Ok, I am officially pissed; royally, utterly and angrily pissed off.
Today, (February 6, 2009) the Wall Street Journal featured an article titled, "The Other Unemployment Rate". In part, it stated:
The Labor Department’s official unemployment rate hit 7.6% in January, and its jump from 4.9% a year earlier marks the largest annual increase in the unemployment rate since 1975.But the government’s broader measure of unemployment hit a more stunning level: 13.9%, up from 13.5% in December.
The figure, which largely accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or can’t find full-time jobs, is the highest since the Labor Department started the data series in 1994. It’s just shy of a discontinued and even broader measure that hit 15% in late 1982, when the official unemployment rate was 10.8%
All these stories of doom and gloom about the unemployment rate hitting 7, 10, maybe even 15%. Oh, we are definitely heading in that direction. We may even hit the 20% unemployment rates of the Great Depression.
It's a national crisis. It consumes the front pages of every newspaper. Television and radio analysts cannot let 10 minutes pass without mentioning it. Throw your hands in the air and start screaming, "The sky is falling... the sky is falling; and it is.
Yet for decades the unemployment rate for working aged adults who want to work has remained fairly and dismally steady since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A 2004 survey found that only 35% of working-age persons with disabilities are in fact employed compared to an employment rate of 78% in the rest of the population. Two-thirds of unemployed respondents with disabilities said they would like to work but could not find jobs. www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=18
For graduates of four-year colleges, the employment rate, for both men and women, is 89.9%. For college graduates with disabilities, the employment rate is 50.6%. www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/economics-employment/labor2001.htm
Where are the front page stories about these stats of the other, other unemployed? Where are the pundits and analysts screaming about this national outrage? Of course there are none. They are silent.
So yes, I am more than a little pissed off that my society views me and my kind as worthless. So worthless, in fact, we don't even get counted in the climbing unemployment rates. We don't even get factored into the people who have stopped looking for jobs. We are invisible.
How can any federal stimulus package designed to stir the economy ignore people with disabilities in its plan.
Well, there was a little money initially; not enough, but some. Now the stimulus bill passed by the House that contained $13 billion for IDEA, $500 million for Vocational Rehabilitation, and $110 million for Independent Living are in jeopardy. Senators are now considering The Economic Stimulus bill; and all of the above provisions are prime targets for cutting!
Call to Action:
The American Association of People with Disabilities wants you to take this IMMEDIATE ACTION.
Call 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators' offices and leave the message below:
"I urge you to keep funding for Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living and IDEA in the Economic Stimulus bill. People with disabilities deserve the opportunity to benefit from the economic stimulus package. With EVERY STATE facing looming budget deficits, the funding for these programs in the Economic Stimulus bill will offset any state budget cuts that would hurt people with disabilities and also ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind."
If you're not pissed... you're not paying attention!
It's not enough. Even what they have proposed is not enough. I want more.
- I want any contractor with a federal or state contract to have a certain percentage of their workforce be someone with a disability. Affirmative action? Damn straight!
- I want universal single payer national healthcare, so people with disabilities don't have to worry about losing their healthcare if they get a job, and employers won't be burdened by the cost of healthcare and will be able to employ more people... more people more stimulus.
- I want equal pay for equal work.
- I want a career ladder program for people with disabilities, so they can be considered for promotions.
- I want those archaic statutes in the Fair Labor Standards Act that allow companies pay people with disabilities less wages for the same work amended or made illegal.
- I want the ADA amended so that the public accommodation portion of the law actually fines violators who are inaccessible, rather than having to file a lawsuit against the business/agency. Like speeding, don't comply, get a ticket.
- I want every freaking state run institution in the country shut down and the money used to "care" for that person follow the individual into a community based setting. Just think of all the housing starts that would stimulate.
- Oh, I could go on, but I think I just popped my migraine cork and I must stop.
I thought if I wrote this all this down I could "talk myself down," like Rachael Maddow; it didn't help. I'm still pissed, maybe even more so. (She writes while reaching for her Zomig and Xanax.)