Tier II of Unemployment Extension H.R. 6867
By: Paul DeWitt Goree © 2008
Recently I contacted my local unemployment office. I wanted a full explanation of the distribution of benefits as approved by President Bush on November 23, 2008. Apparently in the state of Nevada the second extension approval provided for 30% of the original claim. The first extension, approved in June 2008 provided Nevada state residents, with 50% of the original claim, totaling 80% of the original claim. Depending on each individuals calculations and prior quarters, determined the amount of payments. My payments were distributed in a six week period each extension, totaling a full 80% of my original claim. Whereas others I have spoken to received a lesser dollar amount, but a distribution of 21 weeks.
The most interesting thing I learned from the Unemployment customer service representative is the information concerning Tier II of the second unemployment extension. When President Bush signed the H.R. 6867, it did state that those states that continued to have unemployment rates of 7% or higher would have an extended 13 weeks or 50% of the original claim. This is all that has been provided, until January 2009, more likely after President Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. In January 2009, the federal government will determine the terms upon which Tier II of the second extension will be distributed. Although this is something to look forward to, it does not diminish the fact that industry has not vocally stated any intent to increase employment opportunities in the coming year. In fact retail giants such as Office Depot, Best Buy and Mervyn’s are cutting jobs, eliminating store locations and reorganizing new store constructions . Amongst all of this the Auto industry is yet to determine where its future lies, even with the current bail out loans approved by President Bush. It’s important that the Auto industry is sustained, for its industry trickles down to a multitude of other associated industries which will surely hurt the middle and working class of this nation financially.
In Las Vegas, casino giant Sands Corporation will be laying off 216 workers from the Venetian and newly opened Palazzo resort. While Boyd Gaming Corporation will cut its employees’ 401(k) matching program by half, in order to combat the troubled gaming industry.  . Ironically Steve Wynn has opened the new Encore casino and recently MGM has stated that 12,000 jobs will become available at its new casino City Center, in the coming years. How these casinos can project stable employment condition is a wonder to me, consider that tourist rate in Las Vegas has fallen 14.1% percent  and will continue to decline as the economy worsens.
Another issue recently bought to my attention, is an attempt to allow unemployment income to count as Earned Income Credit for tax year 2008 . All of these issue brings me back to my original posting, concerning President Elect Barack Obama and the chaotic financially disarray he will encounter, during these coming years. I hold total faith in Mr. Obama and am especially interested in his intentions to extend new public work programs for this great country of ours. I believe that these types of public work projects can not only provide employment opportunities, but also provide vocational training in new areas of industry for millions.
Just for the record, the unemployment rate as of today in Nevada is 8.0%, up 0.9% from the last month . Nationally the unemployment rate is 6.7%.  Until some stable employment becomes available I have decided to utilize my time volunteering to local non-profit agencies, and continue the development of my own non-profit agency Chiespirt.
Lately I have been talking to a lot of unemployed, homeless and veterans through out Las Vegas. The one thing I am finding in common is an air of meaninglessness, derived from lack of stable employment and demising social economical conditions. During these times of despair, it is very important that we keep ourselves occupied to prevent depression and languor. I am reminded of the Great Depression and the air of social depression that spread through out this country due to increasing lack of worthlessness, whereby the great FDR responded, “…above all, try something! The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach. We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking!” . “…Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” 
In this sense meaninglessness refers to, lack of industrialism, non-benefiting use of ones time. It would be great for that time to be compensated for through employment, but until the economy strengthens, the best way to attend to the ills of meaninglessness are through, volunteering, attending to community and family needs. It takes a village more than ever, during these rough times.
1.) WCBS News Radio 880 NYC December 10, 2008
2.) Sands Slates Layoffs by Howard Stutz, Las Vegas Tribune 12/17/2008
3.) Boyd To Halve 401(k) Matches by: Arnold M. Knightly, Las Vegas Tribune 12/17/2008
4.) Las Vegas Tourism Takes A Dive KXNT Las Vegas News Radio December 11, 2008
5.) Joseph, reply from Paulgoree.wordpress.com
6.) www.lasvegasnow.com Eyewitness News Channel 8 Las Vegas CBS
7.) National and State Unemployment Rates
Unemployment Rate figures obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor – www.dol.gov
8.) Oglethorpe University Commencement Address FDR quote (22 May 1932)
9.) First Inaugural Address FDR quote (4 March 1933)