Portions cross-posted from AFL-CIO Blog
So the U.S. Senate ran off on vacation and left the House to pass a jobs bill that the august body won’t consider for another week, when up to 1.2 million jobless workers will have lost their unemployment insurance (UI) because the Senate failed to act.
In the view of some lawmakers, that’s just fine because helping jobless workers feed their families only encourages them to not look for jobs. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)—who as Dave Johnson points out makes $174,000 with the best benefits in the nation—says jobless workers on UI “don’t want to go look for work.”
Here’s a message for Judd from Deborah, a jobless worker who commented at the AFL-CIO Now blog:
I have been a lifelong Republican. I believed that if you were willing to work, you could always find a job and support yourself and your family. Confident, even cocky I suppose, in hindsight, I generally thought that welfare was a lifestyle people chose.
After working more than 20 years at a well-paying job, I was a victim of widespread job cuts. The fact that I was a long-term employee actually worked against me as bureaucrats eagerly cut many of us who had the highest salaries to maximize their savings.
Her job ended Dec. 3 and her UI is now expired.
I have faithfully applied to job after job….What will I do when my unemployment benefits end? I am outraged that our representatives seem willing to let people go under when they have lost a job through no fault of their own and there are not enough jobs to make a dent in the jobless situation.
Instead of stirring up class war, Judd and others should take a lesson in economics: By replacing a portion of a worker’s income, unemployment insurance benefits can support consumer demand and fuel the economy.