Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

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Posts tagged "Unemployment"

h/t; Bryce Covert at Think Progress Economy

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on a House bill that the Senate will use as a vehicle to pass an unemployment insurance extension likely by Friday.

Reid filed the motion to end debate on H.R. 3979, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, which the House passed earlier this month.

H.R. 3979 aims to exempt volunteer firefighters and EMTs from being considered full-time employees under ObamaCare mandates. Reid will use that bill as a way to send a five-month unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill back to the House.

Since Reid filed cloture, that would set up a vote as soon as Friday but Democrats are hoping to reach an agreement to hold the vote Thursday evening.

Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have put together a plan that would provide retroactive benefits to more than 2 million people who lost federal help after the program expired on Dec. 28.

The Senate has failed to pass two other UI extensions, but this time the legislation has five Republican cosponsors, meaning it could overcome the 60-vote threshold of a filibuster.

It would use several offsets to pay for the $10 billion cost of extending the benefits, including pension smoothing provisions from the 2012 highway bill, which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024.

The Senate deal also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

The measure would also prevent millionaires and billionaires from receiving the federal benefits.

The proposal also includes language pushed by Collins to strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and re-employment services (RES) programs, which provide help to unemployed workers when they enter their 27th week of benefits.

Despite the likelihood of Senate passage, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he won’t consider the Senate deal because it doesn’t include job-creating measures. But Senate passage will put pressure on Boehner to do something.

The emergency federal program kicks in once workers who continue looking for a new job have exhausted benefits, usually after 26 weeks.

politicsnation:

Republicans want to blame Pres. Obama for the weak economy, but we’ve seen them block proposals that could help improve it time and time again.

This is only just the latest example: http://on.msnbc.com/1eUTH6S

Why do you think this happens?

NC Gov. McCrory slashed unemployment benefits to stop ‘migration’ to ‘urban areas’ (via http://crooksandliars.com)

By David January 14, 2014 8:02 am North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said over the weekend that he was forced to cut funding for long-term unemployment insurance to stop “migration” for the “very generous benefits.” North Carolina Republican…



 

h/t: KSDK.com

Rand Paul: Unemployment benefits program is a ‘disservice’ to black workers (via Raw Story )

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday said that he opposed extending a program to for emergency unemployment benefits because it did a “disservice” to African-American workers. During an interview on Fox News Sunday to hype Paul’s “Economic Freedom…



 

On a WorldNetDaily column today, Religious Right activist Bradlee Dean warns that President Obama is committed to creating a government system of mass dependency in order to “to destroy what America is.” Dean alleges that Obama wants to “stupefy” young people and keep them illiterate, jobless and on entitlement programs.

“He needed dependents; therefore, he created dependents. Those dependents were sure to keep him in office, and keep him in office they did,” Dean writes. “What would you say if I told you that over 700,000 of the up-and-coming generation graduating from public schools in America each year cannot even read there [sic] own high school diplomas?”

But most Americans are ignorant of Obama’s sinister plot because they just aren’t as smart as Dean: “Oh, how little the American people know about the history of tyrants and dictators like Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, etc.”

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Mark Gongloff at HuffPost Politics 

h/t: Bryce Covert at Think Progress Economy

(via Fox’s Varney On Furloughed Federal Employees: “I Want To Punish These People” | Blog | Media Matters for America)

Fox Business host Stuart Varney believes that the ongoing government shutdown, while presenting no real threat to the economy, offers an opportunity to “punish” federal workers for “living on our backs.”

On the October 2 edition of AM 560’s The Big John & Amy Show, co-hosts John Howell and Amy Jacobsoninterviewed Fox Business’ Stuart Varney and asked him about the government shutdown and its effect on workers and the economy. Varney stated, incorrectly, that the shutdown was not having an impact on financial markets or the greater economy before launching into a tirade against federal employees.

Varney had this to say:

HOWELL: Do you think that federal workers, when this ends, are deserving of their back pay or not?

VARNEY: That is a loaded question isn’t it? You want my opinion? This is President Obama’s shutdown. He is responsible for shutting this thing down; he’s taken an entirely political decision here. No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.

Fuck you, Stuart Varney!

h/t: TPM

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, expanded rapidly during the Great Recession, when millions of workers lost jobs and entered poverty, forcing them to turn to the government’s social safety net for help. But even as the economy has begun to recover, SNAP “isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery,” the Wall Street Journal warned today.

States and the federal government both expanded SNAP access before and during the recession in an attempt to extend more aid to struggling Americans. That has led Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) aching to cut the supposedly “unsustainable” program, since its costs and enrollment are both at record levels. In the piece, the Journal admits that “the biggest factor behind the upward march of food stamps is a sluggish job market and a rising poverty rate,” but it then asks whether those expansions have made the program far more costly over the long-run and wonders why SNAP enrollment hasn’t dropped along with unemployment rates:

The food-stamp rolls have swollen since 2008 and are projected to stay that way for years. In 2008, SNAP enrollment was 28.2 million. Unemployment peaked in October 2009 at 10% and was at 7.7% as of February, but SNAP kept growing.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts unemployment will drop to 5.6% by 2017 but that SNAP enrollment will drop slightly to 43.3 million people, down 4.5 million from the current level.

That makes it very different from the other big federal support program, unemployment insurance, which shrinks as the economy improves. Continued jobless claims dropped to 3.1 million in February after peaking at 6.6 million in May 2009.

Unemployment insurance enrollment has dropped because it is based on unemployment. SNAP, however, is based on income, which is why it tracks not with the unemployment rate but with poverty levels, as this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows:

That SNAP isn’t shrinking at the same rate as unemployment insurance isn’t exactly a shocking revelation, especially since 58 percent of the jobs created since the recession are in low-wage sectors that are less likely to pull workers out of poverty and off of food stamps. The poverty rate rose sharply after the recession, and it hasn’t dropped significantly since the recovery began. But for all the concerns about SNAP’s long-term costs, the program is projected to return to its return to its historical spending levels by 2023:

The Journal actually acknowledges that the expansions make little difference in the cost of the program, but not until the second-to-last paragraph. “The Congressional Budget Office said reinstating eligibility limits would save around $4.5 billion over 10 years, a fraction of the program’s total cost over that time,” it writes there, all but admitting that the reason SNAP expanded is not because the government made it easier to enroll but because the economy contracted and plunged millions of people into poverty. That, in short, is exactly what the program is supposed to do.More info on how conservatives lie about food stamps: 

More sites that debunk the Wingnut Conservative lies about food stamps:

h/t: Think Progress Economy

inothernews:

Is there a more sniveling, dishonest bunch of cretins than those in right-wing media?

(via brooklynmutt)

On Sunday, economist Paul Krugman hit back against GOP claims that public sector employment has increased under Obama, and that such jobs consist mainly of wasteful bureaucrats and somehow count less economically than private sector ones. Back in September it was tea party Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) toeing that line, and this morning it was former Republican gubernatorial candidate Carly Fiorina.

The exchange commenced immediately after Krugman made the point that, had government employment in the current recovery followed the same path it followed under previous recessions in the Bush and Reagan years, unemployment now would be slightly above 6 percent:

CARLY FIORINA: I think it’s important to remember, when we talk about the economy, that a private sector job and a public sector job are not the same things. They’re not equivalent. I’m not saying public sector jobs aren’t important. But a private sector job pays for itself. A private sector job creates other jobs. A public sector job is paid for by taxpayers. […]

PAUL KRUGMAN: But when we say public sector jobs, it is not a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.

FIORINA: Oh, it is, actually.

KRUGMAN: When we talk about public sector jobs — when we look at the ones that have been lost in large numbers in this — it’s basically school teachers. Don’t think about bureaucrats. It’s school teachers. What we’ve laid off hundreds of thousands of school teachers.

And when we talk about the cuts in public spending that have happened, they are not, you know, some god awful who knows what. It’s actually public investment. It’s largely fixing potholes and repairing bridges.

So, you know, you have this image of these wasteful bureaucrats doing god knows what. What we’ve seen is an incredible drought of basic infrastructure, and laying off hundreds of thousands of school teachers.

FIORINA: It is a fact that virtually every department in every organization in Washington, D.C. has seen its budget increase for the last 40 years. That money is being paid to hire people. The number of people who are — of course there are some teachers…

KRUGMAN: The vast bulk of public sector employees are at the state and local level. They are largely school teachers plus police officers plus firefighters. And your notion that it’s all these bureaucrats — that’s a myth that’s used…

FIORINA: It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. We don’t have enough private escort job creation.

It’s a myth. Public sector jobs at the federal level have actually remained pretty stable over the last forty years. They began and ended the period around approximately 2.8 million, with a bounce to about 3.1 million circa-1990. Public sector jobs at the state and local levels increased significantly over those forty years, peaking at a bit over 19 million total when President Obama entered office. (They’ve fallen since, accounting for the decline in overall public employment.) But nearly all of that growth was in teachers and support staff for the education system, who now total nearly 7 million of those state and local workers.

The other major categories of jobs in state and local public employment are, as Krugman noted, police, firefighters, health care workers, and maintenance workers and drivers for the country’s transportation infrastructure. And the overall population of the country has also been growing, so even though the raw number of state and local workers increased significantly, the ratio of those workers to the overall population did not — 59 per 1000 in 1980 versus 65 per 1000 today.

h/t: Jeff Spross at Think Progress Economy