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March 24, 2010, at 6:13 pm — Blogs / / / / / / / /

Chase Bank is chasing me away!

I am livid. How dare a bank that has over-feed my wife and I, been rude, been unavailable when we needed them – how dare they now say that our unemployment is caused by our unemployment checks? How does this bank take our money and then question how we get it?

It was reported today that JP Morgan Chase has concluded that unemployment insurance has not only increased the time someone stays unemployed but also has caused the unemployment rate to go up.

The amount of misinformation and just downright callous, unfeeling, un-American behavior in this economic crisis is appalling. I remember hearing great stories how my great-grand parents and their generation helped each other during the Great Depressoin and how this country came together during the 1940’s to support the war effort. I guess those days of helping each other are over. Now it’s survival of the fittest. You live or die and don’t look to anyone else to help you. – At least that’s the world not only the GOP has been promoting but now it appears the banks, who caused this crisis, have now chimed in.

Given how much help the banks have gotten after the former administration let this country down, I am unsure why they even think they have a voice right now.

JP Morgan Chase has said a number of things that are just not true.

They said that unemployment insurance causes unemployment. When I was laid off I knew I might get some unemployment but having never been on it before I was not counting on it. As I was laid off to no fault of my own (a condition of receiving unemployment insurance) I am pretty sure that it had nothing to do with unemployment benefits but more to do with the company I worked for having difficulty. When my wife lost her job two weeks later I was relieved to see my unemployment check arrive. A fraction of what I was making.

I thought I might be unemployed for a couple of months – I was wrong.

Chase said that people turn down jobs and are picky because they are on unemployment – this is a lie. If I turn down full time work, any work, I lose my benefits and they can check up on that. If I get part time work they deduct the amount I made at the part time job from my unemployment benefits but my benefits would continue until I received FULL time work. We are required, in order to receive our benefits, (note OUR benefits), we are required to look for work each week. And we do. We apply and I have yet to get one response. (I got one referral once for some part time work that never panned out)

I barely sleep. Not just because I seem to keep myself busy with my series “and Boris” or this site, but because I am terrified. I hide it the best I can to keep my loved ones and friends assured but the truth is – I am terrified. I ask around for work – there is none. I apply to jobs that appear on job postings and I get no response. I keep hoping that my continued self-education doing “and Boris” will lead to some opportunity and though I have hope nothing has materialized.

I am always facing the possibility of trying to find not one but several jobs. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again if necessary but finding even one part time job right now is difficult – let alone several.

I hereby call on all readers of this post to move your money from Chase. Boycott them. I will be doing so when we can afford to in a few weeks if this unemployment extension gets passed or if I find work. That “if” is terrifying and I wonder if any members of JP Morgan/Chase have ever had to confront that “if.”

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10 comments to Chase Bank is chasing me away!

  • whyohwhy

    David let me offer a different point of view. Unemployment Insurance (UI) is paid for by employer taxes and it’s not cheap. They are collected at both federal and state levels and fund the vast majority of UI funds in the country. My simple question is why are corporations and businesses (big and small) for those that are unemployed for whatever reason? The single purpose of businesses (whether they are global transnationals or small Chapter S corporations) is to create wealth for the owners (an individual or shareholders). There is NO responsibility of these organizations for your and my personal well being. That’s the role of the individuals themselves and their communities (as it were for centuries). The idea that somehow by edict or or regulation that companies pay tribute to the govt. to sustain a workforce unable to get work is pretty ridiculous.

    For example AT&T can no longer afford the $1B in additional healthcare taxes due to the new legislation. They’ve just announced that they will stop paying health and prescription benefits to AT&T retirees. That is now the role of the govt. and they are right? Why should they pay taxes and support the thousands they’ve been supporting? They shouldn’t. They’re not charities.

    UI taxes and other high taxes are PRECISELY why there is so much employment in this country. Successful multinational corporations are (and should) move out of the US and go places that are more supportive of their wealth generation activities. There they can employe the thousands who are happy to have jobs, the income, etc. Call it outsourcing, off shoring, or whatever. But it’s going to be places that will make you more competitive and the US labor and commerce laws are making it less so each day.

    So boycott and abandom Chase. It’ll just lead to more losses of the few jobs held by americans in the US.

  • Jae Day

    I am a freelancer. I have NEVER had a “real” job. I have worked for as many as 53 companies in a year, but I have happily managed to get it down to 21 while maintaining – occasionally even improving upon – the amount of money that I make. The idea of going on unemployment never occurred to me until I worked on a movie (the one and only that I worked on) back in LA, and my boss and I were discussing being in between work. It was news to me that people in my line of work (entertainment business) often go on unemployment between gigs. As far as she was concerned, this was commonplace; as far as I knew, I had never known anyone in my little freelance theatre world who had gone on unemployment voluntarily. Since then, I have encountered a handful of people who do make use of it – especially within these last couple years – and one or two who are brazen enough to manage unemployment as their version of a paid vacation once in a while. I have indeed heard quite a few people comment that it is “my” money anyhow – why shouldn’t “I” take advantage of it?

    While that makes a certain amount of sense, it has become evident to me that this sentiment needs a shift in purpose. My understanding of how unemployment works is that both your employer and the federal government contribute to this insurance on the employees’ behalf. There is no money being dedicated to this fund out of any individual’s paycheck. “No deductions are ever made from a worker’s paycheck for unemployment insurance.” – http://www.labor.state.ny.us/ui/employerinfo/employerinfo.shtm The Unemployment Insurance program IS however listed under the Social Security Act, and I am thinking therein lies the confusion. Instead of thinking of it as “my” money, we should think of it more collectively as “our” money. Right now, there is a large percentage of “us” who are on the collecting end as opposed to the contributing end.

    And that brings me back to being a freelancer. In my world, in order to be a considerate employee (please read as “hire me again!”), I have to be careful about against whom I file for unemployment, especially if I have only worked a nominal amount for them! That being said, the percent that I have worked in any given year has been fairly steady at 66-67% (yes, I calculate the # of days in a 365 that I spend employed), and I am glad to be only slightly perturbed by the fact that last year that number dropped to about 59-60%. Knock wood, I have as yet to actually collect on unemployment… knock wood, eventually the work will come back around as something always has. Good luck to us all.

  • Both you make good points – however – look at it this way – in my particular situation this is the first time I have ever been on unemployment and had I not been on it I would be homeless and this site would have gone dark. I’m sorry but that’s the truth. The cold hard reality. There werre NO JOBS – don’t know why that fact keeps getting distorted. Now there are new jobs appearing (not that WhyohWhy will give any credit to the Obama administration but WhyOhWhy is hyper-partisan so no surprise there) – and there is some news on my part at the bottom of this reply – so keep reading.

    Regardless, folks need to realize that the job market is not in a normal state. If it were in a normal state – yes there would be better options.

    I did freelance for many years – it can be good and horrible at times – some employers take advantage of their freelance staff and over work them or dangle the potential benefit or full time status but never deliver it. I’ve had both good and bad experiences as a freelancer. It is not an ideal way to work as if offers very few protections for the employee and often gives more freedom to the employer if there is no contract.

    But while freelancing I was not eligible for unemployment. Not at all. You have to work for a company for a specific period of time during a specific part of the calendar year to be eligible for unemployment benefits. I know some folks in the entertainment industry who have work histories that allow them to get unemployment but it’s not something I’ve seen used on a regular basis.

    As much as you are correct that no deductions are made from a persons paycheck for unemployment – you are looking at the relationship between employer and employee in an archaic way I think. I am not subservient to my employer – I make them money. Period. That is the relationship. I get paid so they can make a profit on their business – and my skills aide them in that effort. That would be true if I were a janitor or an executive.

    The company I worked for – and I can not get into too many details here for legal reasons – did not do well. It let go a number of people who were vital to the company and the company began to falter. It’s investors bailed when the economy bailed. These incidents were not the employees fault but the company as a whole and perhaps the leadership of the company’s fault – not the individual employee who showed up and did their job every day.

    When you make a commitment to work for a company they make one with you as well.

    It’s a two way road. They agree to pay you a salary and provide a certain level of agreed upon benefits and you, the employee, agree to do your best in your field. You work long years to build up a resume and skills in your field and the employer is expected to compensate you for that experience – as they will benefit from it as you go to work for them. Part of this commitment is time. While working full time for a company you are not working full time looking for a job or a better opportunity – often with the understanding that you are with this company for the long haul. (the company I worked for actually forbade people from looking for work either on their time or even when you were taking a day off)

    You are investing your time with the company as much as they are investing in you with a salary. When one member of this agreement fails the other there are repercussions. If the employee makes mistakes or does a poor job they are dismissed (and ineligible for unemployment). If the company makes a mistake and does a poor job and they can not afford to keep the employee on – the employee is allowed to file for unemployment insurance. That is the penalty in some ways for the employer failing. It is a stop gap measure meant to protect the larger economy from a failed business.

    Unemployment insurance by the way was started in the 1930’s as a reaction the great depression – it kept the country from going under. We need to treat this institution with more respect. There are around 6 MILLION people on unemployment right now – if that 6 million did not have unemployment how would that 6 million pay their bills? Buy food? Think about the impact that 6 million people not buying food would have on the grocery chains, the gas company, the oil company, the locally owned gas station, etc. The cold hard reality that adults for whatever reason do not want to think about is that the result would be at least 6 million more people unemployed or more – a ripple effect would happen. Think about how much you as an individual spend in a year – multiply that by 6 million and then subtract that from the national economy.

    Here – 6 million people – they lose their jobs – they spend an average of let’s say $25,000 a year – now unemployment is only a fraction of normal salary but let’s say there is no unemployment insurance – what is 6 million times 25,000 – it’s 150 BILLION. $150 BILLION dollars. That’s a lot of money not being spent. Think of that on a local level – how does that 150 Billion (probably a low ball figure by the way) effect the local food market? The cable company? The insurance industry? Any industry?

    At any rate – hope that helps – and for some good news buried amid all this drudgery – I start work next week on a short term assignment for a studio. I hope it’s the end of my unemployment period.

    I am deeply grateful that I had UI though – if I hadn’t – my wife and I would have been devastated.

  • Jae Day

    Hold on – I didn’t mean to infer that I thought there have been jobs out there that you have not taken. As you said, you have to work for a company for a specific period of time during a specific part of the calendar year to be eligible for unemployment benefits. My point was that I am grateful to not have been faced with sorting out my eligibility and whether or not I would have been screwing any given employer. A second unstated point was that it seems that YOU are the perfect candidate, and in this crap economy, I for one am glad to know there are people like you on unemployment taking advantage of it in the manner it was intended to be. That benefit (along with health insurance and other such “benefits” for which I have been paying out of my own pocket until recently) is part of the bonus of having a “real” job. Also as you said, it’s a two way road.

    Glad to hear you’ve got an assignment! Hope it is going well.

  • whyohwhy

    OK, let’s not carried away here David. You don’t know me enough to call me “hyper partisan”. To be frank, I have distictly liberal, libertarian, and yes conservative views as well depending on the topic (like most Americans). It just happens that the topics on this website (which I find mildly interesting) probe my free-market capitalist views. Maybe one of the topics you hit will hit on my progressive views (immigration for example) but to say that I’m a hyper partisan based on narrow issues such as unemployment and regulation of business is no better than what Glen Beck’s and Janine Garofolo’s of the world do – live in the world of hyperbole.

    And I can’t disagree with you more about the relationship between employer and employee. There is no fundamental agreement between any employer and employee beyond what is dictated by the state. If anyone believes that there is some social or moral responsibility of corporation to take care of their employees beyond what is needed to keep the company financially viable for their investors and stakeholders they’re fooling themselves. Again, why I ask are many jobs being off shored? maybe because people over seas are more talented, work harder and demand less of companies. In short they’re BETTER than Americans who expect their companies to be a nanny.

    Rugged individualism is what built this country to it’s greatness. For some reason over the past 200 years+ we’ve lost that expect others (companies, govt. etc.) to take care of them. THAT IS WHY WE’RE AT THE TWILIGHT OF AMERICA.

  • Jeremy Olsen

    Whyohwhy,

    I think saying we’re at “the twilight of America” might be a bit of Glen Beck hyperbole, too. I do think that part of this perceived disintegration is due to the fact that we have it really, really good collectively. The many people in David’s situation may find it hard to focus on that, and that’s totally understandable. But during the Great Depression, millions of the unemployed and poor were waiting in breadlines, feeding on scraps, virtually starving to death thanks both to the economy and to crop failure, and they didn’t have TVs, dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerators, cars, cell phones, the internet, and access to lots of goods and services that are far cheaper or didn’t even exist in the 1930s. Plus the infrastructure to support those who are poor, homeless, or in debt is vastly superior to what it was then. All of that is worth something. So in the big picture, we have it really, really good right now, and I think that allows us collectively to turn inward and focus on our fears, our differences, our inadequacies, our entitlements. So if we are, to any degree, facing “the twilight of America” it is only because we’ve had it so good for so long.

    I’m not sure if or how human nature can overcome the strangely disempowering condition of prolonged affluence. I suppose we slip back down the hill a bit, it scares us, and we refocus our values and start working at it again.

    And I’d have to guess David slipped and made that assumption in the heat of the moment, since this is a very personal issue. He’s not normally the type to do that and it’s not what his site is about.

  • Jeremy Olsen

    Another point of agreement,

    Yes, companies are not at all obligated to care for us throughout our lives. It’s a nice gesture, something offered to a worker as compensation in lieu of pay. Either way it costs them, and either way it rewards the worker. David seems to say this directly and I don’t think you disagree as much as you think.

    I do believe David’s view of UI as a socioeconomic contract is an important one because our society and people are better off in many ways when people have a safety net and are not slipping into poverty and homelessness. And since you don’t get unemployment if you choose to quit, and since you have to have worked recently to be able to draw unemployment, it is a very useful protection that rewards those making some attempt to find and keep a job. Quitters don’t get it. The chronically jobless don’t get it. There are definitely some huge inherent inefficiencies and inequities and problems, but it’s something.

  • David P. Kronmiller

    When it’s come to the issue of UI whyohwhy has been partisan and I haven’t seen whohwhy exhibit another point of view yet but I in no way meant whyohwhy was always partisan so apologies there.

    As to your reply let me ask you this – can Steve Jobs build every iPhone personally? If no then how is he not as dependent on a workforce as they may be with him?

    As far as labor in other countries – do you like your personal financal info in the hands of a foeriegn phone bank company? And do you support lead in toys and child labor?

  • Jeremy Olsen

    Steve Jobs couldn’t have his business if he didn’t have lots of people working for him. He needs workers. The thing is, he doesn’t need ME as a computer programmer. There’s only one Steve Jobs running Apple. There are millions of potential computer programmers and he has no obligation hire or keep any one of them beyond what the law requires. Now, if he pays them more, offers better benefits, or treats them better he may attract and keep better workers. But that’s a function of economics and not of obligation. I don’t believe any employer *should* treat a worker poorly, and I think *some* of the ways an employer could do this are totally fair game to be legislated.

    Whyohwhy, I just reread the comment David’s talking about… How far can you go with saying that demanding less compensation makes an employee better? Certainly, then, the best employees don’t want to get paid. Maybe they pay the company for the chance to work. Do you really believe that? How far can you realistically take that statement?

  • whyohwhy

    sorry folks, been out of town for a while. well what you’re talking about with labor workforce is geographic arbitrage – been going on for decades. global companies (and most are now a day) are going to use the workforce that is best going to allow them to compete in the global market. so iphones made in the USA vs. iphones made in China (which all of them are) going to be pretty much the same except the difference in cost.

    It’s not that best employees dont’ want to get paid, it’s the value of what that same service is globally. Do you want to know why walmart employees 2million americans and sell 8% of global retail? they can use their size, scale, supply chain to sell the same crap and much lower prices. Simple as that.

    That all being said. Personally, I think georgraphic arbitrage is over. There only so much off shore development you can do without raises the price of services, goods in that particular country. For example India’s rates are now surpassing that of places like the balkans and former soviet republics. Does that mean businesses can move their costs to other areas? Sure but eventually that’ll end too.

    the last and likely to be the best option for maximizing productivity is automation. look at the big modern grocery stores nowadays – auto checkout machines and better supply chain management has allowed them to run at 1/10 the staffing at stores. Look at the auto industry – they run at 1/20th the staffing and cost even overseas.

    you can punch at the walls all day long, but reality is we all have to ruthlessly efficient and competitive because our employers and competitors will surely be. i sure dont’ expect them to have some type of obligation to take care of me and my family, that’s my job no one else.

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