Stuff about me
My name is Keith Michaud and this is “Letters From Away,” a blog written by a Mainer living outside the comfortable and sane confines of New England. The blog is intended for Mainers, whether they live in the Pine Tree State or beyond, and for anyone who has loved ’em, been baffled by ’em or both. Ayuh, I am “from away.” Worse still, I live on the Left Coast – in California. Enjoy! Or not. Your choice.
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Stuff people write
- How Maine Became a Laboratory for the Future of Public Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Angus King Urges Interior Department To Reconsider Offshore Drilling Proposal | Mainepublic.org
- Maine Voices: Higher education, employers must work together for bright future | Portland Press Herald
- Stunning reversal: McDaniels turns down Colts’ job to stay with Patriots | The Associated Press via the Portland Press Herald
- Kennebec River water levels could stay high into next week | Bangor Daily News
Tag Archives: Congress
[The piece I shared with you all earlier this week was picked up by the Modesto Bee after Reporter Opinion Page Editor Karen Nolan shared it with the National Conference of Editorial Writers. I hear a couple of other newspapers plan to use it. … This is the closest I have been or ever will be to being a syndicated columnist. — KM]
The Reporter was gracious enough to again print something I wrote. It’s a bit more personal than the last piece they published.
If that link doesn’t work, try this one.
Or you can simply read it here:
Anger, frustration from longterm unemployment | The Reporter, Vacaville, Calif.
Posted: 08/08/2010 01:04:20 AM PDT
By Keith Michaud
There is no feeling quite like the one that comes from long-term unemployment, especially for a person willing, able and hungry to get back to work.
Thursday marked 17 months since I was laid off after 22 years in the newspaper business, working as a writer and editor for print and Web sites.
At no time in those two decades – actually, at no time in my life – have I felt this demoralized, this useless, this much a burden on society. Never before have I felt such a void of confidence. Never before have I been without health insurance.
What? You don’t care if I’m demoralized, lacking in confidence or have no health insurance? Well, then be uncaring enough for every one of the 14.6 million unemployed Americans.
I know things will improve. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote so in a New York Times op-ed piece on Monday. But how much longer will it be before the economy really, truly turns around? How much longer will corporate America turn an uncaring shoulder to hard-working Americans who have no jobs?
Corporations are holding onto trillions of dollars, some say over concerns about possible future federal regulations. It is hard to believe that U.S. firms can be so callous, so shortsighted.
Meanwhile, those millions of Americans – of which 6.8 million are considered long-term unemployed – go without work. Members of that latter group are endangered of becoming unemployable because corporations insist on hiring Americans who are already working or who were only recently laid off and whose skills are considered sharper.
I am frustrated and mad that I was laid off in the first place. I am frustrated and mad because my job search has been protracted. I am frustrated and mad because corporations – mostly Wall Street bankers and the like – received huge federal bailouts and then turned around to pay executives millions of dollars in bonuses for finding innumerable ways to charge consumers new fees. I am frustrated and mad that Congress took so long to extend unemployment insurance benefits. Democrats and Republicans alike let down Americans across the land.
I am frustrated and mad that the U.S. Federal Reserve is failing in one of its main objectives, zero unemployment. I am frustrated and mad that my next-best option is to clear out a meager personal retirement fund, lean on credit cards, and depend on family and friends who themselves are struggling.
Long-term unemployment does more than demoralize the unemployed. It demoralizes their families, concerns their friends and causes worry even among their former co-workers. Long-term unemployment hurts the economy by eliminating consumer spending and making a downsized economy the norm. Long-term unemployment undermines this country by impeding economic recovery.
Without care for the unemployed, without job creation, without bold effort by politicians and corporate America, we can expect the economy on all levels to shrink and for unemployment to rise.
We 14.6 million unemployed are frustrated and mad, but we lack a focused voice. We, too, must be bold. We must shame the Obama administration, Congress, the Federal Reserve, and especially corporate America to get Americans back to work. There should be no comfort, no vacations, no getaways until the unemployment rate is halved.
The author, a journalist for 23 years and Reporter employee from 1993 to 2006, lives in Stockton, Calif.
Michaud blasts Congress for adjourning without extending unemployment | Maine Public Broadcasting Network
[For full disclosre, U.S. Rep. Michaud are not related, as far as I know. — KM]
Republicans block bill to continue benefits for millions with no job | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
Mainers wait and wonder: How will reform affect us? | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
Maine summit seeks
ideas from businesses
AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislative leaders called on Congress Tuesday to pass another stimulus package featuring tax breaks for small businesses that add employees, investment in infrastructure improvements and additional financial relief for states.
Gov. John Baldacci, meanwhile, held a jobs summit with business leaders from around the state on Tuesday to solicit ideas on steps government can take to help companies and the state grow their way out of the recession.
“That’s why every one of you gets up every day and it’s certainly before me every single day,” Baldacci told representatives from 80 businesses across the state.
At a midday press conference, Democratic leaders from the House and Senate urged Congress to move forward with a jobs stimulus bill reinvesting money from the federal bailout of financial institutions, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Kevin Miller of the Bangor Daily News.