Why Punish the Long-Term Unemployed?

Why Punish the Long-Term Unemployed?

To the Editor:

On December 28th, 1.3 million unemployed Americans are scheduled to lose their unemployment benefits because members of Congress failed to add an extension to keep them in the new budget. This is the first time since 2008 that the extension has been omitted. The unemployment benefits are designated for the long term unemployed – those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.

Even though the overall jobless rate has dropped to the lowest in five years, the long-term unemployment rate is at record levels of 37% of the total unemployed. The economy is getting stronger, yet there are three job applicants for every one job opening.

I doubt that Senator Rand Paul has ever had to try to live on the small amount of money that a person receives from monthly unemployment benefits.

Unfortunately, because the economy is picking up pace, many Republican Congressmen think that taking away the one and only source of income that a family has is a-okay. Senator Rand Paul actually believes that extending unemployment benefits promotes more unemployment! He told Fox News last week, “When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks [sic], you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.”

I doubt that Senator Rand Paul has ever had to try to live on the small amount of money that a person receives from monthly unemployment benefits or he wouldn’t be making such ridiculous comments as this. In past recessions extended benefits ended when the long-term unemployed equaled approximately 1.3% of the workforce. Today, they signify more than 2% of the labor force.

Sincerely,
Patricia Perry
Salem, OR 97306

 

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