Millions of Americans Could Lose Unemployment Benefits

According to official statistics, nearly 15 million Americans are unemployed. Between 2 and 4 million of them are expected to exhaust their state unemployment insurance benefits between now and May. Historically, during times of high unemployment, Congress provides extra cash to extend the benefits. Congress has never failed to do so when unemployment is above 7.2%. Today’s unemployment rate is above 9% and the lame duck session of Congress has so far failed to extend the benefits.

Congress has until November 30 to renew two federal programs to extend unemployment benefits, as David Moberg reports for Working In These Times. Last week, a bill to extend benefits for an additional three months failed to garner the two-thirds majority it needed to pass in the House. The House will probably take up the issue again this session, possibly for a one-year extension, but as Moberg notes, it’s unclear how the bill will fare in the Senate. The implications are dire, as Moberg notes:

The result? Not just huge personal and familial hardships that scars the lives of young and old both economically and psychologically for years to come.  But failure to renew extended benefits would also slow the recovery, raise unemployment, and deepen the fiscal crises of state and federal governments.

But wait! There’s more:

  • The Paycheck Fairness Act died in the Senate last week, as Denise DiStephan reports in The Nation. The bill would have updated the 1963 Equal Pay Act to close loopholes and protect employees against employer retaliation for discussing wages. All Republican senators and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson voted not to bring the bill to the floor, killing the legislation for this session of Congress. The House already passed its version of the bill in 2009 and President Barack Obama had pledged to sign it.
  • Economist Dean Baker talks with Laura Flanders of GritTV about quantitative easing (a.k.a. the Fed printing more money) and the draft proposal from the co-chairs of the deficit commission. Baker argues that we’re facing an unemployment crisis, not a deficit crisis.
  • Charles Ferguson’s documentary “Inside Job” is a must-see, according to Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive. An examination of how Wall Street devastated the U.S. economy, the film details the reckless speculation in housing derivatives, enabled by crooked credit rating schemes, that brought the entire financial system to the brink of collapse. The film is narrated by Brad Pitt and features appearances by former Governor and anti-Wall Street corruption crusader Eliot Spitzer, financier George Soros, and Prof. Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the collapse of the housing bubble.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. 

Photo credit: Bild Bundesarchiv

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger


Judith S.
Judith S7 years ago

Paul, I am not familiar with what a "truther" is. Maybe you can fill me in. I ceratinly am not brainwashed. No one tells me what to think. I make my own deductions, thank you.

Paul B.
7 years ago

Republicans are not against extending benefits, but why can't the Dems compromise and find the money by cutting some other program I am sure is NOT as worthy of government funding as this program. Our money supply is NOT infinite, at some point we have to prioritize what we spend our money on, like any household. To the Dems, it seems there are no government programs that are wasteful, or are less important than unemployment benefits. I am willing to bet there are many unemployed who would differ with that analysis of current government spending. After all the stimulus bills, you would think that, and according to Queen Pelosi, "unemployment is an economic stimulus", we should have kept some of that money to be used specifically for that purpose. They knew we would be suffering for an extended period of time. They should have saved some for that eventuality rather than using it pay off all their political debts.

Paul B.
7 years ago

Judith, you just described the game plan of the progressive liberals. since youare also a truther, that pretty much tells me exactly how brainwashed you are by the left.

Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga7 years ago

Being independently wealthy and not having to work because i exploit others who work for me is good.
I pay no taxes, in fact my corporations get state and federal handouts that make the national unemployment bill look like chickenfeed.
America is a wonderful country, i get the best society has to offer because of my inherited privileged status as an 'owner',
i got the best education money can buy tho not the highest in academic achievement... in fact peobably wouldn't have graduated (not that that would matter, who needs their stupid bit of paper when i can buy expertise) if the family trust hadn't made a generous endowment to the institution.
As to all the peasants who weren't lucky enough to be born into my position, well, their parents should have been more responsible and refrained from sex or marraige, now we'll have to send their spawn to some manufactured resource stealing war to cull the herd....
Yes, the american mentality... Satan would be proud!

Ellen G.
.7 years ago

Your right Bruce I should put those damn bon bons down when I am posting my resumes to every job out there. UGH!

Bruce Mowbray
Bruce Mowbray7 years ago

Time to bring back the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) The infrastructure of this country is falling apart and there are plenty of people who need work. Oh wait. That means the comfortably unemployed would have to work. Too many people I know have made unemployment a career. They enjoy sitting at home and getting paid. Most of them have given up looking for work or they are not willing to take a job for less than they were making. Come on. Get off your butts and start working-no matter what the job. Stop being so proud and be happy to be working.

Judith S.
Judith S7 years ago

And what makes you think I am a loser? Because I have honesty and integrity? Because I choose to work for what I have? I don't think that makes me a loser at all. I think I would be a loser if I sold out.

Jeffrey W.
Jeffrey W7 years ago

"As for Jeffrey, he admitted in another post that what he does for a living is sucker people into investing their money. He does not really "work" either. Somehow, though, he looks down on people who are not "smart" enough to make a living off of other people's misery."

That is blatant libel.

My clients are wealthy and sophisticated, and a great deal more intelligent than you and the other losers here. It would be impossible to sucker them. They hire me because I make money for them.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons7 years ago

thanks for electing all the repuglicans here is your reward no more unemployment no more health care and basically you are so screwed. Can I say that on here?

beverly gannon
beverly gannon7 years ago

noted and read