Still No Unemployment Extension

Some depressing news came for those on unemployment. The extension that would have pushed unemployment benefits has been shot down. The extension would have lasted until February, which would have increased an already record-breaking term of unemployment extensions for the United States. At the moment state funded unemployment lasts for 26 weeks at which time federal unemployment takes over for another 73 weeks bringing the total length of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks. The previous record of 65 weeks, which took place during the recession in the middle 1970’s, was shattered months ago. Congress was looking to increase unemployment due to the economic times but could not come to a compromise.

Unemployment Extensions During the Recession

Over the past three years around $319 billon has been spent to cover unemployment benefits. The Republicans shot down a bill asking where the money was going to come from. The bill came close; getting 258 of the 275 votes needed to pass. Roughly four million people are expected to be cut off from unemployment before the end of the year, which could make the holidays a very trying times for families across the country.

Emergency Spending May Still Come Through

This is bad news considering unemployment continues to rise. So many people losing unemployment at once is cause for concern for the overall economy’s health as well. The economy is expected to lose close to eighty billion dollars because of lawmakers’ failure to extend unemployment before the November 30 deadline. Many of the people receiving unemployment spend the money as soon as they get it in order to covers bills and much needed supplies, such as food. This is an immediate injection made each month into the U.S. economy. This could cause a crippling blow unless Democrats can win current arguments that an unemployment benefits extension would fall under emergency spending. This would mean that they do not need to offset the spending with savings elsewhere.

A Question of Motivation

The current unemployment rate is 9.6%. About 8.5 million people that belong to that 9.6% are currently receiving unemployment benefits. Many of those opposed to the extension believe extending unemployment only assists in nurturing a lazy attitude in people that are receiving unemployment benefits. The theory is that giving them more time to find a job will only make said beneficiaries less prone to actually search for one. However there is much skepticism facing this viewpoint due to the record breaking unemployment rates and extreme competition in the job market.

Democratic lawmakers are scrambling to pass a bill before Republicans take over the House in January. They fear the chances of passing an extension with the majority of the House Republican will be impossible. The original bill was meant to increase unemployment benefits for another year, but was shortened to three months in order to make the bill easier to pass. Unfortunately shortening the bill did not have the desired effect. The struggling economy is nothing new. The federal government has been arguing over how to fix the economy for a few years now and it is obvious that the economy is not going to be fixed for a while.