This morning I read an article from the Sacramento Bee, in which the following quote was reported to have been made by Mr. Ratzenberger:
"I worked hard and I went for the American dream and I did OK," he told the crowd. "But now I'm confused … why does the government want to take my money and give it to people who don't work?"
In all fairness, I would like to hear the whole speech that was provided by Mr. Ratzenberger, but since that is unavailable, I will make a few points to this comment specifically.
First, Mr. Ratzenberger has been a strong supporter of American manufacturing and he is an advocate for children with Diabetes. These are two things that I commend him for. I wish him continued success in promoting these endeavors.
Prior to 2006, the longest I had been off of work was 9 months. This was from 1996-1997, when I went out on disability and then had to file for unemployment before securing a new job. I have held jobs since 1982, and had to file for unemployment only once before 1996.
Since June 2006, I have exhausted Unemployment Benefits twice, and collected wages for a total of 12 months (out of 34) under 5 different contracts.
On average, I have sent out resumes or applied for 40 jobs a week.
I registered with 26 different employment agencies and reapplied to 12.
I have 14 different resumes and 26 different cover letters.
I am registered with 16 different job posting sites.
The last full-time, permanent position I held was as a Vice President of Operations.
I have worked primarily in the Mortgage industry since 1992. I worked admin and ops. I wasn't a loan officer. I didn't make the big $$.
I have dumbed down my resumes, scaling back job titles and using generic explanations for my job skills.
My background includes accounting, human resources, project management and auditing.
I have been told more times than I can count that I am either over qualified or my background is too industry specific.
Though I have been an Executive Assistant to C-level executives, I couldn't even find a job as a secretary.
Under the Bush Stimulus Bill from the Spring of 2008, I received an extension of my unemployment benefits. I was entitled to an additional $1,300. I received $111 a week. That's less than half of what I used to get paid for 1 day of work. It was humiliating and quite depressing.
The last 3 years have been depressing and humiliating. It doesn't help when people of note make callous comments such as Mr. Ratzenberger's.
I have read and listened to comments made by Tea Party supporters, and I can understand their feelings on the current state of our Nation. This problem didn't start on January 20th. It started in 1998 and has gone down hill from there. See Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1998.
The national unemployment rate is over 8%, and it is estimated to surpass 10% by the end of the year. In California, it is already over 10%. This takes into account those filing for or receiving unemployment benefits. It doesn't take into account those that have exhausted benefits, or are under-employed. That would bring the total to over 15M Americans. I am one of those 15M.
I don't reject your right to protest, but I can reject your rhetoric and callousness. To blame those that have lost their jobs to corporate greed and mismanagement, to having their jobs shipped overseas, or to downsizing due to reduced revenue, shows a gross lack of understanding and empathy.
Simply put - I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone. To walk in my shoes for the last 3 years would be a completely demoralizing experience.
It would be nice to hear some solutions for a change, instead of blame. Do you, Mr. Ratzenberger, or any of the Tea Party Supporters, have thoughtful solutions for our future? We're all waiting.