Further to our earlier posts Who Are the Unemployed? and More on 'Who Are the Unemployed' comes an article by Paul Roitman Bardack in the Spring 2012 issue (not yet available online) of CJ, the magazine of Conservative Judaism:
I found myself unemployed...we were able to sell our house quickly and at a good price...we tried to turn our lemon into lemonade by embarking on our three month trip of a lifetime...And so our adventure began...we started our journey in British Columbia...We did a lot of hiking, including to a folk concert that seemed to have attracted every aging hippie in Canada.
Stops in Seattle, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Philadelphia, New York City, Columbus, Kentucky, rural Tennessee, and "boating in Maine" followed.
I emailed Mr. Bardack via Facebook to ask whether he was collecting unemployment benefits while boating in Maine and attending a folk concert and hiking in Canada. I'll update this post if I hear back from him. The article doesn't say.
This post isn't intended as a personal criticism of Mr. Bardack, who writes that his job loss was "emotionally devastating," and whose article overall makes him seem like a thoughtful and fine fellow. But as a public policy matter, when states are assessing businesses and the federal government is taxing citizens to prop up underfunded unemployment insurance funds, and there's a constant battle over whether to extend benefits for additional weeks, it may be worth keeping in mind that while certainly not every unemployed American is on a "trip of a lifetime" that includes "boating in Maine" and a folk concert in Canada, at least one of them was.