Unemployment not seen since the Great Depression has spawned a new vocabulary.
The 99ers are those Americans who have been unemployed for more than 99 weeks. With all the attention focused on the Senate today, where the bill extending unemployment is expected to finally pass, many do not realize that this extension does nothing to help the over 1.5 million Americans who have been out of work for more than 99 weeks.
Tier 5 benefits is the term used to add another level to unemployment insurance benefits. A grassroots movement known as “Tier 5 to Survive” has not gained the political support which would make it likely that it would ever be enacted. Faced with the growing attention on the deficit, politicians have little stomach for another fight over unemployment compensation.
Currently there are four tiers of unemployment compensation programs. This almost unprecedented level is a response to high unemployment levels. Many American need additional weeks of unemployment compensation to live but there is little evidence that this will happen.
Are there any jobs?
A new debate has begun as to whether or not there are ANY available jobs. The Labor Department says that 46% of jobless Americans have been out of work for at least 6 months. That number grows each and every month.
Again, the Labor Department says that for every available job, there are five unemployed persons looking for that job.
Some believe unemployment insurance keeps people from looking for a job
But the notion that jobs are hard to find is contradicted by some, notably Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate trying to unseat Harry Reid in Nevada. Speaking to a reporter in June, Angle said
”There are jobs that do exist. That’s what we’re saying, is that there are jobs. That those jobs are entry level jobs.”
According to Angle, the jobless are “spoiled” by unemployment insurance. Her position is supported by some libertarians. Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told a reporter at the Washington Post that
“Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed… that is not to say that anyone is getting rich off unemployment, or that unemployed people are lazy. But it is simple human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as a check is coming in.”
Republicans leaders say they want unemployment extended
On the Sunday morning talk shows, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said that Republicans do support extending unemployment benefits. However, McConnell insists that Congress needs to find money to pay for the program.
McConnell said. “If we can’t pay for a program like extension of unemployment insurance that virtually every member of the Senate supports … then what are we going to pay for?”
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