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Graph showing share of unemployed workers receiving unemployment insurance, dropping precipitously as federal emergency benefits end at the end of 2013.
Thanks to congressional inaction, emergency unemployment insurance for people who've been unemployed longer than six months expired today with long-term unemployment at double the level it's been when such benefits expired after past recessions. That's a very big deal to 1.3 million people who will now not have the jobless benefits that are in many cases what's standing between them and the loss of a home or other basic necessities.

The lapse in emergency unemployment insurance will hit middle-class—or formerly middle-class—people hard:

Unlike food stamps—another safety net program that Congress likes to kick around—Americans don't qualify for unemployment insurance by being poor. In fact, you can only qualify for unemployment benefits if you had a solid work history prior to being laid off. And you can only remain eligible by continuing to search for work.

Roughly 40 percent of Americans who've received long-term unemployment benefits since 2008 had previously earned between $30,000 and $75,000, according to an analysis of Census data by the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Earlier research by the Congressional Budget Office has shown that more than two-thirds of recipients had annual incomes more than twice the poverty level and that such households received 70 percent of all unemployment payments.

Still, they're not rich, so Republicans are all too willing to screw them.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 01:35 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wish teh people who (11+ / 0-)

    want to get rid of the safety net would try living on it for six months to a year.
    They're really clueless, and they prefer it that way.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 01:58:38 PM PST

    •  What? You mean that living on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OooSillyMe

      Unemployment and SNAP for a year is NOT lounging in a hammock and sipping Mai-tai's??
      It's a crying shame that so many Republicans have no empathy, and none of the Christian charity so many of them claim.  But take heart!  I hear that Obamacare covers removal of that big ol stick in their ass.

  •  Great diary and to the point (10+ / 0-)

    Everything you said is true.  And so many in  the  teabagger GOP are tone deaf when it comes to unemployment insurance and how not having a job feels.  All they know how to do is demagogue the jobless rate  and talk about UEI keeping people from seeking work.  That on top of pretending they had nothing to do with it as if they weren't in charge when this whole mess started.  
    Also unemployment insurance is paid into by employers so it is actually factored into your wages.  I didn't know that until I had the pleasure of being laid off before.  The GOP is counting on enough voters not knowing the difference between UEI and welfare.

    Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?

    by Tx LIberal on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 02:11:25 PM PST

  •  Not just 1.37 million, of course, as you know... (21+ / 0-)

    ...but another 3.6 million who could become eligible for emergency compensation during 2014, but for whom it won't be there unless Congress acts. And already, there are 2.8 million long-term unemployed (out of work for six months or more) who have exhausted their benefits or were never eligible for them in the first place. And that's just the official count. There are also millions—specifics are not easy to come by—who have dropped out of the workforce but still want a job but were unable to find one.

    The problem isn't just with extending the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program but revamping the whole unemployment compensation shebang so that so many out-of-work people aren't given the shaft.

    Doing so requires tougher-minded Democrats willing to do more than just offer words of support for these programs but will actively fight for them.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 02:55:16 PM PST

    •  I was both lucky and unlucky. (3+ / 0-)

      I had one extended period of unemployment with benefits and one without.

      It's definitely better with.

      But -- the point about how many recipients formerly made decent living points out how we both over and underestimate the impact of unemployment.

      If you are making good money -- say, 75-80,000 or more -- unemployment benefits aren't going to keep you from serious losses if your unemployment goes on for any time.  Your rent/mortgage, car payment, assorted other expenses are going to overwhelm the unemployment check.

      By the same token, you most certainly are not going to sit back and enjoy being unemployed because you are used to having some money in your pocket, and unemployment compensation doesn't provide it.

      Unemployment compensation is enough to keep you going, if not enough to keep you from falling.  Yank that out -- who knows what the consequences will be, but it can't be good for the economy and it can't be good for the country.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 06:49:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not enough for a grownup to live on (0+ / 0-)

        I'm on the last 5 weeks of my claim. The only way I've made it this far for 5 months, with an $1800/mo. UI benefit and $1400/mo. rent (in a ghetto-ass apartment) is that I had just a little bit of money saved, and I did a few things for cash under the table. It's not enough to keep going. Not for anyone in this town who's a grown-up and/or doesn't have family they can live with for free, anyway.

        My luck's run out. I still don't have a job (yes, I'm one of those $75K+ salaried people with specialized skills), my December rent hasn't been paid and neither have any of my utilities, so I'm guessing the lights will be off and an eviction notice will be on the door soon. Happy fucking New Year.

        Maybe after January 1 when I have health insurance again, I'll admit myself to the psych ward saying I'm planning to off myself (because the truth is I just may be at that point by then). I'll get Disability in a matter of hours... and that'd be a whole extra $600/mo. Nutjobs and drug addicts get approved in a trice, and I don't do drugs.

        It's so much easier to look for work and go on interviews when you're not homeless. I've done it both ways... trust me.

  •  I think that more people are going (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trkingmomoe

    to consider moving to greener pastures. The employment situation is not homogenous any longer across the country. There are places that are hiring madly and there are places that are not hiringmuch at all. There is a concentration of 26-week+ unemployed in the underperforming places, and at some point many of these people will have to consider moving to somewhere where they can land a job.

    •  Yeah, like they never thought of it before (9+ / 0-)

      They're all so economically mobile, it just must be they just did not think of moving to greener pastures.

    •  It takes money to move to greener pastures. (8+ / 0-)

      Money is something that the unemployed don't have.

      •  And not caring about uprooting families (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, NoMoreLies

          And moving away from friends and/or family members that are part of your support system. And possibly yanking your kids out of school in the middle of the year (good luck on having them stay on track academically and socially).

         Yeah, it's all so easy on paper to move, but in the real world? Not so much.

        •  Citizens have always moved to (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WillR, doc2, Boris49

          where the jobs are. Now that the West Va coal industry has  started to wind down, so to speak, if nothing replaces it those people will have to move. Its very tough, but it's not the end of the world.

          •  Plus, it is beneficial to a healthy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AlexDrew

            economy to have a labor force that is somewhat moveable. Thus when a region develops jobs-intensive industry, the labor will relocate to fill those jobs, if necessary. When the government pays the unemployed to stay put, that does hurt the economy to some extent.

    •  I've done it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VeggiElaine

      I applied for jobs in other states, just because I have a specialized set of skills and there were job openings. While I'd much prefer NOT to leave my family and my entire life, I guess in order to have a freakin' job I might have to.

      Here's the rub. Even IF I got this job at a company that's very interested in me, in Seattle, I haven't the faintest clue how the hell I'd even move. I don't have enough money to rent a storage space, much less a truck and movers along with first, last and all the deposits I'd have to pay because I lost my home 6 years ago and haven't recovered from THAT yet.

      I don't know where the hell it is you people who say, "Just move and find a job" think those of us who've no longer got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, should be going. At least if I stay in Southern California I have some friends and family... and if push comes to shove and I'm homeless AGAIN, at least it's not quite so cold here, sleeping in my car.

  •  Seems to me the biggest obstacle to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi, AlexDrew, VClib

    extending the benefits is how to pay for it.  Apparently, the price tag is $26 billion next year.  For Democrats to have any chance of passing this, they will have to come up with some way to pay for it.  That's just reality.  There aren't the votes in the House just to add $26 billion to next year's spending levels.  

    I haven't heard anything specific yet from the Democrats in Congress.  I will be very interested to see what they propose in terms of paying for a further extension.

  •  Such a unnecessary tragedy & Reid & Pelosi... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, PJEvans, JeffW, Calamity Jean

    ...are the only ones we can demand action from. No one expects Republicans to care or act. It's us! Democrats need to step up the game and push harder, earlier, and reach much, much further. This is war and we need to engage not just on the battlefield but attack in time for American families to avert suffering. Democrats' and skin in every battle just like these Americans who're being cast aside.

  •  Talk about starting 2014 on the wrong foot (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, mchestnutjr, NoMoreLies

    Whatever unemployment insurance was going to these people was then going to local economies.  This hurts the unemployed and the local economies.

    Will these people be able to survive without help from family or others. This will not help anyone.  Many will become homeless.

    Will it increase crime?  Shoplifting at least.  How does one survive.  Evictions will skyrocket.

    What is happening?

    It makes me feel sick.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 05:07:14 PM PST

  •  just found out today about a friend who (8+ / 0-)

    is part of the benefits cutoff.

    he lives with his elderly parents who have come to depend on him to supplement their retirement income.

    he has a disabled brother who doesn't really understand what is going on but knows his mother seems to be crying a lot.

    Rcons never ever EVER think about the HUMAN COST of their policy decisions.

    If they could meet this family...

    actually, their frozen nasty hearts probably would still be unmoved

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 05:37:40 PM PST

    •  This disastrous lack of feeling from Republicans (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, TrueBlueMajority

      in power, is causing all of us in the USA to be very close to the precipice, and we could fall over it very easily. There are way too many of us already on that edge. We are full of fear, and many of us are crying and constantly worried.

      Any Congressman or woman before being allowed to run for office, should have to live amidst dire poverty for a year, and to have to survive on what the poorest earn. It would change the path of our nation in one or tow political cycles.

      My heart, my thoughts, my prayers go out to all Americans in this horrible, fearful state of mind. We all deserve better "choices".

      "We can have Democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis D. Brandeis

      by 2BOrNot2B on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 10:19:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great But Can We Please Not Use Equivalency Terms (6+ / 0-)

    in describing these things.

    It's not Congressional inaction, it's Republican intransigence. Democrats would've extended the benefit.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 06:30:58 PM PST

  •  Wrong (5+ / 0-)

    Not inaction, but planned suffering.  Cost?  Just remove the troops from Afghanistan a year early and close bases in Japan, UK and Germany.

  •  You know who should be unemployed? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2BOrNot2B, Calamity Jean

    RAND PAUL.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 06:50:42 PM PST

  •  Former makers now takers (0+ / 0-)

    If they were real Randian heroes they'd have borrowed money from their parents and started a business

    I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

    by blue aardvark on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 07:03:09 PM PST

  •  this is one reason democrats will lose the senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2BOrNot2B

    They could care less about people, better than republicans but they lack spine in the end. In 6 weeks my state benefits end, and my wife of 32 years told me I can go live in my car if I think she is paying for everything when I lose benefits.
    I think she was kidding!
    My vote is going 3rd party this year since i live in a safe dem district. Have to send a massage.

    •  I appreciate your post... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      One idea though. Could you blast away and NOT STOP doing so at the Democratic National Committee and the President, telling them what they "lack" in leadership and specifically what you want to see them do? To me, all of us need to stay focused, united in this effort. So they hear from me regularly.

      My hope is certainly that you are wrong on losing the Senate, but without solidly staying united, we could lose a lot more than a few Seats. We could lose our (few remaining threads of) democracy. And that would be a horrible thing.

      Thanks.

      "We can have Democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis D. Brandeis

      by 2BOrNot2B on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 10:11:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hope she was kidding. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW
      ...my wife of 32 years told me I can go live in my car if I think she is paying for everything when I lose benefits.
      I think she was kidding!  
      I can't see throwing out an otherwise satisfactory husband just for being unemployed in this economy.  My brother-in-law lost his job when Kodak started grinding down.  He and my sister are still together; he's been a stay-at-home dad and she's been supporting him for eight or ten years now.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 01:53:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Given that NJ has the highest # (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2BOrNot2B, Calamity Jean

    of people on extended benefit, what does that say about Christie's economic leadership?

  •  Scary options. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2BOrNot2B, Calamity Jean

    So, the jobs are limited.  The pay offered is minimum wage or close to it.  Not enough to even cover rent and car insurance, but that's where people are.  Then, for some reason, that job is gone.   Or,  they had a job for the past 18 years, and that company found if they moved their operation to China, the  three people at the top of the company will save millions, and they can live like kings.

    So, there they are.  The dads, the moms, the daughters, collecting unemployment insurance, just holding on, or not, until something turns up.    People would rather just go to work, earn a living, and contribute.  They would.  

    So, these same people have borrowed from parents, friends, relatives,  took out "home improvement" loans, borrowed off of their 401's, or sold their personal belongings.  They sold their grandfathers gold watch, or that car that was in the garage, that was going to be a rebuilding project.  

    Now, that last bit of help is gone.  

    The options at this point become scary.  

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 05:11:02 AM PST

    •  I'm too old to be a hooker (0+ / 0-)

      Besides, I wouldn't have anywhere to take customers once I lose my apartment, which'll probably happen next month.

      I cleaned out every savings and retirement account I had trying to save my home in 2008, and sold everything else when it was auctioned out from under me.

      There's no one left to help me. Even if my out-of-state family were able to help, they're so far away that I can't afford to get to them.

      There's a whole lot of people out there who are just as screwed as I am. We won't be having a Happy New Year, that's for sure.

  •  Laid Off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    I was laid off from a job of 11 years back in October.  I was laid off due to our Dept. downsizing and not being able to afford the same size staff as in the past.  2 other people were let go as well.  It had nothing to do with my work performance.  I made 43,000/year.  Right now i'm only receiving 235 dollars a week in unemployment.  Luckily i had some savings to keep me afloat.  I'm moving in January to search for jobs in another state.  Unemployment isn't much but it would be awful to lose it while you're trying to find work and start somewhere new.  It could make people give up and go over the edge.

    •  Unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      I had the back luck of working in Alabama and the max unemployment compensation you can get is 235 dollars a week after they cut Fed income tax.  Otherwise it's around 265.  That goes for someone making $30,000/year to someone making a million.  Really pathetic.   Not even 30% of my previous income.

  •  Money for nothing (0+ / 0-)

    GOP has a thing about supporting the poor and those in need and it isn't a good thing. Seems they don't like "paying for nothing". Well the congress hasn't done anything for five years now so does that mean they are collecting unemployment benefits too, and they won't be getting any more benefits? We are still waiting for all the "jobs" they promised in the run up to the 2010 election.

    •  ...jobs? Oh that was just sumpin' to say to get... (0+ / 0-)

      ...elected. It was really about ending a women's right to choose, ObamaCare, unemployment benefits, food stamps...and what the heck Medicare and Social Security...

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

      by paradise50 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 05:31:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What most people don't realize is that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj

    the money that could have paid for the UI extension ($25 billion) was spent on the GOPturd shutdown - $25 billion.
    These a..holes found lots of money shutting down the gov't and almost bankrupting the country than giving it to the unemployed and helping our economy improve, at least a little bit
    Furthermore, unemployment insurance is an INSURANCE program, not welfare. If these turds don't want people to go on welfare, they should provide a good jobs program, retraining, and UI benefits
    This is disgusting

  •  Those against unemployment (0+ / 0-)

    could not have ever been in a position to appreciate it.

    I am retired now, but when I was younger and working, I had 2 occasions to need it; each time for several weeks. I could not wait to get a job and get off unemployment, but it literally saved my life both times.

    I have known dozens of people on unemployment over the decades, and NONE of them wanted to stay on it any longer than they had to.

    Sure, there are a few people, a very small sub-percentage of recipients, who may have lost their will to work, but the repubs are characterizing ALL recipients as being lazy. THAT IS JUST TOTALLY FALSE.

  •  Working Class People, Rather, Being Put Back in (0+ / 0-)

    Not so much 'Middle Class' People, rather, Working Class people being put back 'in our place' by our Corporate 'betters' after the aberrant decades when we were briefly paid wages comparable to Middle Class salaries. And of course, actual Middle Class people as well being reduced to the common third-world penury we deserve. Welcome back, America, to the Third World, 'as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be', unless somehow we recover our lost spunk

  •  unemployment compensation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BeninSC

    republicans are clearly out of touch with reality not theirs of course.  failing to renew unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed is an attack on everyone who is connected to that person.  furthermore, it is an attack on the economy.  all of the benefits will be spent allowing for that money to work its way into the economy to maintain demand and revenue even if people think it is a small amount.  in an economy which has seen a majority of good paying jobs lost to technological advances, trade pacts that have shipped those jobs out of the country to the benefit of the wealthy, the greatest heist of tax payer dollars in the bailout of the banks, and the expense of unjustifiable wars, jobs are hard to come by despite retraining and the wait for jobs to magically appear.  the denial of compensation is forcing people to the lowest rungs of the ladder and many will wind up on welfare,which will be an additional burden on the economy.  failure to reinstate unemployment benefits is lunacy at its worst.  it is hard to fathom there are people in power who lack conscience, intelligence, and heart.  the real tragedy is there are americans who continue to vote these people into power.

  •  It's almost as if... (0+ / 0-)

    the GOP and the 1% are trying to start a civil war.  Grind the people into the ground until they ignite.  When you think about it...war profiteering is the best possible way to turn a buck.  Imagine creating a synthetic war in our own backyard.  The left hand selling product to the right.  It's like some kind of utopia for the greedy.  Sounds crazy cynical!  Because, no one REALLY wants to bleed a wealthy nation dry.  No one is really pondering techniques like divide and conquer to steal from our coffers while we aren't looking.  Right?

    What's the difference between the Federal government and organized crime? One's legally sanctioned.

    by FrankenPC on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 08:20:32 AM PST

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