More than 1 million Americans are bracing for a harrowing post-Christmas jolt as extended federal unemployment benefits come to a sudden halt this weekend, with potentially significant implications for the recovering American economy. A tense political battle likely looms when Congress reconvenes in the new midterm election year. Nudging Congress along, a vacationing President Obama called two senators proposing an extension to offer his support. On Friday, the White House said, that Obama pledged to push Congress to move quickly next year to address this “urgent economic priority”. For families dependent on cash assistance, the end of the federal government’s “emergency unemployment compensation” will mean some difficult belt-tightening as people lose their average monthly stipend of 1,166 USD (38,000 Roubles. 1,250 CAD. 1,315 AUD. 850 Euros. 708 UK Pounds).
Jobless rates could drop, but analysts say the economy might suffer with less money for consumers to spend on everything from clothes to cars. Having let the “emergency” program expire as part of a budget deal, it’s unclear if Congress has the appetite to start it anew. An estimated 1.3 million people would lose benefits when the federally-funded unemployment payments end Saturday. The Labor Department said that some 214,000 Californians would lose eligibility, a figure expected to rise to more than a half-million by June. In the last 12 months, Californians received 4.5 billion USD (146.7 billion Roubles. 4.8 billion CAD. 5.1 billion AUD. 3.28 billion Euros. 2.74 billion UK Pounds) in federal jobless benefits, much of it ploughed back into the local economy. In addition, more than 127,000 New Yorkers would get the chop this weekend. In New Jersey, 11th among states in population, 90,000 people would immediately lose out.
Started under President George W Bush, the benefits were supposed to be a cushion for the millions of American citizens who lost their jobs in the Great Recession and failed to find new ones whilst receiving state jobless benefits, which in most states expire after six months. Analysts expect another 1.9 million people across the country to exhaust their state benefits before the end of June. However, Obama has no quick fix. He hailed this month’s two-year budget agreement as a breakthrough of bipartisan cooperation whilst his administration worked with Democratic allies in the House and Senate to revive an extension of jobless benefits for those unemployed more than six months. The Obama administration said that those payments kept 11.4 million people out of poverty and benefited almost 17 million children. The cost of them since 2008 totalled 225 billion USD (7.34 trillion Roubles. 241 billion CAD. 254 billion AUD. 163.8 billion Euros. 136.5 billion UK Pounds).
At the depth of the recession, laid-off workers could qualify for up to 99 weeks of benefits, including the initial 26 weeks provided by states. The most recent extension allowed a total of up to 73 weeks, depending on the state. According to the Congressional Budget Office, restoring up to 47 extra weeks of benefits through 2014 would cost 19 billion USD (619.5 billion Roubles. 20.4 billion CAD. 21.5 billion AUD. 13.8 billion Euros. 11.5 billion UK Pounds). House Democrats led by Sander Levin (D-MI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) sought to include an extension through March by offsetting the costs with potential farm bill savings. The Republicans rebuffed them. Senate Democrats and some Republicans plan another push in 2014. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced a bill offering a similar three-month extension and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promised to bring it up. However, as with much in Congress, an extension is no sure thing. In phone calls on Friday, Obama told Reed and Heller that he was glad that they were working together to address the problem. Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling said in a statement, “It defies economic sense, precedent, and our values”.
Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner spoke with Obama about an extension. Boehner and said his caucus would consider the possibility “as long as it’s paid for and as long as there are other efforts that’ll help get our economy moving once again”. He said that the White House has yet to introduce a plan that meets his standards. For other Republicans, the bar is higher. Many of them look at signs of economic growth and an unemployment rate now down to 7 percent and expected to drop further as evidence the additional weeks of benefits are no longer necessary. For decades, there’s been a fierce debate on the effect of jobless benefits on the unemployment rate. To qualify, people have to be seeking work. Tea Partiers such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) argue that the payments aggravate rather than relieve unemployment. The benefits allow some jobseekers to hold out for higher wages. Without the benefits, they might accept lower-paying jobs, reducing the unemployment rate. Others may be looking for work only to keep the benefits flowing and would drop out of the job market entirely once the checks stop. In theory, that also would push the unemployment rate lower.
In addition to alleviating suffering, the flip side is that the benefits get spent on consumer goods, stimulating the economy, and creating jobs. Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project, argued that extended unemployment insurance “is really a lifeline to help pay the bills, put food on the table, and put gas in the tank, so people can look for work”. Michael Feroli, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase, said ending the extended benefits would lower the unemployment rate by half a percentage point as the long-term unemployed leave the labour force. Whilst that statistical change might look good superficially, Feroli cautioned that a similar decrease in consumer spending could accompany the drop. That would also hurt clothing retailers, car dealers, and other Main Street businesses. On the other hand, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that extending the programme would boost GDP growth by some 0.2 percent and increase full-time employment by 200,000 next year, but at the price of increasing government debt. Advocates of extended benefits say communities hardest hit by the recession would feel the sudden loss of cash in circulation the most. They cite a set of their own troublesome figures… three jobseekers still competing for each opening, some 4 million people in the ranks of long-term unemployed, and unemployment lasting on average 37 weeks, two months longer than most states provide insurance.
Gross War Spending 1962-2015
Per Capita War Spending 1962-2015
The Republicans are liars… full stop. There’s plenty of “give” in the budget. However, the Republicans want to enrich the Affluent Effluent at all costs… if that means that people of little means get smashed in the process, well, so be it. Let them die and decrease the surplus population! The Republicans wish to give MORE to a class that REFUSES to invest in the USA, a class that hides its money in overseas tax havens… but demands the right to dictate American economic policy. In short, a criminal and unpatriotic class leads the Republicans by the nose. When Marx said, “Capital has no homeland”, he meant that crapitalists don’t give a damn about their homeland… they’d sell it out for filthy lucre, as Wet Willy Romney did (and received the Republican nomination for President as a reward).
Look at the above graphs… there’s PLENTY of FAT in the DoD budget. It’d be simple to find 19 billion USD… but Congress won’t… for it’d mean that fatcat corporate donors would lose business. You see, if the fatcats lost business, their political running dogs would lose some of their bribes and “campaign donations”… and that can’t be! Do note that war spending is UP, compared to the Cold War. Where’s the money going? It’s going to political and corporate corruption, on both sides of the aisle, but more so on the Republican side.
I’ll tell you what angers me. The men who die and who suffer grievous wounds in current wars are mostly men from families of small means, whilst the Affluent Effluent doesn’t shoulder any of the burdens of service. As Dick Cheney put it, “I had better things to do”… and Willy Romney hid in France for two years during the height of the Vietnam War. That should tell you something of the character of the Republican Party (or, rather, its lack of same).
Orthodox people should beware Victor Potapov, Alexander Webster, Rod Dreher, John Whiteford, Patrick Reardon, and Josiah Trenham… they all cheerlead for the Godless Amoral Right… yet, they deck their idol in the robes of the Church, thereby blaspheming Our Lord Christ and what He really did (do recall that the powers-that-be tacked him up for being a pesky rebel). They’re in total opposition to HH and Pope Francisco, who see eye-to-eye on social justice matters.
You can follow the above-named worthies or you can follow HH… I choose His Holiness… who’s friends with Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz and who just gave a high Church decoration to Iosif Kobzon. The Church is NOT a friend of the Right… no matter how much the contemporary teabagger chernosotentsy konvertsy rant and rave. Keep it focused and don’t let the bastards grind you down…