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unemployment

6 COMMENTS

  1. Valid point. The current federal policy of giving unemployed Americans’ Jobless benefits for a total of 99 weeks was extended in June, and this extension expires in early December, I believe.

    So the debate over whether to extend these benefits once again could well be a first and so signature symbolic post mid-terms debate. And I think this renewal could conceivably be voted upon by a lame-duck congress composed of the expiring democratic majority.

    But passing it in a lame-duck session actually sort of helps the new GOP house majority, since it would kick the can aways down the road. SB very interesting. The democrats have every reason to cast the GOP as Scrooge for the holiday season, so… .

    Potentially, it’s a real “rubber meets the road” moment. Democrats tried several times to get an extension PAST 99 weeks and failed. So, if you are looking for the folks worst hurt by the great recession, it probably boils down to
    1. unemployed folks who have been unable to find a decent replacement job in more than 99 weeks and who have exhausted benefits

    2. unemployed folks who have been unable to find a decent replacement job in more than 30 but less than 99 weeks who will not receive any benefits when their current extension runs out, unless some sort of extension is approved by congress.

    In other words, in the absence of congressional action, no one is eligible for any new federal unemployment benefits extensions once their state benefits (usually 30 weeks) run out. And anyone on a federal extension is SOL after that extension runs out.

    For anyone confused by that, unemployed folks get 30 weeks from their state. Then they may be eligibly for an additional 69 weeks from the feds, but that is doled out one extension at a time, in varying increments of 20 weeks or 13 weeks or whatever.

  2. Anticipatory demonization. The lame-duck session has not yet started, the UE benefits picture is is still in the hands of Dems and Nancy Pelosi until January 2011 — the current extensions will expire on their watch on November 30, a date chosen by Pelosi & Reid’s team last June to leave holiday pressure on Congress regardless of who won the elections.

    Of course, the opposition in June/July was insistence that the $100B extensions be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere, and the numerous unrelated spending provisions originally attached to the bill. And Boehner didn’t (couldn’t) hold it up, that was the Senate.

  3. Not sure what your point is here, Tully. You’re right that I am forecasting a rhetoric-laden battle. Do you disagree? Sorta like predicting sunrise. :-)

    I assume everyone already knew, or gathered from what I said that the lame duck congress was going to be on the clock to approve a new extension or not. I didn’t say that this vote was going to be up to the new congress that assembles after newly elected congressfolk take office. That’ll only be the case if congress fails to act, leaving unemployed folks high and dry. Not what I expect or hope for.

    The political environment is new, given the impending shift. So IMO anything the lameduck congress does could count as the first new battle. Whatever actions they take will surely take into account the fact that Republicans will hold the house in 2-ish months.

    And we can be sure that the new congressfolk will have comments about the extension. So they’ll be part of the coverage and the overall battle. That’s how I look at it. [Is this where your mileage varies?]

    Hopefully congress will act on a narrow extension and find ways to pay for it w/o new borrowing, although $100 bilion is not chump change.

    You have such a good grasp of how such things unfold. So I am curious whether you know how the feds have scaled back unemployment as recessions lessened. There are some decent trends suggesting that noticeable job growth is finally beginning. Presumably this means that at some point the feds will start making unemployment extensions less generous.

    How have they done it in the past? Do they usually pare down the total number of weeks available with successive extensions, gradually working to the point where it’s back to what the states provide?

    Guessing out my ass, I would think that the lameduck session will eventually pass another 4-6 month extension keeping the max at 99 weeks. Then come summer, if unemployment drops below say 8%, they’ll start peeling back.

    Anything you can do to fill in the blanks here is appreciated, as always.

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