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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.

By Doug Feaver  |  December 22, 2009; 6:43 AM ET
 | Tags: Economy Watch, Obama, Unemployment Compensation  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Readers cheer, decry Senate health care action
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Posted by: huangzhixian175 | December 22, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm rather looking forward to the day when all of the jobless, homeless, hungry people in the USA band together and start taking what they need by force from the fortunate few. It's called a revolution.

Posted by: Deufox63 | December 22, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Time to stop blaming "other guy" for the current mess because we all had a part.

Jobs will be created in this country when people stop buying imported merchandise. Jobs will be created when people realize it is better to consume less and pay more to support jobs at home. The change to domestically produced products will occur when people leave mounds of merchandize at the checkout and DEMAND more products be produced domestically.

If you are mad at the banks, stop using credit or debit cards because banks make 1-2% off every transaction whether the consumer pays the balance every month. Get your act together and change your behavior to to avoid all bank fees.

Keep a the smalllest amount of money in your saving or checking accounts at the banks because they don't pay any interest. Move to a credit union or operate on a cash basis.

The Obaman administartion is not the problem.

Bush/Cheney administartion did a good job of making sure govt agenies were not allowed to do their jobs and the Republicans in congress are doing everything they can to obstruct the appointment of staff wanting to do the work.

In summary, if you want to identify the source of te problem --look in a mirror. The solution will not be pain free.

Posted by: slenzen | December 22, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Sure, everyone has their fingers dip in this mess. However, the majority of blame on the SEC & the Fed. They get pay for planning and prevention to avoid this kind of financial mess in the first place and NOT occur after. If there is no need for foresight then many are qualify for the Fed and SEC chairman. Pleezze, Why select Fed Chairman a Time (LOSER) Person of the 2009. Fire is a*s!.

Posted by: drkly | December 22, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Surely, there is enough blame to go around, but how about some for those doing the blaming; the consumers who spent themselves into unsustainable debt, those who bought those overpriced homes at bogus rates, those who continued to clamor for more tax cuts in the face of massive increases in entitlement programs. In other words, all of us.

Time to pay up and it ain't going to be pretty. Stop blaming someone else for our own excesses and lack of discipline.

Posted by: bobfbell | December 22, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Of course people are frustrated and scared. But a lot of this could've been prevented if congress had put the public first and just wrote US a check instead of bailing out the ungrateful banking/investment industry.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | December 22, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

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