Huh. The LA Times finds that 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
Thousands of long-term unemployed Americans from across the country have converged on Washington this week to dramatize their plight and to urge Congress to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax cut, and to pass President Obama’s jobs bill.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.3 million Americans are unemployed. Nearly half have been jobless for more than six months — a record. If you add workers who are so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for work, and people who are underemployed (working part time but who want full-time jobs), the number of jobless Americans skyrockets to more than 25 million.
After remaining at or over 9% since March 2009, the nation’s jobless rate dipped to 8.6% in November. But in California, the rate is 11.7%. For more than 21/2 years, the number of jobless Americans has outstripped the number of available job openings by more than 4 to 1.
They want Congress to extend unemployment benefits. Question: If Congress extends unemployment benefits, then do the official unemployment numbers go up? Because more people will be able to collect? If so, I’m totally in favor of it. We need accurate numbers going into this election.
On the other hand, there is a bright side if they don’t extend:
In such dire circumstances, the least Congress can do is extend unemployment benefits. The Obama administration and House and Senate Democrats are pushing for another yearlong extension of federal benefits before they expire Dec. 31. Without action, nearly 2 million Americans — 305,400 in California — would be cut off from unemployment insurance in January alone; 6 million would be cut off over the course of the next year.
Historically, whenever the jobless numbers are this severe, Congress has extended jobless benefits to help keep families and local economies afloat. In fact, Congress has never allowed unemployment insurance to expire with the jobless rate above 7.2%.
Having run out of hands, let’s go to the left foot:
Last year, congressional Republicans opposed extending jobless benefits but were outvoted by the Democrats. Now the Republicans aren’t saying they outright oppose an extension, because that would be unpopular in hard-hit states like Ohio, Speaker John A. Boehner’s home state. Instead, they’ve added a poison pill, insisting that any extension of unemployment benefits be paid for by making other cuts, which will shed even more jobs. The Democrats have proposed paying for the extension of jobless benefits and the payroll tax cut with a tax increase on those making more than $1 million a year, a plan that Republicans oppose.
In other words, the Republicans are more willing to provide tax breaks for the rich than unemployment benefits for the jobless.
Most unemployed Americans are out of work through no fault of their own but because the economy isn’t generating enough jobs. But GOP lawmakers have cruelly claimed that many jobless Americans are simply too lazy to look for work and take advantage of unemployment insurance.
The truly cruel are the journalists who sold Hope ‘n Change to the public, relentlessly tapping the keyboard with all sorts of inane claims about the virtues of the Obama pitch. There was no way that Hope ‘n Change could do anything to improve the economy, and it was likely that it would further stress it. Now, they demand more of the same and if they don’t get it, the Republicans are cruel.
I’m good with that. If we become Greece in the next four years or so, do we also get their climate?
Oh, before I have my coffee, let me give you an example of either how stupid the media is, or how malevolent, your choice. Do you recall the Stimulus… the thingy where we took about 1 trillion dollars and flushed it down the toilet? There was supposed to be something called a Keynesian Multiplier, that it, take one tax dollar, and, as Obama said to Joe the Plumber, spread it around. Voila! It becomes two dollars. This is known in professional circles as the Multiplier Fairy Tale. And we all witnessed its failure, right?
Moreover, unemployment insurance puts money into people’s pockets and thus pumps money into local economies — grocery stores, gas stations, landlords and utilities. A study this year by the Urban Institute found that employment insurance creates $2 in economic activity for every $1 the government spends. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that extending unemployment benefits through next year would create $70 billion in economic activity and a 0.4% increase in GDP. The Census Bureau found that unemployment insurance kept 3.2 million Americans, including nearly 1 million children, from falling into poverty last year.
If that study were accurate, we could simply empty the treasury and double our economy. We could pay China back and buy every child in America a pony for Christmas.
American child receives Multiplier Pony for Christmas