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Two Million Unemployed Workers To Lose Benefits

Two Million Unemployed Workers To Lose Benefits

As the unemployment crisis continues on, those left jobless have had to make a living on meager unemployment insurance provided by the government. Many of these people are the long-term unemployed, who lost jobs during the initial drop and have been living on a small fraction of their previous income while trying to find a new job. If Congress, though, doesn’t act soon, two million of the long-term unemployed are going to lose their last lifeline. Lawmakers have until the end of the year, but given their penchant for not doing anything to help anyone (except bankers!), the odds aren’t looking great.

There are several reasons why unemployment insurance is necessary, especially during an extended jobs drought. Most importantly, though, with new hires stagnating and the number of unemployed people per job opening still above 4, most people who are looking for jobs are completely unable to find them. This means that the insurance is going to people who are very reasonably trying to find work, but cannot because there simply aren’t enough jobs for the unemployed. Of course, their search for jobs is worsened by discrimination against the unemployed, which is rampant in hiring practices.

Though some conservatives argue that unemployment benefits provide incentives for the unemployed to remain unemployed, this is patently absurd in the kind of recession we’re living in today. As Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said in 2010 — and is still true today — “anyone who thinks that high unemployment in the first quarter of 2010 has anything to do with workers getting excessively generous benefits must not get out much.”

This gets back to the point at hand — anyone who does get out knows that people are desperate for jobs. And if Congress continues to twiddle its thumbs, two million of those people who are actively trying to find a way to support their family will lose the last source of income they have. This means that those families that rely on unemployment insurance income will likely fall into poverty, like so many Americans have recently.

It’s time for Washington to have some compassion and stand with those who have actually had to suffer in the recession. Not just bankers who are unhappy with half-a-million dollar salaries.

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Photo from bytemark via flickr.

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6:50AM PDT on Aug 25, 2012


11:00AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

In Canada if you are collecting we call it employment insurance,you have to report to the office perodically with a list of all the places you have been looking for work in your field. If you don't have enough on the list you can be cut off.

9:52AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

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11:06AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

Two middle aged sons out of work...hope the money huggers are happy.

10:13PM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

The Republican House makes me ashamed of this country.

9:32PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Businesses now actively discriminate against people who don't have jobs now leading to a catch 22 where you can't get a job because you don't have a job.

So all of you who think it's so @#$!ing easy to get a job can go @#$! yourselves.

People are suffer and die because of ignorant pieces of #$@! that spread lies about how "easy" it is to get a job these days.

9:29PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

A message to those hating on entitlement recipients:

A business will only hire what they need to get a job done regardless of what their profits are.

Unemployment will continue to grow as the job pyramid shrinks.

People with no income cannot buy stuff because they have no money.

The economy will die because people can't buy anything.

Rich people will end up broke because their money/investments will be worthless after the economy dies.

Stop believing the lies of greedy stupid people. Giving more money to the rich will NOT solve America’s problems. It will just make things even worse.

People who are on government assistance are not losers. I don't know what kind of over privileged distorted reality you live in, but it obviously has no basis in this reality. The "losers" as you so kindly put it are made up of people whom circumstance has dealt a bad hand.

These days all it takes is one natural disaster, one accident, one hospital bill, one bounced check, one anything happening to a family struggling to get by to end up as one of the people you so heartlessly label as being a "loser."

I really hope you have the opportunity to become a victim of your own narrow mindset someday soon.

11:10AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Nancy L You should turn your friends in, they are still required to look for work. Even if jobs are scarce, you still should be looking, not looking will result in a 100% failure and give the heartless Republicans a GOOD reason to bash the poor. People who abuse the system are no better than the system itself.

9:37AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011


7:24AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

f you want to know what the early stages of an economic collapse look like, just walk around some of the downtown areas of your major cities.

Today, nearly all large U.S. cities are either flat broke or they are on the way to being flat broke. Yes, New York City and Washington D.C. (and a few others) are still doing fairly well, but for most U.S. cities economic reality is catching up with them very quickly. Right now, there are a number of major cities that are so broke that they cannot keep the street lights operating.

Down in St. Louis, parents in some areas are carrying golf clubs with them as they walk their kids to school in order to fend off roving packs of wild dogs. In other major U.S. cities, open-air drug markets conduct business without fear. All over the United States, cities that used to be clean and prosperous and full of hope are now being transformed into post-industrial wastelands. We are certainly not in "Mad Max" territory yet, but it doesn't take too much imagination to see where all of this is headed.

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