and what's needed.

    Please hang in there.  I hope you find a job as soon as possible.  

  •  Yep (17+ / 0-)

    I'm a postdoc with multiple papers with "Nature" in the journal title, plus PNAS once or twice, finding out that tenure track job opportunities have shrunk mercilessly and looking for any alternative that I can get.  The 8% sequestration cut to the NIH budget very likely will mean my ass along with a whole lot of other excellent scientists.  

    Tom Frank was a pseudo that I coined before I found out about that guy who writes books.

    by Tom Frank on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:33:53 AM PST

  •  I'm an environmental scientist (18+ / 0-)

    with 35 years of experience, 30 some-odd publications including book and encyclopedia chapters, still do reviews for publishing houses, etc. Haven't been able to find a job in nearly 1.5 yrs, trying constantly. I too will go over a "cliff" not a "curb." Fortunately, I did have a small consulting job recently that will carry me for one or two months. That is it. Savings are gone. It seems that my value to society has flown with my savings.

    Honestly, I just don't understand what is going on; i.e., why are we electing these rabid, anti-everything but Jesus Republicans at the state and congressional levels.

  •  Getting on the Right Track (5+ / 0-)

    I utterly sympathize with your plight, and I'm sure it represents the needs of millions of people.

    We still have to fight for the right policy. A defeat at the strategic level means that all these battles (over unemployment compensation, for example) will be lost over time.

    In fact, the reason it came to this was because the President and Democrats in Congress generally did not fight the last battle. And that's because they didn't fight the battle before that. They just caved in.

    I'm in favor of "going over the cliff". I know it's a cutesy title that hides the misery it implies, but I think you and everyone else would be better if there were no deal made on the deficit at all.

    The question of extending unemployment isn't legitimately a part of that deal in any case. And it isn't even partisan. Extending (and enhancing) benefits wouldn't just be good for the unemployed, it would be good for all the communities where they live (read "the entire country") because people who get those benefits immediately spend them on essentials in those communities. Both Democrats and Republicans are unemployed and the businesses that would be saved or helped are run and staffed by people of all political persuasions. So, for anyone to hold up renewing benefits on the basis that it has to be a part of the budget negotiations is just politics, and politics of the most vile and damaging sort. It's damaging to people and it's damaging to the economy.

    I have generally refrained from using the cutesy terms for this mess in writing about it because I think they lead away from serious discussion. But by whatever name, compromise at this point to avoid an imaginary crisis would be the worst possible outcome. I hope that the talks will not be resumed until February.

    And, in the meantime, Congress should simply pass an unemployment extension because it's vital to the economy, fair to people, and a bipartisan solution to a very real problem. The budget negotiations are not an excuse for avoiding this issue. If they don't pass the extensions then they have failed for no reason at all, other than wanting to do the wrong thing.

    •  The government needs to pass an (0+ / 0-)

      employment, not an unemployment solution. The employment solution needs to be on the scale of the WPA, which, if adjusted in scale to fit today's population base, would employ over 12 million people.

      Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

      by NoMoreLies on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:38:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would you please link to your book, (8+ / 0-)

    if available on Amazon, BN or other site?  It is a timely topic as we attempt to reverse that stigmatization, in public consciousness and in policy. Thanks.

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:17:02 AM PST

  •  Thanks...and a suggestion (9+ / 0-)

    I really appreciate your comments on how this current round of hostage-taking is going to affect you and so many others in the same boat.

    May I make a small suggestion? Since your talents include writing and editing, have you considered doing freelance editing?

    Two people I know come to mind. One is a lawyer by profession, but she has been doing freelance editing for law students and grad students writing theses for years now.

    We have a great many international students at the university I attend. Many are in the sciences. They speak and understand English well, but some find that writing papers is a struggle--and not for lack of knowledge of the subject-matter.

    With students, the editor has the student obtain the professor's consent. Sometimes the professor wants a disc with the original and edited versions, to confirm that the intellectual work was the student's.

    The other person I know is a skilled editor with a passionate interest in art. She contacted the Smithsonian Museum and secured a gig as a freelance editor of their publications in her specific field. She lives nowhere near Washington DC, incidentally.

    Editing is freelance, so the hours vary, but the pay-per-hour is more than McJobs. After a while, an editor gets known through word-of-mouth. And it can be dropped immediately when the real job comes through.

    Just a thought.

    •  Good idea, I have. (5+ / 0-)

      My trick at the moment is I continue to search for full-time and good part-time jobs, which is limiting my ability to figure out how to get started in free-lancing.  But I had not before heard your suggestion about how to work with international students in a way that wouldn't cause undue problems for their professors, that's a nice idea.

      Of course, if I no longer am on UI in a few days, it removes the obligation to apply for X number of jobs each week (which I always greatly exceed) and maybe that creates an incentive to shift my time toward cracking the freelance market.  Thanks for the encouragement and tip!

      •  Good writers and good editors are rare (6+ / 0-)

        There are books on editing, needless to say.

        One practical one that has suggestions for getting started in freelance work is called something like Copyediting for Dummies. There is a chapter with ideas on how to get the first commissions and build from there.

        I wish you all the best. I do think that your talents for writing and editing are rarer than you may think.

      •  My sister is self employed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Transmission, Noor B, worldlotus

        environmental scientist, also has mediation training and a variety of smaller things she does to make cash.  

        Sometimes she can make good money doing the scientific work.  Other times there are big dry spells, or she has trouble getting paid.  In those times, she falls back on technical editing.   It's steady work, she's good at it and because of her fairly unique scientific background, she can pretty much get as much work as she can do.  It doesn't pay all that well but it keeps rent, heat, food on the table.

        The clearinghouse she works with I think is based in India.

        My point is...take this seriously.  There are a lot of history (and historical fiction) writings being created every year, and a good historian with a sharp eye and editing pencil could probably get a steady revenue stream...one that wouldn't limit your ability to hunt for other work (because you can choose your own hours, as long as you get the work done).

        The fact that you've written a book (something my sister has also done a couple times, in fields unrelated to her work..tied more to hobbies) should help establish your credentials to get this editing work.

  •  Oh come on you are just a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, NoMoreLies

    slacker - one of those 47 percent who just live off the productive magnificence and munificence of the 1 percent.  Actually you are in a sector of the economy that like other important areas have been underinvested in for 30-40 years.  Instead of building and expanding quality universities we  have decided to subsidize diploma mills and tout the wonders of community colleges.  In the past 40 years the population increased by what and the number of places available in real colleges have increased by how much?  The fiscal cliff is symptom of a much more serious malaise.    You are one of the victims; at least you are an adult and have been prudent and have a chance to survive unlike the folks in Newton.

  •  Have you checked online teaching? (4+ / 0-)

    I got by for some years by teaching for the University of Phoenix, not an institution I admire and neither stable employment nor financially fair, but it paid my bills when I could get nothing better.  They also were getting very regimented when I retired completely about 4 years ago, in terms of controlling everything about their courses. But interacting with students was about the same as everywhere else, except that the practically daily email and website discussions actually made for more personal contact than in classes with a few meetings a week. My students were often in the military and got tuition help that way, and I had many who were right wing.  Since my writing classes emphasized logic and critical thinking, it was a new experience for many of them, and in some cases it changed them.

    •  U of P will be... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ree Zen, CalGal47, Noor B, worldlotus

      .... when I face losing my ramshackle apartment, and not much sooner.  Looks like I do have an adjuncting job lined up in a brick-and-mortar, not-for-profit school in the summer, which could also lead to more opportunities to go online.  

      And again, because I have opportunities like this, I really don't want the diary to be too much of a "woe is me" diary.  As long as I don't have an unexpected medical event, I'll figure something out, and get by living on half of what I used to.  Hooray.  The important thing, for me, is that it damn well is a cliff, and that I greatly respect Pres. Obama, and diarists like Meteor Blades, for not losing sight of the real pain that's about to be inflicted by the choice to go over the cliff.

      •  UofP is not the only (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Noor B, Transmission, worldlotus

        online college, though.

        I'm attending classes through the University of Massachusetts, and love it. Perhaps it is something you could look into?

        please visit my etsy shop at http://www.faireattire.etsy.com

        by Stucko on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:03:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Substitute teaching is a decent gig. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Transmission, worldlotus

        You absolutely have the quals to do that.  I've done it.  Mind you, it is a very different world than academia.  Middle school is challenging simply because the kids are "hormones with feet," as one phys-ed teacher put it to me.  High school, depending on where you are, can actually be a little frightening.  I was shocked to find I actually liked K-5.  The little kids are a blast.  You'll need to pass a criminal background check, and you pay for it out of your own pocket.  It should cost about $40, no more.  Apply for a radius of county districts around you.  There's an online system for vacancies being used in a lot of districts called AESOP, and you can manage multiple districts with it.

        Also check the private schools.  They will hire academics without "official education" credentials.  But those are a tough nut to crack.  They also need subs.

        Don't waste your time with the tutoring services.  They want people with education degrees and state certification.  That's what I've found.

        Good luck, hon.  Everyone who says the fiscal "curb" is no big deal has never tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and done a full face-plant on concrete.  It hurts, a lot.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

        by Noor B on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:08:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  we will get a deal, just not until January (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, Alice in Florida

    Boehner has to survive his leadership vote, and the taxes need to go up. Then they will vote to approve something very like the president's plan because the Republicans will no longer be voting to raise taxes on anyone, only to lower them. It will pass with a bare majority of Rep. votes and enough Democrats to make up the difference.
    A bipartisan victory will be declared, and it will be puppies and sunshine on capitol hill. Until the debt ceiling fight comes along.

    •  Even though the next Congress (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fat old man

      will still feature a Republican House, it should be a least a bit less wingnutty than the present one, and therefore hold more promise of reaching a compromise. Though I do worry about Obama trying for a "grand bargain" at this point...what we need is a "petit bargain" that includes an agreement on the debt ceiling (which we need to recast in terms of "default" rather than "debt" if we want to win the argument).

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:23:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, My Sympathies (6+ / 0-)

    I was unemployed for 18 months and lost everything. I wasn't the only one -- millions were in the same circumstances as me, and millions more are in your situation.

    Obama told me, "Train for the jobs of the future!"

    I'm guessing that, if you lose your benefits, you will just be forgotten.

    We don't even waste rhetoric on the unemployed now.

    It's the new normal.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:29:42 AM PST

  •  Transmission, well, if President Obama allows an (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, worldlotus

    "impossible situation" for those who fought long and hard for his reelection, I'll be toast as well. I'll not burden my family with providing healthcare,  housing, and food.  My choices will be difficult.

  •  Make no mistake, this is all Boehner (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, Beetwasher, smileycreek

    The votes to "get this done" are there - always have been.

    The speaker will need to side with the Democrats to get the deal done, simple as that. That means he will have to concede to the left on negotiations.

    The days of the GOP "party line or nothing" deal making are over. There is no law saying the speaker needs the majority of his own party votes - just a majority of the house - the entire house.

    The votes are there, if the house fails, it's all on him.

    All eyes are on Boehner.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:34:16 AM PST

  •  Few if any people here are unaware of the (5+ / 0-)

    consequences of going over the cliff, which for people like you really is a cliff and not a bump or curd, however some of us might believe it's worth risking and even doing. It's just that one, we believe that the consequences of not going over the cliff may be even worse, and two, only by going over the cliff are we likely to get a decent deal (that would therefore also reverse most of the cliff's worst consequences, making them short term at worst).

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:46:27 AM PST

    •  Certainly (8+ / 0-)

      And yet I also see another front-page column that is doing the cross-out-cliff-and-then-write-curb routine.  Perhaps I'm just being overly sensitive given my circumstances, but it's just too cute for my tastes.

      And as a matter of tactics, it seems like we don't want to suggest that what's going on right now is Much Ado About Nothing.  Were it me, I'd be emphasizing that this IS a cliff, that the Republicans have helped construct and now are intent to drive us over it.  Calling it a curb not only minimizes the consequences to me, but also the shocking irresponsibility of our Congress.

      •  It's not a cliff in the sense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        that few people will literally die or suffer massive and irreversible harm from it, which is what tends to happen when you fall off an actual cliff, as opposed to what might happen were we to agree to their hostage-taking demands, which WILL cause many people to die or suffer massive and irreversible harm.

        I realize that this must sound insensitive to the former, but I'm fairly certain that they're outnumbered by the latter, and it's a tradeoff, like any in politics.

        And btw, the cliff is likely to hurt me, personally. But I can't put my personal interests above those of many other peoples' worse off than me.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:11:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Important to understand in breakdown (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies

        Whenever any of the FP's do that, it's in response to the CNBC's and the Beltway/Manhattan centrist elite who really don't give a damn about unemployment insurance but instead give a damn only about their rich tax cuts going away.

        They also do that in full context of the issue, but I do think it's essential (and they will do that) to as include how the House Republicans and some sellout, centrist Dems really want the downtrodden to suffer or don't have the desire to defend for them.

      •  No, You are Not Being Overly Sensitive. (5+ / 0-)

        It's just that this site tends to get carried away with its memes sometimes.

        I miss Speaker Pelosi :^(

        by howarddream on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:18:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Many of us could easily be you (7+ / 0-)

    and it is not something that doesn't cause fear.

    But benefits for you, millions of others, and potentially millions more of us, be they unemployment, medicaid, SNAP, veterans benefits, etc., are being threatened almost every week with some deficit reduction bill pushed by the crazies in the House.  Several times over the first four years of Obama's presidency, we have seen one or more of these same groups taken hostage, and we trade the benefits of some one of the groups to get a little more for the group we deem most at risk at that moment.  But never once have we truly stood up and said no more, we simply won't play musical chairs with the benefits of one group of poor, threatened or disadvantage people pitted against another.

    So here we are again.  At a fiscal cliff created out of a lie. And we are being asked to trade the financial security of seniors, generally women who live longest and made the least during their lifetimes because of another game of gotcha pitting one group of working people against another,to save the currently unemployed while handing over more money and power to the rich.  A Hobson's  choice at best.  

    So no, it is not a laughing matter to those who will be hurt, each time we make this choice it is a choice to hurt someone.   The question is, why do accept the terms as being the only terms that we may choose?  At what point do we choose to fight back, which is also a choice that will hurt people, but at least it offers a possibility to stop playing a hostage game in which ordinary people are only given lose/lose propositions?

  •  Crazy-rad skills in writing, indeed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, howarddream, worldlotus

    You make your case with much vividness and cogency.

    By the way I'm someone who has no saving, also no excuse for not haiving them.  You are more prudent.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:54:23 AM PST

  •  Perhaps a silver lining: bring each as a separate (3+ / 0-)

    bill after Jan 3.  A middle-class tax cut bill.  Pass it, cause Thugs won't say no.  Then a UI bill.  Push it, hype it, megaphone it.  The media picks it up... and Thugs ultimately cave 'cause the public pressure becomes too much.

    Rinse and repeat.  NIH... Thugs are for cancer?!  Etc.

    Perhaps a 'big deal' is the enemy of success?

    •  I wouldn't assume they're against cancer (0+ / 0-)

      or that they wouldn't oppose a middle-class tax cut (that doesn't provide greater benefits for the wealthy--actually, they're doing that right now). As for "public pressure"--they only listen Fox viewers, not to us.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:28:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congress can extend emergency unemployment now. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, Noor B

    Cliff's are not necessary to pass legislation. There's plenty of time to call a vote for such a national priority.

  •  Social Security Admin. workers face a disaster (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, worldlotus

    They are facing being furloughed essentially every friday. A 20% loss in income. They haven't had a raise in 3 years, because, hey, why shouldn't government workers be screwed like private workers?

    I don't think the President should compromise on anything that will hurt the middle class further. Let those tax cuts expire. But he needs to be calling out the republicans daily on this, especially the part where we begin throwing babies out with the bath water on government spending.

    The deficit is not a problem yet. Unemployment and wealth inequality are. Those must be fixed. Government workers cannot be sacrificed in the process, and that is what everyone who thinks that the fiscal cliff is meaningless is (probably) unknowingly asking for.

  •  And regarding sequestration (8+ / 0-)

    I've heard some folks talk almost gleefully about the defense cuts.  But people need to realize, those cuts coming so quickly and dramatically will inflict serious pain.  I know this because my in-laws, who work at an air force base here in California, are likely to see their hours reduced or even get laid off as a result of the sequestration.  For them the fiscal cliff is very real.  

    Now I agree that defense is bloated, we've doubled defense spending in the last ten years and that's simply unsustainable.  But let's not kid ourselves that there's going to be some pain, and doing it with this sequestration is going to inflict a whole lot of pain very soon.

    “Th’ noise ye hear is not th’ first gun iv a revolution. It’s on’y th’ people iv the United States batin’ a carpet.” - Mr. Dooley

    by puakev on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:12:24 AM PST

    •  I've heard the real problem with sequestration (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Transmission, NoMoreLies

      as it affects defense is that it is an utterly inflexible across-the-board cut, which means vital programs and needless waste get cut exactly the same. Unfortunately, it does not sound like intelligent cuts to "defense" are on the table, even though "defense" is 2/3rds of discretionary spending--all the scuttlebutt seems to point to making all the cuts to social programs, education, science, etc.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:35:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a real cliff (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, Beetwasher, Aquarius40

    This is a real cliff, and I've been mentioning it when people get jolly about the cliff.

    On the other hand, it's not something that is going to happen because Boehner couldn't get his plan B through his caucus.

    Cutting the extension off was part of plan B.

    •  Who's "jolly" about it? (0+ / 0-)

      It's an overwrought metaphor in the sense that the real damage does not all occur at once, but I don't think anyone's happy about it--people are only "jolly" about the idea that Republicans who created it may suffer the consequences along with the rest of us, which makes it a little easier to bear.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:37:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, bnk, NoMoreLies, worldlotus

    they're not calling it a "fiscal cliff" because of the expiration of UI.

    It would be nice if there was that level of concern and urgency for the millions of Americans in your shoes.  The irony is that the stuff that the "cliff" is referring to is all bullshit; the only thing that truly is real about the cliff - loss of benefits - doesn't get talked about.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:30:57 AM PST

  •  I love how there is (4+ / 0-)

    so much concern about "economic uncertainty" for Wall Street, yet we have to beg for help to be continued every single damn time.

    Nobody cares about true "economic uncertainty" - not "should I buy or sell my stocks" but real uncertainty: am I going to be able to eat and pay my rent??

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:34:03 AM PST

  •  Here in the City of Chicago (7+ / 0-)

    The federal government is largest single employer. Countless jobs are to be lost or furloughed. I'd say that, too, is a huge impact that is being ignored by people who are looking through their computer screens just at the partisan fight.

    Thanks for posting. I'm surprised it's taken so long to see something like this on this site.

    •  Agreed. It's Quite Shocking, Actually. (7+ / 0-)
      I'm surprised it's taken so long to see something like this on this site.

      I miss Speaker Pelosi :^(

      by howarddream on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:14:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've reduced my posting significantly. (3+ / 0-)

      People who post diaries about this (this one excepted, which encourages me) are uniformly piled upon if they don't support "going over the cliff."  This place, like Washington, seems to also have "lame duck" periods and, after an election, the Obama Wars went from "truce" to "'Anti-Obama' forces have temporarily all but totally routed 'Pro-Obama' forces."  Only one side of this issue is doing a strong majority of the talking.

      I understand the people who don't want a bad deal.  But a lot of people don't seem to realize that who is blamed for no deal is difficult to assess once the shit hits the fan and that, even if we were 100% certain that Boehner would bear all fault, millions of people will suffer greatly in the process.  A president has to keep in mind all of the people who will be harmed by every choice, but on the internet, purity is easy.

      I suspect (and desperately hope) that some sanity and balance will return to this place after the holidays, because the firedoglake thing doesn't do it for me.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:45:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  what will happen if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, howarddream

    they come back and fix things on January 3rd?

    Is the harm you will suffer irreparable, or can we hope things will be better for you?

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:49:00 AM PST

  •  That's horrible. I hate the idea of pitting one (5+ / 0-)

    group of poor people against another rather than legislating good public policy. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is what it is. But I also hate the thought of being held hostage by republiKKKan lunatics. I think President Obama has to call their bluff and end the bush tax cuts for the rich once and for all. Otherwise your Unemployment Insurance and my Social Security will be threatened over and over again. I'm so tired of worrying. You must be, too.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:54:40 AM PST

  •  They've already written-off millions who had UI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, Brooke In Seattle

    ...benefits as their only means of support. In fact, what UI they had in this deal seals the fate of those so-called 99'ers.

    Maybe with millions more thrown off of UI the nation will be forced to once again focus on jobs. I still do not buy that this deal will create jobs. In fact, I do not believe Clintonomics works without an accompanying Dot.Com Bubble.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:57:37 AM PST

  •  Great Diary! Glad It Managed to Make the Rec List! (6+ / 0-)

    I think this is the first one this week that has addressed the concerns of those who face their unemployment benefits running out. Everyone has been so caught up with Chained CPI that they never bothered to think that "falling over the cliff" will have very immediate consequences for those counting on unemployment benefits.

    And this is so true:

    So please, enough with the "it's not a cliff it's a curb" cuteness.  This sucks.

    I miss Speaker Pelosi :^(

    by howarddream on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:11:40 AM PST

  •  Obama Has You In Mind When He's Trying To Make A (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, Aquarius40, worldlotus

    a deal. That's why he IS still considering a deal, because merely keeping the tax cuts for the middle class and ending them for the rich IS NOT ENOUGH. We need the UI extension, we need the SNAP funding and we sure as hell could use some more economic stimulus.

    Now, I'm not saying chained CPI is the way to go to get what we want, but I can understand why Obama might still be willing to deal and negotiate to GET MORE STUFF for people who need it out of any deal.

    The good news is, the way Obama's played this means we CAN probably now make a deal that gets us more stuff in return for something much more palatable than the CPI deal. I'll bet we can get stuff for simply reducing, or eliminating the sequestration on military spending.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:40:24 AM PST

  •  At least you get UI. (7+ / 0-)

    Some of us got broomed out of jobs (before the economy tanked) for the sin of being over competent and over 40, but got screwed out of UI.
      It's been more than six years since I've had any employment.  Now POTUS and some Dems want to screw me out of the one thing that gives me some hope of making it to 65 - SS.  I stopped laughing a long time ago.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:44:33 AM PST

  •  Thank your for putting this in perspective. (4+ / 0-)

    This does suck.  This is not a laughing matter.

    I don't see where the President had any other choice but to go over the cliff, and I do see the value in the political beating the Republicans are taking, but you are absolutely right.  This is not fun and games.

    It sucks that our government and politics have been brought to such a state, and you are somebody suffering real-world harm.

    Thanks for writing this.  I appreciate it.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:59:25 AM PST

  •  Academia (5+ / 0-)

    in some ways really sucks.

    Undergraduates see us, and it looks like a continuation of the world they know, rather than a transition into something unknown, and seemingly much more unsure.  It looks like a dream job.  And in some ways that's true.

    But what they don't know is how hard it is to find a job, and how little control you have over where you live, and how the profession has become badly tiered with many of us paid by the course, and living without job security of health insurance.

    I know you didn't write this diary to elicit pity, but it is very sad and grossly unfair that after so much hard work you should find yourself there.  

  •  Thanks for this diary, Transmission (6+ / 0-)

    And you're still a history professor, even if without portfolio. You are part of the most important parts of our democracy: our living memory.

    So, prayers for some good luck to come your way, hope that your many talents (dealing with the public, writing, editing, computer skills, etc.) will find a safe harbor, and a wish that your colleagues will find it in their hearts to do a little more for you, even if it's just offering you some odd jobs to help bring in a few bucks while Washington dithers.

  •  This is a very important diary (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks so much for providing the dose of reality many need.

    As for me, this diary is a particularly harsh dose of reality. I'm a history PhD student, and I'm very concerned about my job prospects after I get my PhD (which will probably be 2016, best case scenario). It's brutal out there for academics. I wish you the best of luck in getting a job. You're absolutely right that, for many this is a cliff, not a curb.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:12:16 PM PST

    •  I feel for you, truly, having BTDT myself. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      I don't know where you're studying,or how good your contacts (that is, your faculty advisers) are. The odds against you getting a TT position are very high unless you have a catchy topic and are willing to relocate anywhere.

      I know this in part because I have a related degree from the 2nd or 3rd highest-ranking program in the U.S., and I had no prospects whatsoever for a TT job when I was done. (My personal circumstances were undoubtedly much worse than yours in terms of fitting into an academic position, but I'm not an exception all the same.) But I also know this from spending a few years in organizing non-TT faculty, who as you no doubt know are becoming the largest cadre of "faculty" at all but the most elite institutions.

      However, there are a few external resources that are worth investigating BEFORE you reach the diss stage.

      One of the best I've encountered is this one, The Professor Is In. I encourage you to become as informed as you can about the job-hunting process now, so that your prospects are as good as they can be. Good luck.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:19:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  TPII (0+ / 0-)

        is a wonderful website, yes.  I won't go into my personal career prospects here other than to say that what matters to me is a life of service and teaching and knowledge.  Whether that's in a TT job or at a community college or on one-year contracts or in high schools, I want to teach, mentor, communicate, and grow.

  •  I'm with you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, Noor B, worldlotus

    PhD, English, same boat. I'm looking abroad, especially at places where teachers are still respected.

    Zen is "infinite respect for all things past; infinite service to all things present; infinite responsibility for all things future."--Huston Smith's Zen Master

    by Ree Zen on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:12:32 PM PST

  •  I wish the academy weren't in a death spiral, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, worldlotus

    Transmission, it would be much better for us all if it weren't.

    I wish you luck in your current prospects and hope that you don't have to find out directly that it really is a cliff. Thanks for reminding us about the reality for the 2 million + people who are facing this intimidating prospect this week.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:23:53 PM PST

  •  Thank you for defining the true fiscal cliff. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, worldlotus

    Thank you for your contributions to the education of no doubt countless students, and your desire to keep on doing that. I'm keeping the faith that one of your job prospects will come through before benefits run out.  God bless.

  •  Office temping (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, worldlotus

    It may not be an ideal job, but can you apply to temp agencies and get temp office jobs ? They don't care if you don't plan on staying and it's tasks you are more skilled at than waiting tables.  Can you do private tutoring or SAT test prep with a company like Kaplan?

  •  Things to do while falling off the cliff, perhaps (0+ / 0-)

    A writer with a new book is not out of work. He's an author with something to (er, um) market.

    I just skimmed through some of your first chapter online. It's good,  timely, and likely to be of interest a lot of people. (Used to be a book review editor and writer.)

    Perhaps you can spin out some publicity and move toward that think tank alternative now.

    Conferences in your discipline, maybe, guest lectures/panels at social work gatherings, obvious.

    A local paper op-ed on judging the poor might be welcome, especially this week with Christmas looming and the Scrooges ascendant and the regular columnists suffering from year-end burnout.

    Your area's NPR affiliate has book people who should know that you can talk about your book on air for the next couple of weeks/during intersession/soon.  

    A piece for The Chronicle on the ironies of academic unemployment and the reduction of capable scholars/teachers to the situation of hat-in-hand mendicants?

    Every elected Democratic legislator  in Congress should get a book announcement and contact information so they can draw on your expertise.

    With so many knuckleheads out there talking up social policy nonsense, a voice grounded in knowledge and compassion might be well received.

    Best wishes.  

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