State unemployment benefits funds face crisis
In case anyone doubts that it's all about the economy, stupid, one need only sample comments from our readers as they contemplate the news that unemployment compensation funds are disappearing so fast from state accounts that the feds think 40 state programs will go broke within two years and will have to borrow $90 billion to keep issuing benefit checks.
Readers are angry at everybody. They blame President Obama and Congress for not doing enough about job creation. They blame health-care reform. They blame the cost of war. They blame Wall Street and bank and insurance bailouts. They blame both high taxes and low taxes. They blame companies for sending jobs overseas. They blame illegal immigrants. They blame the billionaires.
As Peter Whoriskey writes, "Currently, 25 states have run out of unemployment money and have borrowed $24 billion from the federal government to cover the gaps. By 2011, according to Department of Labor estimates, 40 state funds will have been emptied by the jobless tsunami."
We'll start with mibrooks27, whose post summarized the main points readers made in writing, "Dear Voter - Sorry, there is no money for unemployment or any sort of safety net. We gave it all to Wall Street banks and the insurance companies. You might not be able to eat, your children live in a tent, but by god we'll force them to buy some over priced health insurance and see to it that they pay whatever price American pharmaceutical giants want to charge for likely poison Indian made drugs. Hope you understand."
amazd said, "you'd think, knowing this, that the Obama administration would make job creation a priority."
To which FredKnowsBest replied, "Congress is too busy messing with a heathcare bill that 57% of the people don't want. They don't seem to be too worried about how the little people are doing."
davidnelsonau asked, "The scandalously unethical and incompetent banks get more aid than the unemployed ?"
dummy4peace suggested that "Adding the public option [to health-care reform] will free small businesses a big burden to have to provide health care benefits to their employees. It will then leave room for hiring more workers... Let the consumers choose the health insurance plan, not their employer. It has proven that it's much more wasteful when each side thinks the other side is paying for it."
gsms69 wrote, "Ususally a recovery from a recession comes from the states, through incentives to bring in new businesses, tax incentives to start them,etc. So this report does not bode well for a rebound any time soon. A recovery will be gradual.
Under this admin., the states will continue to be saddled with more and more unfunded mandates..."
kevten said, "Recently there was a list of the ten top billionaires in the US: Gates, Buffet, Larry Ellison (Oracle), the Walton family (Walmart), Michael Dell, and maybe one more... If they aren't creating small businesses, the "engines of jobs creation," then they need to be taxed at confiscatory rates. If they've sent jobs offshore, then they need to provide for the American workers they've left behind. They wouldn't be where they are today without American workers..."
BlueTwo1 wrote, "It is incongruous that banking executives are taking home lavish bonus money as a reward for crashing the U.S. economy and inveigling the U.S. government to bail them out. Meanwhile, states are trying to make do as the recession continues with limited funds that employers pay into what is laughingly called unemployment insurance. How about a generous dollop of cash from top banking employees?"
scon101 asked, "What will it take to wake up both parties to the fact that average Joe American citizen is sick of your nonsense?... We understand that we must pay taxes to do our part for the social compact called America. But we expect those taxes to be used to build America... I hope both parties realize that every step down this road is starting brush fires that sit next to the fuse that is revolution?"
jewishmother wrote, "$90 billion is roughly what we have spent every nine months in Iraq with nothing at all to show for it. We have been in Iraq for 7 years... God forbid we would spend that kind of money on improving the lives of our people!"
jmlf said, "Bottom line here is that the more unemployed we have in each state, the less taxes to be collected. If I don't have any income, how can I pay income tax? Apparently those in state and federal government have not yet figured this out. So, go ahead government, keep allowing profitable companies to lay off people and ship their jobs overseas. Sounds like we are cutting our own throats."
Realist20 replied that "The reason jobs are going overseas are Federal and State over-regulation and taxing. Cut those and the businesses stay - don't cut and they leave. The only morons that doen't understand this are the Democrats... Reduce business and income taxes or lose business/jobs and perish - simple as that. Only an idiot would suggest raising taxes in the middle of a recession, and pelosi, Reid and Obama are suggesting just that!"
swatkins1 wrote, "I thought Obama said the recession is over? And is this what repubicans think is the right thing to do? Cut taxes for programs so drastically that there is nothing left but anarchy and horrible struggle to survive?"
nana1ellen said, "Of COURSE they will lower or cut the benefits. The very IDEA of increasing taxes for this on the very businesses who LAID OFF we workers in the first place is out of the question - we can't have that now , can we? They win, we lose, whether it is losing the job or losing the UE benefit. All becuase business gets away with MURDER! And the illegals continue to drain the economy while all this is going on..."
wewinyoulose wrote, "If you think States are broke now, wait until Obama drops the Obamacare, and Cap and Trade atomic bombs on them. This guy needs to squeeze in and Econ 101 class between his cigarette breaks, and basketball games.."
But Tukla said, "Obama is the guy who has to clean up the mess with a crew that has too many pretending nothing is wrong because they don't want anything to change anything. It's unfortunate he has decided to slip into the same mindset instead of listening to the reality-based members of his crew who have been warning of this disaster for years."
We'll close with beebop1, who wrote, "Let them eat healthcare reform!"
All comments on this article are here.
December 22, 2009; 6:43 AM ET
| Tags: Economy Watch, Obama, Unemployment Compensation
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