Showing posts from May, 2012

NY Times: U.S. Winds Down Longer Benefits for the Unemployed

In February, Congress phased in a reduction of the number of weeks of extended aid and made it more difficult for states to qualify for the maximum aid, adding a financial burden to the long-term unemployed.The full story is available on Also, please see Mitchell Hirsch's excellent 2012 UI Extension Q&A

From the "I Wish I Said It..." Department

From The Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog, the discussion about Paul Ryan's plan to use a filibuster-proof procedural tactic, reconciliation, to pass his budget, led to this comment:Peter C on May 23, 2012 11:27 AM:It wasn't just 1981. The Republicans passed both of the Bush tax cuts using reconciliation; that's why they had to automatically expire. They used their razor-thin (1-vote) margin of victory in the presidential race of 2000 to declare a 'mandate' at that time too and governed from the hard right edge with no concessions to any moderate or consensus opinions.They don't play fair. They don't want to cooperate. They don't even want to govern. THEY WANT TO RULE. If they get a chance, they will empty the cash register (again) and feel like they've earned it. You remember Cheney telling Paul O'Neil, "You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due."? This i…

Wisconsin, Vote Lori Compas on June 5th


Mann and Ornstein - Extremism In Congress: 'Even Worse Than It Looks'?

Wisconsin, Vote Barrett on June 5th


The Most Interesting Secretary of State in The World?

@edshow "I don't always want a birth certificate, but when I do, it's President Obama's. Stay #birthy, my friends."— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) May 19, 2012Consider this a shout-out to my friends at The Fogbow - where birthers go to have a sad.

Nick Hanauer on Job Creators

Update: Here's the video of the speech: Nick Hanauer, a Seattle businessman we've referred to earlier, gave the speech, transcribed below, to a TED University audience on March 1 of this year. TED chose not to post the video of the speech, for reasons that I find less than satisfactory. You can read more about the issue on the National Journal website and Chris Anderson's Posterous page.It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one:If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats and has shaped much of today's economic landscape.But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe. It's not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy.In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and…

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies

Romney Economics: Bankruptcy and Bailouts at GST Steel

This is what Governor Romney said in his speech after the Wisconsin primary:"Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, and to make our lives better than all the programs of government combined. "This is what Mitt Romney's Bain Capital did to GST Steel. Is that his version of free enterprise?After the Pennsylvania primary, Governor Romney said this in this speech:"It's still about the economy… and we're not stupid."You're exactly right, Governor. We're not stupid. We can see the results of your vulture capitalism. We can see the effect you would have on the economy by signing the Ryan budget into law. And we're going to fight, every step of the way, to make sure that does not happen.Update: Governor Romney had one other noteworthy quote in that primary-night speech:"…you might have heard that I was successful in business. And that rumor is true. But you mig…

New York Times: The Human Disaster of Unemployment

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Kevin Hassett is director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. They've authored this op-ed piece published in Sunday's New York Times:Policy makers must come together and recognize that this is an emergency, and fashion a comprehensive re-employment policy that addresses the specific needs of the long-term unemployed. A policy package that as a whole should appeal to the left and the right should spend money to help expand public and private training programs with proven track records; expand entrepreneurial opportunities by increasing access to small-business financing; reduce government hurdles to the formation of new businesses; and explore subsidies for private employers who hire the long-term unemployed. Those who hire for government jobs must do their share, too: managers who are filling open positions should be given explicit incentives to reconnect these lost workers.E…

Washington Post: Unemployment insurance is vanishing, even as jobs are scarce

Brad Plumer, writing in today's Washington Post:All told, some 409,000 workers have lost benefits in 2012 — and most of them have been unemployed for longer than 70 weeks.These days, fewer and fewer jobless workers are receiving government aid. According to NELP, two-thirds of all jobless workers qualified for state or federal unemployment insurance in 2010. Last year, that number shrunk to 54 percent. This year, it will go below 50 percent. If Congress lets all of its extended-unemployment programs lapse at the end of this year, says NELP, then only a quarter of jobless Americans will be receiving unemployment insurance.

Divide and Conquer?


Denver Post: Colorado jobless benefits to fall to 73-week maximum

Help the 9993867363 54-ersUpdate - Add Illinois, Georgia, Minnesota and Washington State to the list, too.The Denver Post, reporting on an imminent reduction in unemployment benefits for Coloradans:At one point, the long-term unemployed in Colorado could collect up to 99 weeks of benefits under state and federal programs, earning them the nickname "the 99ers."But in November, Colorado lost eligibility for Tier 4 of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which kicked in when a state had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent or higher.The duration of benefits fell to 93 weeks, then in early April dropped to 86 weeks when Tier 2 of the state extended program ended, affecting 11,000 people who were eligible.The maximum available after May 12 will be 73 weeks. And come September, changes in the federal program will cut another 10 weeks off, bringing the maximum down to 63 weeks.If the state's unemployment rate falls below 7 percent for three months, another ni…

"I’m looking to keep the roof over my head"

Reported by NBC Nightly News: after two years of unemployment, Kevin Kalmes is at risk of losing her home.Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

CBS News: How are the long-term unemployed faring?

The Guardian: Long-term unemployment remains virtually unchanged in economic recovery

(via The Raw Story)"You mention 99ers today and people say 'what?'", he said. "The Hunger Games brought in $1.3bn in three weeks. This nation just wants to be entertained."Eichelberg, 54, worked on a farm until he was 40. He'd always worked with engines, and when the farm was sold he decided he'd better get a qualification to prove his expertise. He got a certification in automotive technology at a local college and found a job at Buell, the motorcycle company. After 9/11, the recession bit and he was laid off. Suddenly, he found his qualification was working against him. "I'd go to a lot of places and they'd tell me I was over-qualified, that I'd get bored. So what! I don't mind. Just hire me," he says. "What are you people looking for?"He keeps looking for work but feels his age is working against him. "I walk in with this salt-and-pepper beard and I think they look at me and think: no," he said. "…

Up: The psychology of political polarization

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