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76,844 Texans Lost Crucial Unemployment Coverage Yesterday

by: Ben Sherman

Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 02:30 PM CST

On Saturday, 1.3 million of our fellow Americans were thrown off long-term unemployment coverage enacted by Congress in 2008 after the Great Recession began. The weekly coverage sum was not much at all (the average in Texas is $338), but has allowed millions of Americans to cover many necessities of life -- not only for themselves, but for their families and children as well. The last budget deal passed in Congress, decided under "fiscal cliff" alarmism early this year, cut $85 billion dollars from the budget -- including $25 billion from this coverage. In Texas, the number losing federal assistance yesterday was 76,844.

"More than 1 million Americans are losing a critical lifeline" that has "allowed them to keep food on the table and a roof over their head," Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said Friday in a conference call with reporters. "They will not have a joyous new year."

Americans can now receive this coverage for just 26 weeks, a ludicrously low number not based on how long it takes to find a job in the current economy. A full 37 percent of unemployed Americans have been unemployed more than 26 weeks. In Texas they can continue receiving state coverage up to 54 weeks -- but will then receive no help at all. The number of Americans losing federal unemployment benefits will multiply many times over in 2014 as individual state assistance runs out.  

More below the jump.

The economy is still lagging, and unemployment has not abated significantly. Long-term unemployment is a major problem deriving from paltry job expansion, especially in the public sector. That's one effect of a government hamstrung by conservative extremists opposed to all public projects like infrastructure renovation. "In November, 4.1 million Americans, or 37 percent of all unemployed, had been jobless for more than six months. More than 85,000 Texans have received unemployment benefits for 26 weeks or longer," the Dallas Morning News explains.

Unemployment benefits are not just for those who have always earned a low-income. About 40 percent of Americans who have received the emergency benefits during their five years of existence have previously earned between $30,000 and $75,000. "My motivation is not about getting unemployment benefits. My motivation is to get back to where I was," a local Connecticut banker hit hard by the recession told the Huffington Post. He "bristled" at Rand Paul's crusade against long-term unemployment coverage. "Rand Paul to me, I appreciate his perspective, he is a smart man, but I don't necessarily agree with his viewpoints. I understand what he is saying, but he is dead wrong," the man said, referring to Paul's assertion that it makes people dependent.

The Labor Secretary echoed the same sentiment, and the Obama administration is speaking out against the sweeping coverage denials. "The long-term unemployed are working hard looking for work," Perez said.

Unfortunately, Washington is not working hard for them -- either by extending this coverage in a still-seriously-lagging economy, or by passing a jobs bill to put Americans back to work.

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unfortunately this is one of the only ways to get the average american voter riled up enough to actually get up and get involved. and unfortunately the average uninformed voter, with the help of the media, will have their aggression centered towards those cutting the aid rather than those who created this environment where it's near impossible to create real productive jobs (e.g., NOT filing paperwork for the government, any and all manufacturing, ALL small businesses) while telling you things are great

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