Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The unemployment canard

If your only news consumption was the traditional network news media you'd never really understand the whole unemployment benefit debate going on today.

First, let me explain how unemployment works. Employers pay into a state insurance funds and the rate varies based on the company's history.

When a worker gets laid off, they can collect up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits through that fund.

The feds have a backup fund (employers also pay into) that they can use to extend the base from 26 weeks to 39. The states are required to share in the costs of those extensions.

The feds have passed various extensions to now 73 weeks giving the unemployed 99 weeks of benefits.

Or have they?

What people don't know is that only 12 states have decided to participate in the extra benefit program.

Federal jobless payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into four tiers of emergency unemployment compensation, which last between six and 20 weeks, followed by up to five months of extended benefits. The jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

Unemployed Americans who've just exhausted their state benefits are already blocked from entering the federal system in most states. They would have had to file their initial federal claim by this past weekend.

Those already in a federal emergency benefits system will not be able to move to the next tier after this coming weekend. However, they can continue to collect the benefits available in their current level. So those who just entered a tier could continue receiving benefits for awhile, but those who are near the end of their tier will see payments dry up sooner.

Many of the jobless who are in the last stage of the federal safety net -- the up to five months of extended benefits -- will stop getting checks this month no matter when they started this level. That's because the federal government will stop fully funding this stage after Nov. 30.

Not every state offers federal extended benefits, because they were required to split the costs of the program with the federal government. Prior to last year, only 12 states provided this support, depending on their state unemployment rate.

But of course, if republicans won't pass an extension it means that they're hating on the poor working guy. Never mind, that if you happen to live in one of 38 states, your state government is hating on you too.........


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unemployment is the result of a dynamic economy. Dynamic in the sense that it is changing. In this case the change has been a shift to manufacturing overseas. People in less affluent countries are willing to take the hum drum factory jobs for less pay. There's nothing wrong with that!!! This has been a trend for 50 years. In the past we have adapted, by inventing high end skills. Some have learned those skills and are employed. Others have relied on unions to freeze the skillsets in the 1970's.

This recession has broken the notion of a thriving static economy for good. The jobs that have left this time are not coming back. What we have with extending jobless benefits forever and bailouts for failing car companies, is an admission that we can't or won't adapt to the realities of the new economy. We just keep paying people because they can't find the job that they used to have (because it's gone for good). The progressives want to revert back to the 1950's, where Americans were guaranteed a job just because they were American rank and file. So my question is, is that progressivism, or is that regressivism?