The American Unemployment Red Tape

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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I am unemployed. Laid-off because I had not brought in enough business for a small Federal contracting firm during the current prolonged period of government budget uncertainty and high unemployment.

I am building a business. And I am looking for work. Both are mutually consistent because “work” can be at-will consulting or at-will full time employment with a company, the former being the more attractive option for employers because they only pay as they go, except for core positions.

I pay taxes to my state, the State of Maryland, to provide for the time when my full-time employment with a company ends for unanticipated reasons. Unemployment insurance is my social safety net. It should not be a stigma for either employers or employees.

I am awaiting my first unemployment check of $430/week. The federal contractor who laid-me off is an information technology services small business. Yet, it might take the government about a month to send me my first debit card from the date of filing. The burden of filing is on me. The employer who laid me off has no exit procedures to begin my unemployment insurance process automatically. The employers who could hire me, as a consultant or as a regular employee, have no automatic procedures to end my unemployment insurance payments upon offer of work.

The government is too broke to make unemployment insurance payments quickly enough to those who rely on it such as myself who are working to create jobs, but too wealthy to give it away cheap, over an extended period with no strings attached, to those over a weekend that caused this great unemployment crisis, unprecedented in recent memory (Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were given their Bank Holding Company status over a weekend by the Federal Reserve).

I could save the same payroll taxes, rather than paying to the state, for these rainy days because relying on the tax-payer supported state unemployment insurance bureaucracy is an excruciating experience for the unemployed who need to eat and pay rent during downturns like this. And it is insulting when the government guinea-pigs the unemployed, particularly the highly educated such as myself, to advance its political agenda of retraining to pay educational institutions using Pell Grants, to save its behind on a failed agenda of globalization since the mid-‘90s.

Political games cannot be hidden from policy wonks such as myself, more qualified and skilled than most, in Washington.


About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa
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