WASHINGTON — The woman who told President Barack Obama that she was “exhausted” from defending him and his economic policies and waiting for the change she expected after voting for him has another reason to be put out: She’s lost her job.
Velma Hart, the chief financial officer for Am Vets, a veteran services organization based in Maryland, said Monday in an interview with CNBC that she was laid off as part of the nonprofit’s effort to cut expenses.
“I want to focus on the positive and be optimistic,” said Hart, who lives in Upper Marlboro, Md. “And assume that somehow things will work out, that there’s an opportunity out there with Velma’s name on it that’s right around the corner.”
Am Vets executive director Jim King told The Washington Post that the nonprofit was looking for ways to survive financially.
“It’s not anything she did,” King told the Post for a story that appeared online Monday. “She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people. It was a move to cut our bottom line.”
In September, during a town hall-style meeting on the economy televised by CNBC, Hart told Obama: “Quite frankly, I’m exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the man for change I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.”
Hart said that the recession had taken an enormous toll on her family and left her and her husband worried about their finances. “And quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer honestly,” she said, “Is this my new reality?”
Obama responded, in part: “As I said before, times are tough for everybody right now. So I understand your frustration.” He went on to cite examples of administration policies that he argued were helping families cope financially.
Hart told CNBC that she still supports Obama and noted that the economy is improving, though she finds the prospect of unemployment “scary.”
Source: Huffington Post
This guest post is contributed by Mark Paul and Anastasia Wilson. Both are members of the class of 2011 at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
In some cultures asking how the kids are doing is a colloquial way of asking how the individual is faring, acknowledging that the vitality of the younger generation is a good metric for the well-being of society as a whole. In the United States, the state of the kids should be an important indicator. Young workers bear the significant burden of funding intergenerational transfer programs and maintaining the structure of payments that flow in the economy. Today, the kids’ outlook is almost as bleak as the housing market; they are unemployed, underwater on student debt, and out of luck from a reluctant political system.
Currently, even after a slight boost in jobs growth, unemployment for 18-24 year olds stands at 24.7%. For 20-24 year olds, it hovers at 15.2%. These conservative estimates, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics U3 measure, do not reflect the number of marginally attached or discouraged young workers feeling the lag from a nearly moribund job market.
The U3 measure also does not count underemployment, yet with only 50% of B.A. holders able to find jobs requiring such a degree, underemployment rates are a telling index of the squeezing of the 18-30 year old Millennial generation. While it appears everyone is hurting since the financial collapse, young adults bear a disproportionate burden, constituting just 13.5% of the workforce while accounting for 26.4% of those unemployed. Even with good credentials, it is difficult for young people to find work and keep themselves afloat.
If companies are unwilling to hire bright young college graduates even at a relatively low salary and minimal benefits, will they ever be willing to hire anybody at all?
Jobs aren’t the whole story. Recent college graduates, those in the labor force with the freshest batch of knowledge and skills, are currently underwater and sinking fast with unprecedented student loan and personal debt. Average student debt for the class of 2008 was $23,200, an increase over four years of about 25%, meaning that students are knee deep in negative equity between their educational investment and actual earnings.