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Paul Pittman

February 10, 2011


Committee on Ways and Means

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington DC

Representative Dave Camp:

  As a former veteran of the US Air Force, I have watched our freedoms continue to dwindle along with our voices.  Now, it seems that for some reason, our country appears to want to turn its back on the people who tried to work and make it a better place to live.  Additionally, it seems set on creating a future generation of potential workers that will enter the workforce with a negative desire to achieve as well as a tainted attitude toward their leaders.

After honorably separating from the Air Force in 1992, I settled in Wisconsin with the hope of creating a stable future for my family.  Things were working well: I was progressing in a management career in the transportation industry and felt confident about the future.  Confident enough to even buy a house.  In 2009, that changed as the economic woes finally caught up with the industry.  The small business I worked for could no longer afford to staff me so I was let go with the “promise” of rehiring when things turned around. 

Unfortunately, they did not turn around and so I made a decision with my family that I would return to school to try and tie up my work experiences into a more marketable package.  I took an accelerated course (at my expense) and earned my Associates degree in less than a year.  Unfortunately, the job market in the region had deteriorated to the point that it was now saturated with so many in my same situation; to the point that an Associate’s Degree was not really a viable tool any longer.  So I continued on and began working on my Bachelor’s degree in late 2010, still without a job.

On January 22, 2011 I was notified that my Unemployment benefits had been exhausted.  After finally getting through to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, I learned that I could apply for a provision as a student.  On February 5th, I was denied this because I was enrolled in a school that offered a bachelor’s degree [WI 108.04(16)(a)1.d. The course does not grant substantial credit leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree;].  

So without an income, any hope of trying to redo our housing loan is gone so it will continue in foreclosure.  Because of the wording of this law, there is no hope of trying to appeal the decision, even though I have: All because I am trying to better myself in a way to get a job.  My daughters ask me if we are going to lose our house: I cannot answer them because they are in a school that is working well for them.  My wife is concerned that my depression may be getting worse; although I do not know why it would.  They tell us that unemployment is dropping.  Could this be because so many like me are no longer on the unemployment role because we have been forgotten about or overlooked?  Please allow me to tell those of you who have never had to deal with losing a job that we who supported you in your elections for change do still in fact exist!  We are told that the economy is rebounding.  Until I am back on my feet and able to provide for my family; I do not believe it!

You are now looking at an emergency extension of benefits for those of us that time has seemingly forgotten about.  What I am asking you to do is look back a bit when the United States government bailed out the banks and the auto makers.  They did so readily and without question.  So now, why is the possibility of bailing out the actual Americans that have worked to make things better for their entire lives such a hard decision?  Does America and its government want to invest in their own people or should they be swept away like yesterday’s garbage?  So far, that is the way it appears to us who have been forgotten about.

Thank you for your consideration and time,

Paul Pittman

One of the newest “99ers”