First the sob story, then towards the end of the article you get the truth. The sob story is Deborah Brown and her husband who both lost their jobs in late 2008 and are outraged that their 20 months of unemployment has run out. They swear they have been looking hard for new jobs. Ok. Suppose they have been pounding the payment for the last 20 months and have come up empty in Maine. Time to move somewhere that has jobs. Time to lower your expectations. Time to man up and do something.
What I love about these stories is how did they live before they lost their jobs. Did they save for a rainy day? Did they take really nice vacations on credit? What kind of cars do they drive? Do they have a 52 inch HDTV in the living room? Do they have cable TV? Do they have cell phones? There is so much I don’t know. I only know they want their fair share and more.
The interesting part of the article is the Federal Reserve study that says the unemployment rate would be lower if UC had not been extended. THAT IS SHOCKING!!!!!!!!!!!! You mean if you don’t pay people to not work, they find jobs? Can someone explain that to Obama and his bunch of socialist knuckleheads? The numbskulls in Congress will buckle again. They are spineless jellyfish. This is an election year. They will extend benefits for votes, just like they have done for the last century in our great Welfare State of America.Expired benefits leave job-seekers in tough bind
By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — With the loss of her unemployment insurance benefits, Deborah Brown is worried about keeping on the electricity in her double-wide mobile home.
“Right now my electric bill is about $300,” Brown said, adding that she’s three months past due on her payments to the utility company.
“I have real worries,” said the 56-year-old resident of Winterport, Maine. “I am pounding the pavement as hard as I can, and coming up empty-handed and frustrated.”
Brown and her husband both lost jobs in late 2008 — she was laid off from an executive assistant position and her husband worked at a golf resort. While the couple’s finances have been tight for some time, unemployment insurance benefits had helped to support them.
Deborah Brown, pictured here at a previous job, has been unemployed since November 2008. She can no longer claim unemployment benefits.
That support ended recently after a federal extension of jobless benefits expired. Now they survive solely on her husband’s pension. “I’m scared to death,” Brown said.
States provide up to 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for jobless workers. Federal aid in response to the weak economy has extended payouts for up to 99 weeks in the states hardest hit by unemployment.
Since that federal aid expired, more than 1 million people have lost benefits. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that 1.7 million will lose benefits by July 3, and a total of more than 3 million could lose benefits by the end of July if an extension isn’t passed.
Some states will feel the end of that federal aid harder than others. In California, more than 500,000 residents may lose benefits by the end of July, and New York, Florida and Pennsylvania each could see benefits end for more than 200,000 residents, according to rough Labor Department estimates.
About 4.92 million jobless workers received extended federal benefits in the week ended June 12, down from 5.30 million in the prior week, on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the Labor Department. All together, 9.29 million people were collecting some type of unemployment benefits in the week ended June 12, down from 9.66 million in the prior week.
In recent weeks Congress has considered several measures to renew federal extended benefits, but concern about a growing deficit has led to an impasse. While the House of Representatives voted Thursday 270 to 153 to extend benefits through November, at a cost of about $34 billion, a motion in the Senate to move forward with an extension failed on Wednesday. Now it’s expected the chamber won’t take up the legislation again until July 12 at the earliest. See related story on jobless benefits snagged in lawmakers’ spending debate.
Brown, a registered Republican, is frustrated by lawmakers.
“It’s becoming so clear to me that Congress is focused entirely on engaging in ‘blame-storming sessions’ and waging a civil war between Republicans and Democrats instead of working to resolve this critical matter that affects the lives of millions of American families,” she said. “What I’m seeing is that my party is letting me down. They are not leading, they are following like a herd of blind sheep with a ‘no’ rubber stamp.”A debate over the value of jobless benefits
It’s difficult to find a job in this tough economy. There are about five potential applicants for each job. In May there were almost 6.8 million workers, on a seasonally adjusted basis, who had been unemployed for more than half a year, according to government data. Read the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
While many economists agree that unemployment insurance benefits are a good way to prop up consumer spending, there’s disagreement over the appropriate duration and size of benefits. Also, some argue that extended benefits somewhat inflate the unemployment rate.
An April estimate from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that without extended benefits, the unemployment rate would have been lower by about four-tenths of a percentage point at the end of last year — 9.6% instead of 10%.
“Analysis of data on unemployed individuals decomposed by their reason for unemployment, which affects their eligibility for UI, suggests that extended UI benefits have had a relatively modest effect,” according to the report. Read the report.
“When you extend the duration of UI benefits, or make them more generous, people take longer to find a job,” said James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “It makes workers more selective about the types of jobs they are choosing. But for many workers the jobs they had or similar jobs are just not coming back.”
Sherk said extending benefits during tough times is a good idea, but that 99 weeks is too long. “For workers who collect two years of benefits, during the time that they are unemployed their skills are deteriorating,” Sherk said.
Others disagree. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” said Heather Boushey, senior economist at the liberal Center for American Progress.
“99 weeks is certainly a long time, but we have people out of work for a long time,” Boushey said.
For Brown, the job-seeker, losing unemployment insurance benefits makes it tougher to find a job, she said.
“To go to a job interview I need to be able to put gas in the car. And to drive my car I need to insure it,” she said. “This is a big chain of collapsed dominoes.”
Some lawmakers resist extending jobless benefits without offsetting the expense.
“If Democrats would just agree to pay for this spending, hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans would be receiving the benefits they need to help put food on the table,” said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the Committee on Ways and Means, on Thursday.
Boushey counters that the tough economy is a good reason to spend on unemployment insurance benefits, despite growing the deficit.
“The point of deficit spending for this economy is that consumers don’t have enough cash in their pocket to demand the kinds of goods and services that businesses need to ramp up production and hiring,” Boushey said. “Denying benefits can be devastating for people and families.”