- Unless Congress passes a last-minute extension, an unemployment benefits program created in 2008 will expire for 1.3 million Americans at the end of the month.
- That number includes 12,700 South Carolinians...
- ... 80,000 Pennsylvanians...
- ... 25,000 people in Washington state...
- ... 58,000 Massachusetts residents...
- ... 90,000 New Jerseyeans...
- ... 17,8000 people in Oregon...
- ... and 43,000 Michiganders, as well as countless more of the longterm jobless in the United States.
- If nothing is extended through next year, 3.6 million more people will lost benefits at the end of 2014. The White House estimates that dropping the extension would lead to a loss of 240,000 jobs in 2014.
- What does this all mean? Well, Matt Yglesias sums up the situation by saying, "the long-term unemployed are screwed."
- The program, officially known as emergency unemployment compensation, gives recipients on average $1,166 per month, and could be used for up to 73 weeks.
- In November 2013, four out of every ten unemployed adults were without a job for over six months.
- Unemployment insurance kept approximately 446,000 children out of poverty in 2012.
- When you add the potential loss of the unemployment benefits extension with the drop infood cuts and the sequester, 2013 looks not to have done much to help our nation's poorest in the least.
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intends to try and pass the extension retroactively on January 6, but Republican opposition may be too steep for that to be successful.
- Senator Rand Paul opposes the extension, while House Speaker John Boehner is fine with keeping the program ... as long as Democrats can offset the spending with a few cuts.
- Some Democrats are threatening to hold the Farm Bill hostage if unemployment benefits aren't extended.
- We're likely way too soon in the recovery to cut off this lifeline. A scholar at the American Enterprise Institute says the longterm unemployment rate is "just much higher than what we've seen in the past when we've terminated emergency federal [unemployment insurance]. It's twice as high as in the past three recessions. So my first argument would be that long-term unemployment is just much too high right now to terminate these benefits."
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