Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Have A Tier 4 That Is Only 6 Weeks?

If logic were to enter the equation, the question must be asked why Congress would create a Tier of unemployment benefits with only six weeks. This is by design and most economists expect Congress to add weeks to Tier 4 and/or create a Tier 5.

The problem is - no one knows when. The media is barely covering the lack of an extension of weeks in the latest extension. It was a small battle just to get the dates extended out for the existing tiers of unemployment and there is no current legislation seeking the extension of weeks or adding tiers.

There is, an increasing number of buzz...

It could be partially true, in Sen. Jon Kyl's words, that no one would ever seek employment if the program continued to be extended over and over. (Although it is very juvenile for him to think that the unemployed collect unemployment insurance by choice). It is more the truth in the words of Sen. Debbie Stabenow that for every dollar spent on unemployment, amounts to a $1.50+ of direct stimulus to the economy.

The abuse of the few have undermined the needs of the many. In an honor system, we would all just extend out unemployment to everyone until they got a job. "No need to show proof, Mr. Smith. You are a well-known, respected citizen." Those days left a very long time ago. Those days did not exist during the Kennedy Administration.

In this age of disinformation and persons deliberately abusing the system it creates the need for a system of checks and balances. It creates a need for someone to constantly inspect fraud, waste, and abuse. In some cases, it encourages someone who may have gave up looking for work a new lease on trying. In some cases, it will cause a family to default on their mortgage. I agree, the system is not fair. It does seem to be the American way.

Critics of unemployment insurance would argue it is creating an addition to welfare or socialism. There's nothing socialist about people losing their homes or being unable to provide food and basic necessities. It is a very real and serious threat many families are facing in this recession.

Ultimately, another extension (of weeks) will prevail. The advice of the economist will win the debate over the Republican who cannot fathom giving another cent to the unemployed. (As if the funds came directly from his pocket). Some of these conservatives could better suit their politics if they spent more time and resources helping to create jobs in their districts rather than criticizing every action from their opposition.

Politics will rein this year as midterm elections near. Regardless what Congress does this year - be it health care reform or creating jobs or omnibus bills that have a little of everything for everyone. Soon, everything will be on hold until after the mid-term elections.

No one knows when Congress will take up an extension of weeks of benefits. If they plan to pass the bill based on the trigger system and unemployment rates, yesterday would have been great.

Email, call, and write your representatives daily. US Unemployed is awaiting a response from Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich). She has been a champion for unemployment assistance and she may be able to shed some light on when Congress may take this up. There are no official updates. Only strong speculation and a lot of growing buzz around the issue.

We will keep you up to date.
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