1.2 million Americans lose unemployment insurance today

Because of the Republicans new found concern for budget deficits, 1.2 million American families will be cut adrift today.

Nearly 1.2 million unemployed Americans - including 27,000 in Wisconsin - face an imminent cutoff of government unemployment checks if Congress cannot pass emergency legislation to extend federal benefits before funding expires Sunday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) pushed this week for Senate passage of a stopgap 30-day extension of jobless benefits, which also includes a 30-day extension of a federal COBRA health insurance subsidy for the jobless. But as of late Thursday, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) objected to each attempt to bring the issue to a Senate floor vote, balking that the measure would further inflate the nation's debt.

Remember, this is the same Congress that took less than a week to bail out Wall Street banks for $700 Billion. There were no questions at that time about where to get the money for their criminal friends in banking.
The Unemployment extension bill is $10 Billion.

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There is a good chance that at some point this coming week, Republicans will allow a new temporary UI extension bill pass.

"All Senator Bunning was saying is that it should be paid for," Kyl said. "It will pass, though, because it's a temporary extension."
Kyl said the fate of a longer-term, $100 billion jobless benefits package is uncertain because it too does not fall under PAYGO.

Maybe Kyl didn't hear Bunning correctly. What Bunning actually said to the unemployed is, "Tough Shit."

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Even if Republicans relent and allow the temporary extension to pass, it is likely that the more long-term extension will get held up next month, while the Republicans continue to play chicken with the unemployed's state of homelessness.

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Without a long-term extension to unemployment, 5 million currently unemployed people will lose their benefits and be forced into welfare or outright homelessness by summer.

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) released a new report last week showing that ...
1.2 million jobless workers will become ineligible for federal unemployment benefits in March unless Congress extends the unemployment safety net programs from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). By June, this number will swell to nearly 5 million unemployed workers nationally who will be left without any jobless benefits.

Senator Burr (R-NC) is questioning the need for another unemployment extension.

To put this $10 Billion lifeline for working families into perspective, let's look at what has gone down on Wall Street this week:
The federal government owned-AIG lost another $8.87 Billion. They still owe the taxpayers $70 Billion from their last bailout, and might be looking for yet another taxpayer bailout.

As reported by other news operations, AIG said in a separate filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would need more funding from taxpayers if the financial markets took a turn for the worse.
"Should certain of these risks emerge, AIG may need additional support from the U.S. government," the company said in the 10-K filing.

What might that "turn for the worse" involve? Why the current AIG business model is all it would take.

Competitors including Chubb Corp. and Liberty Mutual Group Inc. have said that AIG, in an effort to keep customers, is slashing its prices to levels that may be inadequate to cover claims.

Another potential AIG bailout is probably enough to get your blood to boil, but wait, there is an on-going Wall Street bailout already happening.
Remember when the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Well, that bailout of these two GSE's has never stopped. For instance, just this week, Freddie Mac announced another $6.47 Billion in losses.
That's small potatoes compared to Fannie Mae, which lost $16.3 Billion this past quarter.

(Bloomberg) -- Fannie Mae will seek $15.3 billion in U.S. aid, bringing the total owed under a government lifeline to $76.2 billion, after its 10th consecutive quarterly loss.
The mortgage-finance company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $16.3 billion, or $2.87 a share, Washington-based Fannie Mae said in a filing yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

We are giving Fannie Mae $15.3 Billion, no questions asked. Hell, it doesn't even get headlines anymore, but if more than a million long-term unemployed Americans needs a little help, well now, we have to be concerned with the state of the budget.

As for Bunning, he's still busy making friends.

The Associated Press reported that two of Bunning’s Kentucky offices received bomb threats on Saturday, but it was unclear if they were related to his actions on the unemployment-benefits extension bill.



VP "middle class" report and policy recommendations

This report was released last Friday.

There are some good ideas for retirement protection but one thing that truly bothers me is the desire to reclassify workers from independent contractors.

Now this is rampant, the use of contract law to avoid everything from paying minimum wage to massive stiffing of pay for work performed...

it really is a major problem, but that said...

this really hurts professionals, esp. tech professionals.

On that score they need to loosen these rules and that's because due to fear, a host of 3rd parties popped up as contract houses, headhunters and all they do is act at IRS buffers in case of claim that ind. contractor is an employee! So, this destroys small groups and individuals to be in the consulting business, with a host of contract houses basically taking these guys pay..

I mean how absurd to classify construction or janitors or restaurant workers as contractors...at the same time, hitting up professional services is the opposite effect.

Also, they refuse to deal with trade, offshore outsourcing and a host of other issues for the middle class. It's really a glorified union wish list, which is fine, unions have a tendency to raise labor conditions for everybody...
but at the same time, unions, such as the situation with ind. contractor status, just are not flexible or haven't created enough flexibility for a lot of the professional fields.

That said, most on the list really is pretty good (minus the odds on attack against technical professionals, always the first meat to be thrown to the corporate lions!), although I think more focus on enabling work at home, telecommute would be good, useful for disabled people, people with kids and so on.

Cable & Satellite TV Live on Contract Labor

If DirectTv went out of business tomorrow there would be very few unemployment claims possible. Everything is contracted out from installation and service to customer service although customer service is through companies that have employees so they could claim. Cable companies do the same thing with installers and pay them for piece work.

These people are all considered independent contractors but have only one source a work/income which should raise all types of IRS flags for deductions etc but doesn't meaning the IRS enables this. This is what keeps them from paying an hourly wage or for gasoline/mileage or liability insurance etc.

My neighbors kid did this one summer and we looked into it after he barely made minimum wage for a weeks worth of work and they were sending him places where no one was home but he wasn't compensated at all.

very good example of what the AFL-CIO is talking about

I know that's true and that's why you can never get your cable or satellite TV working right...

(no pay!)

But the exemption I'm referring to is advanced R&D usually, billing rates of $100/hr or more and that's where this is really a consulting business and that of course is the one's they attacked, not the abuses going on, like the above where workers are classified as contractors so they can be stiffed, denied, screwed over and on and on.


Isn't CORBA expensive as shit? Seriously, I do believe one can buy an individual policy that is much cheaper than those payments on average. I don't have any stats on hand, it just I recall it's absurdly high.

Maybe they should instead made Medicaid be available along with unemployment benefits? A temporary thing.

How long are these corporate Republicans going to stay in office? I keep expecting the conservatives to really start raising hell and maybe even forming a new 3rd party....
it's so clear they are corrupt, even by conservative ideals.

COBRA is very expensive

and I think, outside of big time pre-existing conditions, for someone to take COBRA is either lazy or dumb.

Why can't we have an unemployment health benefit. It would have a time value and allow people to make decisions. I doubt if it would hurt to have the person pay a stipend for the insurance. Once the insurance ran out, the person would use the certificate of credible coverage certificate and buy guaranteed private insurance.

Cost of CORBA

Doesn't the cost of CORBA vary all over the map because it's based on whatever the rates are for a particular employer, which in turn depend on that group's cost experience to the insurer (i.e., if a particular employee group has mostly young people, the rates would be lower, and vice-versa)? That's why employer health insurance is like gold ESPECIALLY for older workers, who get averaged in with the entire group and cannot be excluded. Same age-related problem with individual policies, no? Price an individual policy if you're 60 or over and trying to hang on until Medicare age!

Ray Joiner


even with that the premiums for COBRA are often higher than an individual policy. It would seem to me to be cheaper to just add Medicaid as a UI benefit frankly. and yes I am assuming someone is much older. There is a lot of evidence the reason there is institutionalized age discrimination is to keep health insurance costs down, benefit costs down, which should be yet another crime. Same for single mothers.

The New Poor

This article was interesting, if depressing.

On average, only two-thirds of unemployed people received state-provided unemployment checks last year, according to the Labor Department. The rest either exhausted their benefits, fell short of requirements or did not apply.
“You have very large sets of people who have no social protections,” said Randy Albelda, an economist at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. “They are landing in this netherworld.”
When Ms. Eisen and her husband, Jeff, applied for food stamps, they were turned away for having too much monthly income. The cutoff was $1,570 a month — $25 less than her husband’s disability check.
Reforms in the mid-1990s imposed time limits on cash assistance for poor single mothers, a change predicated on the assumption that women would trade welfare checks for paychecks.
Yet as jobs have become harder to get, so has welfare: as of 2006, 44 states cut off anyone with a household income totaling 75 percent of the poverty level — then limited to $1,383 a month for a family of three — according to an analysis by Ms. Albelda.

I don't have numbers at the moment

too lazy to extrapolate them, maybe take it on next Friday with the unemployment report "chase down the missing" graphathon...

but I recall its est. only 48% of the work force is actually eligible.

I know for techies, they are completely screwed, on those contracts, no UI, no severance, no health and there is a huge "permatemp" working population, ya know all corporations want the cheapest they can find and no benefits, no nothing agenda...

then there are the self-employed, who have zip in case of failure and small business, also zippo if failure and even worse, so often they finance their business with credit cards and they are then saddled with massive debt, the kind of debt to start a store or a restaurant level debt.

All of this, the increasing ranks of the poor and I think we also need to hammer home just how low those income levels are (I mean you're dead living in a cardboard box to even qualify for food stamps if you do not have kids) to even get food stamps. ...but the increasing ranks has been going on steadily, esp. after 2001...

America the 3rd world is deserving of a post on it's own.

I hate to sound depressing and this is such scary shit for so many. Also, so much for "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps" mentality, uh doesn't quite work that way.

politicons got us in the

politicons got us in the mess we are in and bail every one out except the unemployed and working class fools like us.Lets let more jobs leave this country with nafta and the likes.What happened to made in america and the middle class???????????????? Thank you us goverment for running this once great country in the ground

Would this be necessary if

would all this predictable political bullshit over unemployment compensation extensions be necessary if we had a Direct Jobs Program/Job Guarantee Program?

Hell no.

RebelCapitalist.com - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

I am sure the powers to be

are happy. They can report that the unemployment rate has gone. Yep happy days are here again, I hear the admin now, "Please break out your credit card and start spending."

The bankrupting of the American middle class continues.