Screwing the unemployed

It’s because of funding time bombs like this that Obama’s self-created crisis may end up screwing the long-term unemployed. That’s what happens when you give into Republican extortionists, and the fatal mistake is assuming they’re going to negotiate good faith. Obama should have taken Clinton’s advice, asserted executive power under the Constitution and told them all to kiss his ass. But of course he didn’t:

More than 40% of the nearly five million Americans who receive unemployment insurance are set to lose those benefits if federal programs expire as scheduled at year-end.

Some economists worry that cutting off those benefits could harm the economy by leaving millions of Americans with less money to spend on everything from food to fuel. Others argue that overly generous benefits are helping to prolong joblessness.

About 2.1 million Americans receive payments through federally backed emergency unemployment programs, which Congress adopted starting in 2008 as a temporary supplement to state-level programs funded primarily with taxes on employers, which generally offer six months of benefits. That number has tumbled from more than 3.5 million at the start of the year and a peak of more than six million in early 2010, reflecting not just the gradual improvement of the job market but also new limits that have pushed hundreds of thousands of workers off the rolls before they could find jobs.

Already this year, hundreds of thousands of people have exhausted their jobless benefits. Now, virtually everyone left in the federal programs would lose their benefits if the programs expire as scheduled at year-end.

Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment benefits amid high joblessness, and it could do so again. But the programs have gotten caught up in the fight over the “fiscal cliff,” a package of tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect early next year. Some Democrats are pushing to extend benefits again, but the programs must contend not only with Republican opposition but also competing priorities such as business and individual tax breaks.

4 Responses to Screwing the unemployed

  1. jawbone November 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    I am sick unto…well, sick to my stomach…that the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) is sooooo concerned about how consumer spending might be slowed by 1) undertainty about the fake fiscal non-cliff propaganda (oh, yeah, they don’t ever call it fake), 2) possible tax increases next year, 3) you name it. Same with most pols. (Gee, Mr. Prez, maybe if you were more rational about this whole Fake Fiscal Non-Cliff you yourself set up, the public would be more rational, and might force the R’s to be more rational. But, nooooo…you love this excuse to go after SS/Medicare.)

    BUT the MCMers and pols seldom voice concern about the deep effect on our economy caused by the massive number of long term unemployed people. Why, it’s as if they don’t exist for all the effect their not purchasing things has on the economy, right?

    Now, maybe if a Pete Peterson’s money was spent on explaining why full employment is a good thing for everybody, then maybe the MCMers would follow that line. Riiiight. Wall Street would also have to be behind this big spender for that to happen.

    Grrrrrrr. Hisssss. Etc.

  2. jawbone November 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about this piece from Common Dreams by Paul Buchheit since I read it in post from 11/14 by dakinikat over at Sky Dancing. It’s thought provoking and deeply disturbing, given that our president thinks we the majority must make the sacrifices to cover for the upward redistribution of wealth to the top economic quintile, especially the tippy top Zero Dot One Percent. They’ve become insanely rich and do not want to part with a penney in taxes if they can help it. Obama seems to want to be their protector.

    But they should be paying more in taxes, and Buchheit shows why. Numbers, facts — links are embedded in subject lines and in the brief explanations below each, so click through for the links.

    This should go viral…if we feel the documentation stands up. It seems pretty solid; what think you all?

    Here are the Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged.

    1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.

    2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.

    3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.

    4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.

    5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.

    6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.

    7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.

    8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.

    9. Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.

    10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks.

    Which of these are new to you? #s 1 2,4, and 6 surprised me, in the amounts involved. Your favorites? Any arguments with any? Seems to me that if money pushed out the Fed’s back door is counted, the banksters got waaaaay more than $4 trillion. More like $13-14 trillion?

    Discuss among yourselves.

  3. jawbone November 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Oops. Left out Sky Dancing link:

  4. tsisawho November 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Where is Southpark? Can anyone tell me?

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