Jason Altmire Cuts $30billion from aid to Americans, votes more war spending

Blue Dog Altmire Bashes Unemployed

July 8, 2010

Huffington Post Reporting

Why won’t Congress reauthorize unemployment benefits for people who’ve been out of work for longer than six months? For the past several weeks, Republicans in the Senate, with an assist from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, filibustered bills to reauthorize the benefits due to concerns about adding the cost of the aid to the deficit.

Beneath the deficit concerns, however, there’s something else: the suspicion that the long-term unemployed are a bunch of lazy drug addicts. It’s not an opinion openly shared by most members of Congress, but a handful of senators and representatives from both parties have said this year that they suspect extended unemployment benefits actually discourage people from looking for work.

It started in March with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who said unemployment insurance “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

In May, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said extended benefits undermine the economic recovery because they “basically keep an economy that encourages people to, rather than go out and look for work, to stay on unemployment.”

And Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), after pushing party leaders to trim a domestic aid bill, said that in light of four months of job growth, “At some point you have to take a step back and look at the relative value of unemployment benefits versus people looking for jobs.”

Altmire said business owners in his district (he declined to say which ones) complained of hiring trouble because potential workers would rather stay on the dole.

Continue reading Jason Altmire Cuts $30billion from aid to Americans, votes more war spending

OECD Criticizes Congress For Allowing Unemployment Benefits To Lapse

July 8, 2010

by Shahien Nasiripour

Huffington Post Reporting

An international economic organization criticized the U.S. Congress on Wednesday for allowing extended unemployment benefits to lapse at the end of May, a move that thus far has denied more than 2 million Americans a critical lifeline during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

In its report on the global employment outlook, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted that a “particularly worrisome feature” of America’s deep recession is the high number of workers who have been unemployed for more than six months.

Nearly half of the unemployed fall into this category, while more than 1 in 4 has been unemployed for longer than a year, the Paris-based OECD noted.

In the view of the OECD, “this group raises particular concerns for public policy,” as the long-term unemployed “are at an elevated risk of falling into poverty” and “risk becoming permanently marginalized in the labor market.”

Continue reading OECD Criticizes Congress For Allowing Unemployment Benefits To Lapse