On December 28th, 2013 Congress took away the incomes of 1.3 million people. Roughly another million people have had their income stripped by Congress since that time.
All of these are folks who had already had severely reduced income for at least 6 months, meaning that the majority of them had likely exhausted most of their resources.
All of these are folks, who in every recession and recovery since 1935, would have continued to receive income until the job market was markedly improved from today's conditions. The percentage of the unemployed who have been unemployed over 6 months was, at 37.7% roughly 65% higher than the previous highest ever level at which EUC was allowed to expire. It was over 2.5X as high as the rate at which expiration occurred under Reagan. It was almost 4.5X as high as the rate at which expiration occurred under Nixon.
15 weeks later, the Democratically controlled millionaire's caucus in the Senate has finally passed a bill to restore the unemployment insurance benefits rightfully owing to folks who lost a job through no fault of their own.
That bill appears to be DOA in the GOP FatCat dominated House, despite the inclusion of GOP-favored provisions to pay for the minor cost of the program, and despite the public 'pleas' of vulnerable and/or moderate GOP reps.
For 15 weeks, Congress has been raking in the money they are doing nothing to earn, while the involuntarily unemployed frantically try to keep their heads above water.
More below the fold.
We first provided a form of federal assistance to the unemployed 222 years ago, shortly after the founding of our present form of government (George Washington was president). We last increased the FUTA tax base on employers in 1983 (Reagan was president). The cost of a year's extension of these benefits is less than a quarter per day for each American.
Of course, we couldn't possibly afford to spend so much to keep 2.8 million benefit recipients and their additional millions of dependents afloat, so the bill passed by the Senate is only a 5 month extension. and includes corporate friendly changes to pension rules (I'm guessing that ultimately involves more non-millionaires getting screwed).
That means it would expire again in about 6 weeks. Given the level of commitment to the American worker displayed by the Senate, it's already too late to start working on another extension. That's pretty much irrelevant at this point though, because our duly elected FatCats in the House will likely let that deadline expire without ever voting on this bill.
Hey 99%'ers. Think something is wrong with our government? Maybe we need to elect people who actually work for a living.
Do you know someone who has been unemployed for more than 6 months? Do you have a job? Do you have a couch? Can you afford a quarter per day? Do you have friends/family who can afford a quarter per day? How about sponsoring an unemployed American to knock on doors, sign up voters, and tell his/her story, and ask them to call their Congressman? The only way this changes is if we change it.
Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 2:32 AM PT: A link to a new article by two freshman Democrats in hard hit districts calling on Boehner to act on unemployment and housing.