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Need to Know, December 2, 2011: Help wanted: Revisiting Ohio

This week's host, Scott Simon. Photo: Will O’Leary

In our latest edition of Help Wanted, coinciding with the release of the monthly jobs report, Need to Know revisits northern Ohio for an updated look at how many Americans with jobs are struggling to make ends meet because of the difficult economy. We follow up with:

- A teacher who was fired, then rehired at half-pay, and is now trying to avoid foreclosure;

- A factory worker with health problems who spent nearly a year and half without work before being rehired without benefits and for significantly less money; and

- A married couple who started their own contracting business but have little work and can’t secure loans despite a very high credit rating. The couple suffered an additional setback recently when the wife had to undergo back surgery, further depleting their savings.

Watch the individual segments:

Help wanted: Revisiting the uncounted millions

Need to Know revisits Cuyahoga County in northern Ohio for an in-depth look at Americas job crisis. Even some of those with work there are feeling extraordinarily insecure struggling to pay their bills as their pay stagnates and their hours and benefits decline.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.



  • Bikedad_99

    I just caught the end of your program on the people that were laid off in Ohio. I feel for them, because I have been laid off for the last 15 months and still waiting to find a job. I actually do have a second interview next week, so hopefully that will come through for me. Until our country gets the message that all the work is overseas and no manufacturing jobs, etc., are here anymore, we will continue to see unemployment rise and the spirits of the American people continue to fall. Our government can do what it wants by passing all these bills, etc., but until these jobs are brought back where they belong, nothing will change.

    I blame it on the CEO’s and their unwillingness to provide work for their workers because they want to put all the money that they make into their own pockets. My job went overseas, to India. I was in the printing industry for 42 years. How do you think someone feels after giving 40 years to the same company, to be told that you no longer have a job at 60 years old. I will be able to apply for social security in three months, so in that respect I am a little more fortunate than some people that are younger. But I still would like to find something to do to help provide a little more income for my family. My wife works at the same place I did and her job is not very secure. She is 62, so we do have options.

  • richard taylor

    The people you had on show tonight, wow i was so impressed with them. I´ve been around a long time, mid seventies and these folks were , so full of fight, so strong,  I wish i had a way to help them. put them all to work. I wish them all the best, Theyŕe the kind of people that make a country strong and vibrant,  I wish them all the best and will pray for them. 

  • Diane

    regarding the poll on unemployment issues, I feel Republican congress is creating stalemate on a LOT of issues, including this one;  each state needs to revisit who they’ve elected to those positions as the American people are definitely NOT being represented equitably.

  • Johnwilburn2003

    I hold the REPUBLICAN PARTY accountable for the recession and the balloning budget. President Bush and the gop leaders in congress now have spent this century so far not paying for thier progams and wars. We are just in the last three years paying for the wars in Iraq and Aftganstan. We are also paying for the largest tax cut for the top 2% and a medicare drug program. Now the gop says we can’t raise taxes on the job creators.but these are the same people who sent jobs to Mexico and China for the last 10 yrs. These are now mostly BANKERS and HEDGE FUND MANARERS who create no jobs and want nothing more than to line thier pockets with our hard earned money.

  • Sullyracer

    Republicans are a selfserving, heartless bunch of thugs who care only about their own self-interests. They preach to their base of the 1% (The Koch brothers). Eric Cantor and his buddies care only for their own self-intrests.and could care less if everyone less fortunite dies. Like the biblical traders in the temple, they need to be kicked out like the biblical traders on the mount they need to be removerd with predijuce. They prey on the uniformed electorate like the snake oil salesmen of years ago.

  • Anonymous

    I am 67 years old and so far in my lifetme I have been both a giver and receiver to and from my government and my fellow citizens.  Together with my spouse I have paid as much as $50,000 per year in federal taxes some years, paid that much or more in capital gains taxes and hunddreds of thousands in local and property tax. I have  never been out of work when I needed it.   My wife has a defined benefit pension that is a dinosaur—enough to make sure we’ll never be on the street with a tin cup.  Eighteen years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  I managed to workk until I was 62, just long enough to take early but reduced social security benefits.  I had two  knee replacements and a near fatal battle with septicemia as well as regular PD treatment and in a couple of months I will have deep brain stimulation surgery—all paid for by medicare and my wife’s retirement  health insurance benefits. I take three medications that would cost me hundreds of dollars per month  if I had no insurance for which I pay $15 per month. My son died unexpectly in 2010  and,  because he was  a veteran of the Gulf War period is buried in a national cemetery for which his family paid nothing.  His daughter receives $750 per month until she is 18.  God knows where we go from here, but it remains to be seen whether my giving will  exceed my taking or vice versa.  But  I  pay my  taxes with a smile  I don;t consider my government to be a nanny state or a devouring beast.  We must develop a  sense of  the public good.  Where we fall along the continuum of giving and taking will vary according to life’s vvagaries.  We’re all  in this thing together.  Dick McKnight  ,                             

  • den

    I really don’t understand how a congress that has just been elected can be responsible for todays economic problems.  The current administration has had full majority for the last two years and accomplished nothing. It didn’t even bother to address the problems. Where were your criticisms then?  A leader finds ways to work with the congress.  There have been other good leaders that have worked to do what is best for our country, not just their party.  I have never witnessed a president that wants to divide its people more than Obama.  We must work together to rebuild our economy not our own agendas.

  • abqblondie

    You are totally ridiculous. I am a ordinary middle class person and a Republican, Obama and his Marxist thugs are the worst thing that ever happened to this country. He has no idea how to run a country. He is a Muslim leaning arrogant socialist piece of garbage that cares nothing for America. He has squandered billions on “pie in the sky” stupid green companies and regulated businesses into oblivion. He and  his backers like that socialist millionaire George Soros have tried to totally change the culture of America and they have the backing of the media..who wouldn’t report the truth if it hit them in the face…Please God we get some sense and vote out this unqualified anti American radical bastard as soon as possible. Gingrich/West 2012..if we want our country back before it’s too late,

  • Eve

    The blame has many faces. It is a cultural mindset. The mindset of growth. It  became seriously challenged for the first time after the Great Depression at the end of the Carter years – an inflationary spiral began to take hold.  When Reagan took office he began to toss aside all precepts and regulations, economic indicators that reflected overheated economy. He set in motion all the deregulation and over leveraging of companies and household budgets. Once that started we were addicted – addicted to phenomal stock growth, rising house price, bigger and more houses & cars, etc. When that began to falter a bit in the late ’90′s both political parties, corporations  and American public were complicit in gamblling everything on continuing the rising values and largess. There wasn’t much left to wring out of the overinflated values in our economy but remove the last vestiges of regulatory controls from banks and lending institutions so their would be more money to inflate values and buy bigger things.  This started at the end of the Clinton years and really picked up steam in the Bush years. The old economic indicators of Inflation were tossed aside. With no controls left and no indicators to tells what was going on, and no Press to do the proper investigations,  fraud and endemic corruption became the business and government norm. And now the Party is over. The American Dream was fantasy that never had any bases in historical fact. We must begin to reflect on the limits of the American concepts of freedom, economic well being and growth, and a hands off governemt.
    We must begin to have a National Dialogue ” What is the place of governments?”.  How should communities be structured for sustainability and frugality. Perhaps the best example of going back to more sustainable times is the Community Garden. Thats where it all begins with the food we put on our table and roof we put over our heads and the ability to help in each other in neighborhoods.


  • Kwad

    I think it is the opposite. Congress and the Rep. don’t want to work with Obama. He inherited a mess.

  • Surfboat Dan.

    I got barred from federal court while handling a criminal case because the judge : married to a doctor;  got wise that I sued a doctor for cutting off a woman’s vagina under false pretenses.  So the Judge, like a child throwing a tantrum, found a silly excuse to bar me.  

    I’m a better inventor than I was a lawyer but even as a lawyer I’m not that bad.  I was transitioning into my manufacturing/marketing plan when the judge destroyed my career.   That I’m Hispanic and the only attorney of my type in the country makes me wonder if the judge had it in for me for other reasons as well.  I’ve had death threats and harrassments at my place of business to the point that I had to quit.  The police would show up laughing.  People from all over the country still write to me to request the items I once manufactured.      

    I hate to be this blunt but we’re running short on time:  You Anglos are providing shelter for your own worst enemies.  It’s as though I could make a flying car but since I am hispanic it would never see the light of day.  (I actually can make a practical flying car the is propellerless and non turbin propulsed)  Your selling lies to non-Anglos and creating a silent genocide by mis-education.    The Hispanic females that marry Anglos do so for survival as much as for love.  The qualified Hispanic males are too much of a threat to be allowed to succeed.  Barak has done well… as a rubber stamp.    

  • Oakfeathers

    I hope some of those who are so in favor of blaming the unemployed for being unemployed watched this. Unemployment cannot meet most peoples bills, retirement savings are eaten up with not enough time left to build up more even if you get a good job again. 
    No one thing is at blame here, but the commercialism of bigger, better, more has created a society where many tend to live above their means. This has reminded me, no matter what we have coming in, to never allow bills to be over what can be paid making only minimum wage, because no matter what schools you go to or what experience you have, or what field you have been working in, no one is safe. 
    The hard part is having no insurance when you lose the job, no way to pay for medications, you have to use up ALL of your savings to get any help, if your state will help you if you don’t have children. Most will not. If this continues there will be millions of older Americans without homes, without enough food and dying in the streets. I know as it is, I am disabled, as is my husband and yet he has to work because Social Security if taken early, is not enough to live on. they will not give you disability if you are able to work at all, so I expect one day he will die on the job, hopefully not taking anyone with him. If he goes before me, I will follow, because I cannot make it on my own, and have no children to lean on. 

  • Marikatk

    Witnessing the Republicans and the Democrats bicker over the U.S. debt is like watching two drunks argue over a bar bill on the Titanic.

  • Anonymous

    Try to watch The Shock Doctrine ………………………

  • Rinniecat

    How sad! How horrifying! You work all your life for what?

  • Fed up

    I never thought I would agree with anything said by Patrick Buchanan. But read his Labor Day 2011 article “How Capital Crushed Labor”. I think he has identified the essential dynamic. Our greedy corporate robber barons gave the American middle class away to the politicians of foreign countries, with a very minor improvement to the foreign workers. In this betrayal of American workers the real beneficiaries were the CEOs, their cronies, and their investors. The government should have set tariffs to collect revenue to offset the damage to the American people. The US auto industry was making junk in the 1980s, and needed foreign competition to force it to improve. We did not need to destroy the American auto business to punish them for their stagnation and incompetence. The reason the government would not institute a fair tariff is that they needed China and the rest of the world to keep buying up our debt. That way our politicians could keep printing money so the can pay off their cronies and get elected and give their dead-beat relatives make-work jobs. Traitors, every single one of them. From “Chainsaw” Al Dunlop, to this GE pig, to Dick Cheney, to this Obama idiot. They all should be charged with treason, tried by 12 Americans, and shot by firing squad. That will never happen, so I can assure you we will slouch into a fascist police state, with the appearance of democracy because we hold sham elections every 4 years where the elite pigs offer us up a full slate of tweedle dee and tweedle dum. If voting could make a difference it would be illegal. That Cain guy must have not been part of the club, he’s out. Same for Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, and Barney Frank. Get ready for the century of venal pigs. You deserve them.

  • Oakfeathersjs

    I just learned that another American icon is shutting down, Corning Glass. I understand they had competition for dishes but they were my choice. Then the tried fiber optic cable but a foreign company beat them in price. My husband works for largest Nuclear plant and noticed the last wire that came in is marked with metric system so they quit buying from Corning. American corporations and governments need to stop buying so much from other countries and buy more American made products. If we have to eliminate the labor unions to do so, it is better than losing jobs. I am going to be posting about this on these corporate pages. If we all did so, we might change their thinking. All this job loss may slow immigration, but its the wrong tactic.

  • Connie D.

    Re “Need to Know 12/02. Sub teachers have ALWAYS been shafted in Ohio. Districts even drop one just short of 60 days, to save costs. Regular teachers NO HELP!  Ohio teachers not covered under Soc Security, either.  If S.S. coverage earned, Feds exact penalty for other pension income.  Buckeyes only care about OSU beating Micaigan. Such great priorities! Dumb and dumber, backwards, ignorant, and seeminly, proud of it.!   Any wonder businesses bail?

  • Flhxrider

    This is the obama economy in action, in his mind a good Democrat voter should be sitting at home on welfare and food stamps totally Dependant on the government. Nothing better than sitting home for two years on unemployment, playing video games and watching T.V.

  • Anonymous

    Who are you and where have you been. There is no welfare foo!!!!!!! There hasn’t been wefare as it was know since the Clinto era. Obama didn’t cause this problem, I haven’t had a cost of living raise since the Bush era, not to mention the military.  Sometimes the best thing to do is shut th heck up. Contrary to what you have been told ignorance is not bliss. Try reading more than blogs. I am sure the elderly after working all their lives must really enjoy sitting at home on welfare, playing video games, watching t.v. and waiting for the bank to come and take all that they have. You may be next, even though now you feel so very immune. You probably are one of those people with a family member or friend one step from homelessnes, but you are too busy playing the blame game to see it. Think American, rather than Democrat or Republican. This affects everyone and it didn’t start with Obama’s election

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone remember when American Companies first began to move overseas? I do and it started long before the Obama or Bush Administration. And now here we are. Does anyone remember when Prayer was taken out of schools. I do, and it didn’t start with the Bush or Obama Administration. Does anyone remember the last time they complained to anyone they voted for, I do, last week. Yes I got the answers and the assistance I needed. When you vote these people work for you whether you voted for them or not. Nothing scares a politician like the thought of losing or not gaining a vote. Try voicing your opinions directly to sometimes, or your State Officials..

  • Flhxrider

    Hey fool, there are more people on welfare and food stamps right now than any time in our history. That is a fact. The obama economy in full swing.

  • Flhxrider

    It started a long time ago but the worst culprit was Clinton as far as the free trade agreements. That being said obama has done NOTHING AT ALL to get this economy going. Raising taxes a health care bill and entitlements are not going to create jobs. We can only pray every day we get a true leader in the next election, if not God help us all.

  • Anonymous

    As soon as Washington learns to work together, then we will see something get done.

  • Anonymous

    There are more people on food stamps, okay welfare today and they would rather not be. The people who are in need in this country today are not the people of yesterday who used the system. Yes some are. The majority are not. This is survival, and a litlle aide is much needed in the families wth children living in cars and flea bitten hotels. Homes have been lost, people who have had the same job for 25 years are out of work. PHD’S  are in the unemployment lines. People are on unemployment and barely making ends meet to feed their children. These people have never ask the government for any handouts and they would rather not have to accept them now. Are you your brothers keeper. What are you doing to help.

  • Freedog70

    @Flhxrider i see u have been conned into voting againast ur own best interest. Tell me this, what has the GOP done for the poor or middle class- EVER?

  • John

    If you think it’s not going to get better, pack up and migrate to some other nation. You just may find a whole new life.

  • Markeneret

    How soon you forget the last 3 months of Bush’s term…and all the revenue cutting and crony capitalism that led up to that crash. Like a good republican, you ignore your own parties culpability and blame the other guy. ( Then proclaim yourself a member of the party of self-responsibility !)

  • Tameekas

    dey bees better off wit welfare and stamps dey owe us