- Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews - http://staging.egpnews.com -

Archived: Time to Stop Grandstanding and Approve Unemployment Extension

When Congress adjourned for the Christmas holiday they left the nations long-time unemployed facing an uncertain future, as their unemployment benefits expired.

Now congressional Republicans are refusing to allow new bills that would extend emergency unemployment compensation to aid 4.9 million long-time jobless, their families and local communities.

It’s a move we find completely without merit, and it comes at a time when there are still at least three applicants for every job opening.

One has to wonder what the Republicans expect the unemployed to do> Move on to welfare?

We know many will say, especially those who have income on which to live, that most of the long-time unemployed are just lazy and prefer to live on their $300 dollar unemployment checks, oh, and let’s not forget, their probable benefit of about $75 per week for food stamps.

There are plenty jobs available, we are hearing more often. And it’s true, more businesses are hiring. But we should not mistake more jobs being available for enough jobs to meet the needs of the unemployed, even at the minimum wage level. We should also not make the mistake of equating a job with a road out of poverty.

So, how do you feed, cloth, and house a family of four, for instance, on a federal minimum wage income of $280 a week (after taxes), and if you are “lucky” enough to receive some food stamps?

When you factor in transportation, work apparel, lunch and in some cases childcare, it’s just not enough to support one person, let alone a family. So yes, many have to depend on unemployment compensation until there are jobs they can afford to take.

The myth that unemployed workers would rather stay home and live on $320 per week or less instead of working for $450-$500 per week just does not make sense.

It is a disingenuous position, which is being pushed to get economic concessions in other areas.

And lest we forget, the 1.3 million people who lost their benefits in December is just the tip of the iceberg, some estimates say there is close to 4 million more people on unemployment who are nearing the end of their 26 weeks of benefits. What will they do if there are no jobs?

Let’s hope public pressure can put a stop to the political grandstanding going on in the Capitol, and the Congress will quickly do what’s right and quickly approve an extension of unemployment benefits.