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Unemployment may be at 9.7%, but the Senate is moving on

Or, at the least, they care about the deficit more. By a vote of 52 to 45, the Senate rejected a jobs package that would've extended unemployment insurance, offered some tax breaks to individuals and businesses, kept doctors in the Medicare program and more. "$77 billion or more of this is not paid for," said Sen. Ben Nelson, "and that translates into deficit spending and adding to the debt, and the American people are right: We've got to stop doing that."

No, sir, they're wrong, and we don't. It's hard to say this loudly enough, but it really doesn't make sense to offset stimulus spending, at least in the short term. The point of the money is to get the economy moving faster, to give people cash to spend. This isn't like health-care reform, where you're purchasing something and you should pay for it. When you're trying to expand the economy, you need to use debt to put more money into it than would otherwise be there. If you're just moving a dollar from one purpose to another, you may be using that dollar better, but you're not expanding the total amount of demand in the economy by very much. You're just moving it around. It would be like bailing water from a boat, but throwing it into another part of the boat.

There'll come a time when we need to start reducing the deficit. If we can get the economy back into gear, that time might even be soon. But for now, increasing the size of the deficit isn't some nasty side effect of stimulus spending. It is, quite literally, the point of the enterprise.

But Nelson isn't the only one throwing up some odd rationalizations for his vote. Other politicians, as Arthur Delaney explains, have decided that unemployment insurance is just "too much of an allure" for people. It keeps them from going back to work. In theory, you could imagine unemployment benefits so lavish such that that would happen. But in America, benefits are 36 percent of the worker's average previous wage. Imagine living on one-third of your income. That sound "alluring" to you?

Unemployment is at 9.7 percent right now. It's extraordinarily high. And it's extraordinarily high because not enough jobs are being created to absorb all the workers who got laid off during the recession. Killing their unemployment benefits wouldn't magically make more jobs appear. It would just make those people poorer, and because they'd be poorer, they'd have less to spend, and because unemployment is geographically concentrated, that would mean the economy in areas with lots of unemployed workers would tank further and thus it would take longer for it to create jobs.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 16, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Next: Reconciliation

Comments

And the Dems will be shocked -- SHOCKED -- when voters express their disgust and hatred in November.

Posted by: AZProgressive | June 16, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"The point of the money is to get the economy moving faster, to give people cash to spend."


Actually the point is to make sure they can get jobs. Sure the public sector can do that to a point but at some point you need to stimulate private enterprise. The Dems walk a very fine line (and many times stomp all over it) with how they treat corporations. Sure corporations are greedy scumbags, blah blah blah but you can't complain about unemployment and companies not hiring when companies are afraid because of regulation to hire anyone.

I'm not saying government has to NOT regulate but the way that this one does it is very anti-business and if that's the case then what's the incentive to innovate? Why should a businessman go out on a limb if they're fairly certain if that limb's going to be cut out from underneath them. I'm sure there's a cute little Tom Toles cartoon there somewhere that could relate to this. Oh wait, maybe there's not.

Posted by: visionbrkr | June 16, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama keeps saying inaction is unacceptable. He'll say it for 4 years.

Posted by: VMzJxah | June 16, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The public views unemployment as a much bigger problem than the deficit.

Not paying doctors will lead to Medicare problems, which the Republicans will blame on the healthcare bill. Great politics.

Nelson voted for the Bush tax cuts, which are responsible for over $1 trillion of deficits.

Posted by: fuse | June 16, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

@fuse: Nelson voted for the Bush tax cuts, which are responsible for over $1 trillion of deficits.

Actually its closer to 2 trillion including interest on the borrowed money for tax cuts, but point taken...

Posted by: srw3 | June 16, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Hooboy, welcome to the nuclear-armed banana republic.

Again, this traces back to Obama's primal mistake: not pushing for real Keynesian stimulus when he had the political capital to do so, instead bartering away billions in state and local support for Susan Collins's high-income tax cuts. Better to create the worst of both worlds rather than heed the counsel of such DFHs as Krugman or even his own Romer.

In fact, Obama's never really bothered to explain the purpose of Keynesian economics to the American people, who for the most part can't even name one Supreme Court Justice. He could have done a series of 21st-century "fireside chats" or *something* -- too late now. Epic fail.

Posted by: scarlota | June 16, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Mr Klein, we are well aware of the fact that the Republican Party voted against this .
I think most readers would be very interested in the names of the Democrate who turned their backs on the American people who need help.

Posted by: jefferson63 | June 16, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=2&vote=00190#position

The vote count - who voted for what.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 16, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Again, this traces back to Obama's primal mistake: not pushing for real Keynesian stimulus when he had the political capital to do so, instead bartering away billions in state and local support for Susan Collins's high-income tax cuts.

How true. His initial proposal was already too small and then it was cut and couldn't actually get the economy going up, only stop it from going down more. Hence it looked like a failure when is was just inadequate to the task...Isn't 9.7% unemployment a crisis anymore in DC? It is certainly a crisis for the unemployed...

Posted by: srw3 | June 16, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I for one can't wait to see the offsets when we extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class later this year. We'd better pay for this stuff or else the deficit will increase.

Posted by: windshouter | June 16, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

One despairs as Congressional democrats proudly display their economic illiteracy. They fail to understand the difference between deficit and debt and the simple fact that one can (and should) allow more deficit in a time of economic recovery without adding to the long-term debt by offsetting with other spending (or, gasp, taxes) later in the economic cycle. My understanding is that this could be done in reconciliation so long as the 5-year deficit is reduced by $1B. You can freeze domestic spending in years 3-5 to offset increased spending this year and provide for moving forward items paid for in the 5-year transportation budget.
I also agree that this is a failure on the part of Obama. In fact, it is what keeps him at a B grade to me. I dont think that politically he could have gotten more than he did in the original stimulus. But once it was passed, he should have put a lot of effort into explaining the importance of deficit spending by the government in recovery from a recession and he should have proposed a FY2011 budget with additional stimulus offset by his proposed freeze.

Posted by: gregspolitics | June 16, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Some people have trouble grasping this concept, so I'll type slowly: unemployment benefits aren't just about alleviating pain -- they're also about stimulating the economy. The unemployed spend all of that money, get it? That shores up local BUSINESSES. (Yes, Republicans; it helps BUSINESS interests, hooray!)

By stabbing the unemployed in the back, these traitor Dems are kicking the economy down the stairs. Demand is going to drop and we may double dip. Then all of this facetious gum-flapping about the deficit will all be for nothing because tax receipts will plunge. We're headed for a deflationary spiral.

10% unemployment is nothing to mess around with, but we are going to allow our fellow Americans to drown in the name of "fiscal responsibility." In reality nothing could be more irresponsible! And no matter what the ignorant public says now, come November they will be far more angry about unemployment than about the debt, which can always be addressed later.

Posted by: boringmike | June 16, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Some people have trouble grasping this concept, so I'll type slowly: unemployment benefits aren't just about alleviating pain -- they're also about stimulating the economy. The unemployed spend all of that money, get it? That shores up local BUSINESSES. (Yes, Republicans; it helps BUSINESS interests, hooray!)

By stabbing the unemployed in the back, these traitor Dems are kicking the economy down the stairs. Demand is going to drop and we may double dip. Then all of this facetious gum-flapping about the deficit will all be for nothing because tax receipts will plunge. We're headed for a deflationary spiral.

10% unemployment is nothing to mess around with, but we are going to allow our fellow Americans to drown in the name of "fiscal responsibility." In reality nothing could be more irresponsible! And no matter what the ignorant public says now, come November they will be far more angry about unemployment than about the debt, which can always be addressed later.

Posted by: boringmike | June 16, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

All of the Keynesians- how long would you continue "stimulating" the economy before you give up?

Why not cut the value of unemployment benefits, instead of cutting them off? I know a couple of people that are coasted on the benefits, in no rush to find a job. If the benefits declined over time, it would be easier to adjust. In any case, we need to make it easier for people to adjust to lower paying jobs.

The more egregious part of this bill is the "doc fix". Here we have an advocate of lower health costs refusing to cut costs. With all of the extra people coming into the health care system, we need to force lower prices. Few people seem to understand how successful HSAs have been, but it would seem obvious that directly cutting reimbursements will work. We're all paying for these doctors, we don't need to be paying for the overpriced ones. We aren't quite so rich as we thought we were, that's why my friends and I eat at Denny's instead of Morton's.

Posted by: staticvars | June 16, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps on a short-term basis this represents a smart political calculation -- although even on that score its not entirely clear to me that this is the case.

On a policy level, it's without question that this represents a monumental level of stupidity on the part of 52 Senators.

Posted by: JPRS | June 16, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"All of the Keynesians- how long would you continue "stimulating" the economy before you give up?"

Ezra had a pretty decent benchmark on this point by Bruce Bartlett today -- "once interest rates on the debt start increasing" (e.g. by more than a half a percentage point).

In the case of Sweden, it took about three years with public debt-to-GDP reaching near 80 percent. Within 5 years -- 1998 -- the Swedes were able to off-load over 20 percent of the debt based on the robust level of growth post recession.

It's a fair question to ask whether there are better ways of stimulating economic growth than via unemployment benefits, but fundamentally, the government should be engaging in much more robust stimulus at this point.

In terms of near-term benefit unemployment funds are a quick form of stimulus that circulates through the economy rapidly. Unlike some tax cuts where 15 percent flows through the economy and the other 85 goes toward paying off debt or sits in a savings account; unemployment funds will be spent, not saved.

A more robust investment in infrastructure would likely provide a stronger long-term return on investment -- the only problem is that it takes time to roll out those projects.

Providing aid to the states should be an absolute no-brainer at this point.

It's frustrating to watch the Congress get tripped up at an even more fundamental level about whether we should be engaging in deficit reduction right now.

As far as what it will take, if you have the GOP and guys like Nelson running the show, we could be in a situation where 10 to 15 years from now we're still wondering what it will take to fix the problem.

With robust stimulus RIGHT NOW on order of the 2009 ARRA you could probably start seeing a private sector generated recovery within two years. Absent it, we're probably going back for a double-dip within 8 months.

Posted by: JPRS | June 16, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

--"Unemployment is at 9.7 percent right now. It's extraordinarily high."--

10% is about the norm in the socialist welfare states of Europe, though of course, that's only when the U.S. economy is strong.

I think people are finding their niches in the coming super-welfare state of America.

What we need to really cement the misery into place is more regulation and, of course, the courage for a more socially judicial redistribution of that ever shrinking pie.

Vote! Vote! Vote!

Posted by: msoja | June 17, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

msoja: "What we need to really cement the misery into place is more regulation"

Yup, it was that darn regulation that caused the crisis that has led to today's misery, and all those crises that we had after the regulatory reforms of the Great Depression! Oh, wait a minute....

Posted by: dasimon | June 17, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

--"Yup, it was that darn regulation that caused the crisis that has led to today's misery, and all those crises that we had after the regulatory reforms of the Great Depression! Oh, wait a minute...."--

Can you tell me how many regulators a two trillion dollar a year government can't buy?

Posted by: msoja | June 17, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Health care (transformation) is one of the best issues this current administration has done thus far. With this change individuals will have the opportunity to seek professional and quality health care services. Who would want to return to the days of the horse and buggy, b/w tv sets, manual typewriters, pac man, you get the point? That's about how old the health care system was in the USA. Each day the news is filled with social tragedies in which lives are taken at the hands of known acquaintences and/or family members. Our society is stricken with the institutions of white collar crime permeating throughout this great nation and greed which tends to strike at the very fabric of our country. If you are looking for affordable health insurance check out http://bit.ly/9sfoMb . I hope everyone will soon recognize and use the resources made by this transformation to seek professional medical attention as the need arises rather than turning to illegal and criminal activities to resolve their issues.

Posted by: omarionjo | June 17, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Where did all this unemployment money go. People, I know have been paying into this fund for many years and never once collected and with the unemployment rate being so low and everyone working in the past when jobs were plentiful, there should be a surplus. For them to deny extensions for people who have paid into this fund is not right. Their logic is way, way off. This is not a gift from them. This is the worker's money. They are so confused as to what is paid for by the people and what is not and that is bothersome to me. Unemployment in no way should add to the debt if this money was managed correctly. Also there are jobs out there but the ratio is 1 job to 20 people or more. The real world is speaking now.

Posted by: moneybags | June 17, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Alot of people that are affected here are not 99 weekers. My husband lost his job of 16 yrs. on Dec. 4, 2009. His 26 weeks ran out this week, three weeks after the last tier extension. So no more benefits until the Senate acts. Not lots of work out there for a 56 yr old laborer. My job of 20 yrs ends June 26th. So we will bascially be living on zero money in a couple weeks until my much smaller unemployment kicks in. Three kids under 18. We are not deadbeats, we have always worked our entire lives and we need help now. For the Senate, especially the bluedogs, to screw around like this is beyond the pale. Shame on them all.

Posted by: soupcity | June 17, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

We cannot continue to fund permanent unemployment, union benefits, entitlements and the massive expansion of government.

We need to be cutting the size of government, cutting entitlements, increasing the retirement age and making fiscally prudent decisions.

We cannot fund unemployment forever. The actions by Obama have been to kill jobs. Keeping his boot heel on the throat of the economy has not been working well.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | June 17, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

It's extraordinary that the Senators thought it safe enough to walk away from a bill like this considering the number of people out of work. It's time to bring on Poor People's Marches and other forms of activism so that doing this again becomes way more painful politically-speaking.

Posted by: leoklein | June 17, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

“But in America, benefits are 36 percent of the worker's average previous wage. Imagine living on one-third of your income. That sound "alluring" to you?
Unemployment is at 9.7 percent right now. It's extraordinarily high. And it's extraordinarily high because not enough jobs are being created to absorb all the workers who got laid off during the recession.”

Lot of issues here. First, “Alluring” is a relative term. Is living off 36% of your former income alluring when you can get a job matching your old income across the street? Heck no. But matching your former income is unlikely. How does 36% look vs. taking a 25% pay cut? Versus taking a 25% pay cut, and moving across country away from friends and family? What if you have negative equity? Versus trying to wait it out, bleeding off your IRA? What if it’s a 40% pay cut? If it’s a 60% pay cut, across country?

Second, unemployment is at 9.7% because we are allowing 99 weeks of unemployment. Even at the nadir of the 1982 recession, the highest ratio of long term unemployed to short term was about 0.78 (the all-time pre-99 week benefit availability high). It’s now around 2.5, and rising, representing about a five million person excess of long termers relative to any historical precedent. Making reasonable assumptions, the historically comparable unemployment numbers peaked around 9% late last Summer, and is around 7.5% now and falling rapidly. That’s still awful, and definitely not time to tighten on spending. But that brings up…

Third, the post conflates opposition to eternal unemployment benefits with opposition to counter-cyclical spending, which are very different issues. States are laying off tens of thousands of teachers right now.

I feel awful for those people who need to move cross country to have a chance at a getting a job, but who put their life savings into a house which now has tens of thousands of dollars in negative equity. But while there are many policies which could benefit these people, extending unemployment benefits isn’t one of them.

Posted by: eggnogfool | June 17, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

--"Yup, it was that darn regulation that caused the crisis that has led to today's misery, and all those crises that we had after the regulatory reforms of the Great Depression! Oh, wait a minute...."--

Can you tell me how many regulators a two trillion dollar a year government can't buy?

Posted by: msoja

//////////////////////////

Total administrative overhead is probably closer to $30 billion for all government regulatory agencies if you're just talking about personnel involved in oversight and the costs of operating those agencies.

The Waltons net worth -- 5 individuals -- is greater than that amount alone.

This is provided that you don't class weapons system or military operations or Medicare-Medicaid/Social Security disbursements, or debt servicing as a form of government "regulation".

I suspect most people with a clear understanding of the English language would classify those expenditures under a different category than "regulation".

Posted by: JPRS | June 17, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Little in the various democrat proposed stimulus bills have anything to do with stimulating the economy. Unemployment insurance, medicare benefits, etc. have nothing to do with creating jobs. They actually make the situation worse because they erode peoples motivation to go out and find work. All they dem's care about is maintaining the status qou a little bit longer to get elected again. They're a truly pathetic bunch. The proof is in the results. Hundreds and hundreds of billions spent thus far on "stimulus" and the private sector job growth is completely stagnant.

Posted by: peterg73 | June 17, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

We cannot fund unemployment forever. The actions by Obama have been to kill jobs. Keeping his boot heel on the throat of the economy has not been working well.

Posted by: Bubbette1

/////////////////////////////////

No one is suggesting funding unemployment "forever".

As far as unemployment benefits killing jobs, I suspect it's probably the other way around.

Those receiving unemployment spend money in the economy just like everyone else. If you withdraw a few billion from the economy under the current conditions, that's a few billion that isn't being spent at grocery stores, or covering rent, or utility bills, or other expenditures.

The more people lose jobs in this kind of recession, the more people lose jobs. It's a vicious downward spiral -- especially without federal support.

Remember: Herbert Hoover tried to balance the budget in 1930 through the end of his term in 1932. In the span of just three years the unemployment rate went from 3.8 percent to almost 25 percent. The entire economy decreased by one-third in size. Combine the current wealth of South America, China, and Canada and that's the size of your new and improved, fiscally austere U.S. economy.

Posted by: JPRS | June 17, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

peterg73,

Don't forget aid to state governments which includes funding for teachers, law enforcement, and other public servants.

When people lose jobs other people lose jobs.

That's the kind of recession that we're in. People are losing jobs faster than the economy can create them.

Money spent via unemployment is money that circulates in the economy and preserves other people's jobs. It's the most direct form of stimulus.

As far as removing motivation goes, perhaps. Although we're still in a situation where there are at least 5 applicants for every job opening. Assuming that everyone on unemployment just sits on the sidelines (doubtful) perhaps you would then have 7 or 8 applicants for every job opening.

How does increasing the number of job applicants increase the number of jobs? Please explain.

Posted by: JPRS | June 17, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Helloooo out there but wasn't everyone who is getting unemployment formerly employed. This stupid rationale about people are enjoying sitting around and collecting benefits is completely absurd. I hope or I wish they become unemployed so they can get a taste of their dumb assessment. Most people are very upset when they receive the pink slip. Maybe you people who are condemning unemployed people were born with silver spoons.

Posted by: moneybags | June 17, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to break the news to you but I know for a fact that there are a whole bunch of people that are collecting unemployment and have no interest in getting back in the job market as long as they can still make their bills. I'm talking about well paid professionals too, not Walmart employees. Some of them are even taking unemployment and working in a part time consulting capacity for cash. They're living it up. I don't know any trailer trash, but when it comes to screwing the system those people are experts. They're probably getting fired on purpose. I was laid off in the last recession and know all about how bad it sucks. I busted my butt to get another job, but this time things are different. Maybe the bank bailout poisoned everybodies psyche or something. Believe me when I say that people today are more interested in getting a handout than a job. If we don't slap people back into reality we're never getting out of this rut.

Posted by: peterg73 | June 17, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

peterg73,

The 2001 recession is a lower, lower case "r" recession compared to this one (e.g. less than a year in duration; unemployment topping out at 6.4 percent -- long-term unemployed no comparison). If that's your frame of reference you have no clue.

On a policy level, the number of job applicants doesn't increase the number of jobs. Effectively that is one prong of your argument, and it's exceedingly dumb.

The second prong of your argument is hypocritical in the extreme. Just because you lived it up in 2001 and benefited from nice support networks -- it doesn't mean that the majority of people impacted by this recession are able to enjoy their period of unemployment in the same way.

Posted by: JPRS | June 17, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

@Bubbette1:

How is it that people who are employed are so quick to "advise" those of us who are not? Quick history about me: I have been unemployed since Nov. 2008, when I exhausted my FMLA leave over a condition I wasn't aware I had. When my 13 weeks expired and my doctor said I still wasn't fit to resume my previous position, I was terminated. I have applied for an excess of 500 jobs, some of which I possessed all the qualities desired in the job posting. I have mustered maybe 4, 5 interviews in that time period.

The unemployed need benefits to keep our heads above water. We do not plan to depend on them as our sole and permanent source of income. We, the unemployed, want employment above all else. Think of the automated recordings you hear when you call a business...that used to be someone's job. The grocery stores who encourage you to scan your own groceries, bag and pay for them.... those used to be someone's jobs. Long gone are the days you could walk into a business in your most professional attire and ask a person about any openings, give them your resume and complete the exchange with a handshake. I am a father, a husband...I am supposed to be a provider. Perhaps I need to strongarm someone into giving me a chance...I am running out of options.

Be thankful you have employment...cause you would hate living here on the other side. To my brothers and sisters living in this unemployment hell, be steadfast...this will change in your favor! But only if you let your voices be heard!!

Posted by: dragonknuckles | June 17, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

peterg73. Unemployment is not a "HANDOUT". Would you please get that straight. Anytime someone pays for something it is in no way what you claim. Wake up. People like you are spreading falseness. When a person becomes unemployed they have lost a lot.

Posted by: moneybags | June 18, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

peterg73. Unemployment is not a "HANDOUT". Would you please get that straight. Anytime someone pays for something it is in no way what you claim. Wake up. People like you are spreading falseness. When a person becomes unemployed they have lost a lot.

Posted by: moneybags | June 18, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

The very people who are voting against extending UI benefits are really the ones who are receiving the handouts.

Posted by: moneybags | June 18, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The ones who are voting against extending UI benefits are the ones who put us in this crisis and they are the ones receiving the handouts. Not the workers who paid into unemployment. This is our money.

Posted by: moneybags | June 18, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse


The republican’s weren’t worried about the deficit when that big insurance company and their friends the bankers and the Wall Street execs were giving themselves bonuses with taxpayer money!!! Next election – let Congress feel the sting of the unemployment lines!!! – How many years have you paid taxes? 30? 40? Your government bails out bankers and Wallstreet execs using your tax dollars – but unemployment is allowed to expire? What happened to "by the people" or "for the people"? Or are the big campaign contributors the only "people" who count to congress? They are playing games AGAIN FOR THE THIRD TIME while you are wondering how to feed your kids? Figure it out! Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election MAKE YOURSELF MATTER BY VOTING!!! 10% unemployment carries 10% of the vote! Use it!! Fire them all next election or recall every Congress member NOW for Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election - Lets get people elected who actually represent tall the People- this current congress represents only special interest groups!

Posted by: agh1 | June 20, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, 9.7 % excludes the 325,000 99er who began to be excluded in March. The next round to be dropped from the Work Force statistic are the 93ers, who have begun being cut off the beginning of June. The stat. 9.7 is off by about 4%. So as dismal as you h ave described the stat it is a lot worse in the national average. Add that 4% to Michigan and Nevada, and well it is a disaster. And who is going to pay out what is needed to survive. Well, first it is a huge bill to those that have assets, savings, homes, investments that will be depleted. Big bill for an individual to bale out the banking and realestate frauds and inept politics that deregulated and couldn't oversee them. How long will the assets carry the long term unemployed. I know I won't make it past a year, then what? State and local welfard, fed. food stamps and heap... yuck1 And I agree with the other posters, it's not a handout, it is insurance. If the Senators are drawing a line on emergency unemployment extensions, then I doubt if the Feds will actually secure and pay out on bank failures. Where will our money be safe? especially with the Senate repeating untrue, selfish dogma. There aren't jobs, I have applied to hundreds with only a handful of interviews in two years. I am in that place where I have to work, I am alone, take care of myself, too young to retire and couldn't retire if I wanted to. So Congress and our President are lying. The stat they are approving to release is much lower than the truth and they know it. Some articles have discussed this but it isn't getting out there. The fact is that unemployment has surged five fold, from about 5% to 20% and beyond, Nevada and Michigan, Illinois. And New York and California can't pay their bills, so our states can't pay the bill that the Senate is willing to pass on to them. It is time to stop mucking up the waters, the economy is really bad, jobs are not being created that are meaningful. ( Short term Census and Construction are helping but it isn't enough). It's time to march into our reps offices, starting from any local point, The Mall, from stadiums and go as a group. It is time to be SEEN and HEARD.

Posted by: artsteacher | June 20, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Senator Hatch’s idea to test unemployed for drugs and alcohol use; I have been wondering how our fine members of the Senate and House can sleep at night knowing that they are ignoring the plight of the unemployed, and knowing that they (our “watchdogs”) are largely responsible for our country’s financial crisis. Now we know. The members of the Congress believe that the unemployed are just a bunch of drunks and druggies, and we are the ones responsible for the problem (all 15/26 million of us - http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm ).

OK, fine; I have nothing to hide. If I have to allow Big Brother to violate my privacy rights to get federal unemployment benefits, fine; even though my acquaintances will say that I display no indication of addiction or alcoholism, FINE.
However, if I’m going to be tested, it seems only fair that the members of congress (that DO regularly display irrational behavior) also get surprise drug and alcohol testing. Let’s see how many of our public “servants” have something to hide.

Posted by: dmar0001 | June 21, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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