Temporary workers, contract workers have always worked with no safety net, especially no health care, or if offered it is so expensive that it is unaffordable. The unemployment numbers are inflated with these workers. No jobs = no health insurance = more unpaid visits to hospitals = higher premiums, all around.
We need comprehensive health care in this country along with livable wages, like, yesterday.
Over the past decade, U.S. businesses increasingly have relied on contract workers as a way to keep a lid on health care and retirement benefit costs and to give them more flexibility to adjust payrolls as conditions change. Now, with the American economy flashing code red, companies from Wall Street to Silicon Valley are casting off temporary workers and freelancers left and right, typically without any severance pay.
While the ability to shed contingent workers helps protect corporate profits, economists say it's a net negative for the economy. That's because while companies may save on labor costs, they aren't likely to use those savings to boost investment with the economy so weak, preferring instead to rebuild their balance sheets.
Meanwhile, the people who lose their jobs will be forced to cut spending drastically, particularly because many of them earn below-average pay and thus have little savings to fall back on. The overall result is a decrease in demand, further depressing the economy. Says Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, president of the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.: "Clearly there is a macroeconomic impact. It begs the question of what our social safety net is all about."
‘Falling through the cracks’
Consider Lauren Bender, a 47-year-old Manhattan resident who for the past eight years has worked on and off developing investment tools for Charles Schwab. That work supplied about 90 percent of Bender's income, which she says kept her "very well compensated." But starting last summer, Schwab pulled the plug on the three projects she was planning to complete, and her income from the brokerage firm has dried up.
Bender is looking for other work so she can meet her monthly mortgage payments of about $3,400 for an apartment she bought two years ago. As a self-employed contractor, Bender is not eligible for unemployment. "It's scary," she says. "I'm at risk of falling right through the cracks." Schwab confirms that it has cut contract workers as part of a broader drive to lower operating expenses by 7 percent to 8 percent this year. read more here.....