As I think you’ve figured out by now, these cuts aren’t economically sound. They’re just punitive:
[...] unemployment benefits to jobless workers for longer than the normal maximum of 26 weeks have been extended repeatedly, although the maximum duration of benefits has fallen from a peak of 99 weeks to 73 weeks. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, financed by the federal government for states that meet certain unemployment and state benefit thresholds, is scheduled to end Jan. 1.
The recent fiscal showdown in Washington make further extensions less likely. And the end of these emergency unemployment benefits could create a further drag on the economy.
The so-called food stamp cliff “may be more of a sidewalk curb,” Mr. Feroli wrote in an email. “The bigger cliff, which I’m surprised people aren’t talking about, is emergency unemployment benefits Jan. 1.” That, he estimated, could shave 0.4 percentage point off growth in the first quarter next year.