Surprising no one, but brutalizing hundreds of thousands of people, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, signed major unemployment insurance
cuts into law Tuesday. Under the new law, the maximum unemployment benefit is cut from $535 to $350, and the maximum weeks of eligibility are cut from 26 to 20, which cuts jobless North Carolinians off from the federal emergency unemployment compensation program.
The cutoff from federal benefits alone affects 170,000 people; overall, there are 400,000 unemployed North Carolinians.
The kicker is that this was done to protect businesses from having to pay higher unemployment taxes. But a big part of the reason it needed to be done was that North Carolina went into the recession with an underfunded unemployment insurance trust fund because of cuts to employer unemployment taxes. Now, with an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent, the fifth-highest in the country, the state is cutting the benefits that jobless people use to buy groceries and pay the rent and put gas in their cars to go to any job interviews they may be lucky enough to get.
Republican governance, y'all.