American Morning

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July 8th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Does unemployment money help or hurt?

(CNN) – By the time Congress returns to work next week, 2.1 million unemployed Americans will have lost their jobless benefits. That's because lawmakers failed to pass an extension before taking their summer break. That has a lot of Americans angry. But some economists insist unemployment extensions have to stop, claiming they add to the deficit and keep people out of work longer. Others call that perspective cruel, considering this economy. On Thursday's American Morning we were joined by two experts who squared off over the issue; Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute. Watch Video

( – The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell last week, according to a government report released Thursday.

There were 454,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended July 3, down 21,000 from an upwardly revised 475,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said.

The number of claims was lower than expected. A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by expected 460,000 claims.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims, which levels out volatility, was 466,000, the highest level since March. The figure was up 1,250 from the previous week's upwardly revised average of 467,250.

"This is welcome news since claims are moving in the right direction again," said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody's "But the number is still not convincing proof that private sector payrolls are growing by at least 100,000 per month, and that's what we need for a durable economic recovery."

Lonski cautioned that that the current 2-week and 4-week moving averages remain well above their respective averages for weeks ended March 27, when jobless claims fell to a 19-month low.

The number of people filing continuing claims decreased to 4,413,000 in the week ended June 26, the most recent data available. That was down 224,000 from the preceding week's upwardly revised 4,637,000 claims.

The 4-week moving average for ongoing claims fell by 18,750 to 4,554,000 from the previous week's downwardly revised 4,572,750.

Continuing claims reflect people who file each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, or people who have exhausted their benefits.

The House voted to extend the deadline to file for federal jobless benefits through November, but the Senate will take up the measure after its weeklong summer break. As a result, more than 2.1 million people are expected to have lost their unemployment benefits by the time legislators reconvene on July 12.

Filed under: Economy • Politics
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Gloria

    Let's pray tomorrow's vote will be a big Yeah!!! WE all could use a breath of fresh air. This is way too stressful.

    July 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  2. zepuda

    I still can't believe the republicans! They don't want to extend unemployment bebefits simply because they don't care!!! They're not worried, they have jobs. It's been that way for years...the rich resent the poor!!

    July 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  3. Blase

    The politicians have GONE MAD. There is no more common sense and reasoning in the laws they past. Unemployement Insurance is a "Insurance" that we have paid for already through taxes. If you had paid, and in my case paid substantially, I have the right to draw this as this is the definition of "INSURANCE"
    We know that the economic scenario is poor, but for those like me who had been paying taxes at the level most households gross in income deserve the right to this coverage.
    There are COUNTLESS avenues to police where government waste is concern and unemployment should be reformed and discontinued to those who 1) have not contributed there fair amount, 2) Discontinue foreigners who have not contributed at all, 3) Discontinue to those who are unwilling to work. Etc....For crying out loud the government pays generously to many WELFARE familys that are able to work but dont. Washington has lost the purpose of why they are in office.
    If we truly want to control spending, control GOVERNMENT WASTE.

    July 15, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  4. adam

    i think that extending unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted their 99 weeks or even over 1 year is rediculous an tooo much. there should be a cutoff somewhere between 1-2 years max. i think those over their 99 weeks are blended into those at only 6 months unemployed so everyone is looked at as taking advantage of benefits.

    July 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  5. Tara L.

    My husband and I lost our unemployment benefits this past week. We were barely staying afloat with the benefits. We lost our jobs in industrial construction last December. We have been actively looking for a job every day. Unfortunatly we get a lot of leads, but no call backs. The unemployment rate in our industry is at an all time high. We are about to lose everything after all the long hours and days we worked. The "increase in jobs" numbers are so off its unreal. Most of those jobs are temporary workers (i.e. census workers, temp government workers, oil spill clean up, etc.). In these "numbers," do they include people like us that are not working but also no longer receiving benefits? This is the first time in my life I have ever drawn unemployment. I have always had a job. I know people whom have been on unemployment for almost two years and are still collectling. This has made us lose all faith in the American government. It's all about the numbers to the politicians. What about us? The common people? We are not just numbers on a page. We still love American and what it should stand for. We have not lost faith in the American people. We will come out of this swinging. Even if the government is not on the bandwagon. But for right now, we (not just us but all of those whom legitimatly lost their unemployment benefits and are actively seeking a job) are now stuck with no income, bills that we can't afford, and now facing having to apply for state benefits we never wanted to apply for. In our 6 months of unemployment, we just cut back and exisited on that income. Now, we are facing applying for food stamps and other government benefits that we refused because we believed that we would be back on our feet soon and would have unemployment benefits until such time. We are hoping and praying the government opens their eyes to the plight of those like us. If they think the economy's hurting now, just wait until those like us are losing our vehicles and our credit score and cannot buy things even when we get back to work. How would that help our economy? We are praying for all those in our situation and for our leaders know their roots in the American government and what America was founded on.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  6. forda

    The biggest problem with prognostications of the economic impact on "regular" folks by "experts" is that they aren't in the same economic class as the ones they're making predictions for! If they had to live like most of us do there would be much more emphasis and concentrated effort to solve this crisis. Hmmm, maybe we should tie congress's paychecks directly to solving the economic mess. No solution, no paycheck>

    July 15, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  7. Gloria

    I like reading these blogs, it helps me to realize that my feelings are not all messed up. As I can truly understand every single thing these people are saying. My brother who owns a well established place just said to me today, why aren't you working yet??? I told him have you heard the news lately "THERE ARE NO JOBS"!!! His reply was there are jobs. Boy, I'll tell you if you feel down and a family member say's that to you, it just makes you realize..that the people with jobs have NO idea what we are going threw!!! So this board of comments makes me feel understood..and helps me feel just a tiny bit better, in a strange way!!! God Help us all...let's all pray that next week we will hear some good news...I'm holding my breath. I have 3 people out of 4 living without jobs...and a baby!! It is mighty unbelievable..and beyond words. I can't believe this is America, I don't even dare to dream I just pray and hold my breath that we make it out alive!!! thanks for listening out there......

    July 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  8. Bob Ginel

    BTW I was homeless while receiving unemployment benefits, living out of my truck, and still was broke for gas and medicine, I am a diabetic and my medicine is like 125 month for the insulin, and have no insurance, now I am going to be homeless again, well at least I know how to live out of a truck, its hot in the summer , and finding a place to park at night to sleep is hard to do, I have 2 birds and a dog, we lived out of my truck for months, and we barely made it on ue benefits, and still looked for a job, soon we will have millions of homeless, then it will be too late, they will not have the finances to move ibto a rental, and all the resources for homeless in the US will not be able to absorb all of these people to help them, now the estimates are 2 million homeless, with the families that is approximately 3-5 million homeless people, that was cause a new era of depression.

    July 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  9. Bob Ginel

    well simply, all of the congress and senate should go on a $300 week pay cut and then see how log they wait to increase benefits. They take no time increasing their own wages when it is time to vote, their wage increase in the past years has been over $300 week alone.

    July 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Unemployed and angry

    REALLY!!!! I'm lazy because the job I once held is not given to someone that speaks both spanish and english, and this is America. Why do I have to learn spanish to work somewhere I was born. WOW... This whole thing is so unbelievable to me. I have worked since I was 16 I am not 33. What do I tell me children when we have to live in the car because since I am over qualified to work at a fast food and underqualified to work other places. I have taken so much out of my resume that it looks basic and still when I interview I am over qualified. So not I have started saying that I dont know how to do certain things that I am very qualified to do. Still nothing. There is no way that I would sit on back and accept 275 a week over getting a job. What are these people thinking when this bull comes out there mouth? Maybe they need to come and live with me. Come and go to the assistance office with me and let those people look at them like there are not nothing when they ask for help feeding your family. The unemployement dont make us rich it just helps tide us over until we can do better. Then it really pisses me off when they say well just sell the things in your home...WTF If im already living mid to low income what do I have in my home other than what I need? Then another thing that pisses me off is when I do find a job that I can get they do a credit check and then im out because I have that car that I had to let go back, I have that rent that I couldnt pay, I have that student loan that has not gotten paid on my credit. So then I cant get that job. WE UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE ARE NOT LAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  11. ana

    how many of the elected officials, have really been among the working class?....most are born into politics, have money...their idea of working class is i dont know (maybe their parents).

    anyways if no extension for unemployed people who have worked ,maybe they should think about cutting off welfare for people who have never worked.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  12. ana

    why does the government not put money into are roads,bridges,tunnels,more schools,hospitals upgrade these areas and you will get the construction workers back who will start buying things which will up sales & production jobs, why are we putting stimulus money into a funnell to pay for people to go back to school
    poverty level (they want to do hair)THERE ARE NO JOBS when they get out!spend smart government!stop the welfare train that should only be available to people who have worked!people on unemployment want to work they need jobs, people on welfare are takers if they have not given into they should not recieve.dip into the welfare funds....

    July 14, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  13. archie webb

    this is probley my last response before my phone,light,ins everything is lost, because the elected offical refuse to help people like me ive work 50 years never rec'ed any unemployemt, food tamps,nothing,but as a middle class ? my gov turn there back on me, they help big banks,automobile ind,all the big co, i hope this nov will make a different , there will be some surprise what it.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  14. Catherine Euler

    Part of the reduction in unemployment figures is no doubt due to the sudden stoppage of benefits. Many people may simply stop claiming if it doesn't appear to be doing them any good.

    This cruel cut off in unemployment benefits shows the Republicans and many turncoat Democrats for what they are – idealogues with no grasp of reality nor what this country needs to help get us through this crisis. Congress left to go celebrate the 4th of July and eat hotdogs, when over 2 million Americans can no longer buy a package of hot dogs. It is a cruel political ploy. Bring unemployment benefits back to normal when the economy is back to normal, bozos, or you just make things far worse. Right now any withdrawal of resources from the economy is having untold knock on effects. By the way, did foreclosures increase over the last month of no unemployment benefits?

    July 13, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  15. Joe Lopez Jr.

    The hardships I and many have had to endure because these heartless Senators only thinking about themselves to regain the "House". You have all shot yourselves in the foot, I have made-it a mission to inform all of my friends on FB & they will inform their friends & so-on that, we will all " Remember in November " the ones who opted "NO" to extension, and forgot about us!

    July 13, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  16. Joe Lopez Jr.

    I have to pinch myself to wake-up from this nightmare of living in America & neglected. The damage is done already, 5 weeks without income, Army Vet, Multiskilled guy who lost his job due to downsizing.
    Tired of writing to my Reps and others, they are deaf, dumb & blind.
    Excuses don't stop bill collectors & utility companies. My dignity & pride is shaterred to bits, being supported by a disabled sister. I'll be searching for a free haircut and walking ten miles to a job interview (bussing tables) this week. I have no choice. Ionly wish that someday these political "idiots" will experience the same or similar situations. They would all be kicking & screaming!

    July 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  17. Gloria

    It just amazes me that there are NOT more news stories about this situation. You have people fighting for our lives, truly!!! My heart breaks for all of is beyond scarey!!!! Come on CNN start doing some stories on the unemployed....we hear about Haiti, BP the War....we the unemployed are in a war all of our own!!!! Please Congress pass the extension guys go on less vacations, and stop throwing such lavish parties....and think of us before you go to sleep at night.....As we the unemploed are NOT sleeping very well lately!!!!! Come on CNN we need your attention!!!!! We need a support group, so we can help each other the people with there jobs, have NO idea what we are going through....even some family members who have jobs just say "GET A JOB"!!!! I usally stop talking at that point.....but only we the unemploed who are truly trying to find a job understands!!!!! I have stopped going to family please somebody out there...HELP!!!!!!!! Thanks in advance Have a Blessed DAy!!!

    July 13, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  18. Rick Torrecarion

    So we cannot afford to pay 33 billion to help the poorest Americans right now but the GOP now wants to run the deficit up now another 700 billion by giving tax cuts to all the richest Americans... whom all have jobs by the way...take from the poor and give to the wonder they are called the Grand Old Party

    July 13, 2010 at 4:00 am |
  19. trista

    of course it is important even for people like myself who have used all 99 weeks i still cant find a job and i am a single mom of 4 kids and i cant even get cash assistance from the state that i reside in cause when i was younger i used it all up so what do i do know to pay my rent gas in my car clothes on my childrens back never mind what i need cause im not important when i cant afford anything for my self and i have to rely on my dad to help me cause i have no one eles im trying to figure out how im getting school clothes for my children who are age 4,6,8,9 what do i do when i have no where to turn i walk to find jobs in my area cause i cant drive my car cant pay my insurance and i cant pay my bills so i think that even some of the 99ers that have not found work yet still need help cause if there are jobs out there that are going to hire me in my area please let me know HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHEN WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PUT THE CONGRESS PEOPLE IN OFFICE THEY ARE MAKING GOOD MONEY BECAUSE OF US BUT YET THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO HELP US BUT WILLING TO HELP OTHER COUNTRYS and if you cant find a job what am i suppose to do stand on a street corner we wonder why people disrespect themselves cause congress call unemployed people hobo's

    July 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  20. staffing service owner

    Unemployment benefits are abused frequently, contrary to what the average person thinks. We interview people all the time who are only coming in pretending to want a job because unemployment requires that they are actively looking. It wastes our valuable time (we already work 12 hours a day) and makes us feel like idiots – we're working like crazy and these folks are telling us point blank that they don't want to work until their benefits run out! It is infuriating.

    In addition, we have numerous examples of people who are claiming unemployment against our company and when we call them about a job or temporary assignment (they were temps with us to begin with), the refuse the assignment because "working is too stressful." Obviously we report these folks to unemployment and they get their benefits cut off but this takes more of our time. Recently a former employee who is claiming unemployment against us left a 2 month assignment after two days because "her neck hurt." When I tried to get her off of our unemployment, I lost because,as the unemployment office told me, she is now "ready to work." What crap. I haven't made one penny in the past two years, have worked like a slave, and have managed to survive this recession. To see folks abuse the system makes me ill.

    On the other hand, we have a lot of honest, hard working folks who are very anxious for us to find them a job. And, we haven't been able to help everyone. We haven't fought any of the legitimate unemployment claim (where the candidate is actively looking for work and accepts assignments, no matter how long or short the duration). We have legitimate claims against us and we are paying 400% more for our unemployment taxes this year than last year which is costing us thousand and thousands of dollars.

    So, I believe that unemployment benefits are a very important safety net for society, especially at this time but there is a lot of abuse of the system and to pretend there is not is childish.

    July 11, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  21. TeresaTDB

    PamelaSW I love your post. You are so right on target......"I have worked for 22 years and my employers have paid the $7000 a year for me in FICA. So that's approximately $150,000 paid on from me working. Who got all that?"

    I'll tell you, that while you paid this, all other unemployed paid the same, more, or less. Several billion dollars. If you alone paid $150,000, that is almost your Republican parties wages a month. While they were hired to represent the best interest of the U.S. citizens. I hardly say this was representation at all.

    I would, however, say, the republican party (hereinafter "they") "uses" and "abuses" working America. They always vote to help big business by less control, and against the working man which businesses kill us with trumped up illegal charges/raised interest rates in their loans to us, later wiping out the economy, they created laws allowing big business to walk all over working American, they caused allowance for big business to crash their own business to smithereens, they caused millions of lost jobs, they paid out big bucks to big business to pick themselves up and dust themselves off, they caused the Unemployment Extension bills to fail for the unemployed American after putting you here. They caused you to go hungry and without rent/mortgage payments, They called you lazy, drunken, drub addicts and then kicked you to the curb.

    IT IS TIME TO TAKE THEIR WAGES AWAY. We didn't pay for this garbage when we voted them in and paid them wages to care for OUR COUNTRY. This denial of Unemployment benefits is so backward!!!! We earned our way until THEY caused the loss of our jobs. Vote Democrat – straight across the board, get rid of the drunken, drug addict, sex addicted Republicans. Give the Democrats a chance to prove to America, this country belongs to all of us. All man created equal!

    Hey Republicans.... how does it feel to be called something you are not.... that is, if you are not.

    July 10, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  22. Jane

    Hope they enjoyed their long weekend while the rest of us wondered how to put food on our tables.....

    July 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  23. Roberta

    I have a great idea?!!! How about all americans put in the ballot and see if that when we vote next time and complain that these BIG GUYS in the White House, take a pay cut and make it a rule you can not make more than a middle class income and when it comes to that one day they lose their job, they will get a taste of our fustration! we are seeing now in our country and stop sending jobs over seas!!! too.
    It's time we the americans do something what happened to the "We do for you" not you for us. Thats what every President says!!! Although President Clinton did have his act together!!!!! we were not in a hole llike we are now. My hats off to him!!! and who cares what he did in his personal life...... it's not like every person in the white house is innocent!!! they're those you scratch my back i'll scratch yours! in a hush hush way.

    July 10, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  24. Bioseh, Maryland-USA

    The argument being made that UE benefits encourage docility is flat out heartless. In a good economy that argument may hold water.

    I know families that were hard working and would never take a hand out from anyone and to deny them this basic dignity, speaks to how inhuman our society has gotten.

    I am a Republican and refuse to accept the fact that the party is generally being tagged as not caring about the middle class. Most small business owners in my estimation are middle class folks.

    I believe that most Americans are very proud and would not want to be on UE, if they can help it. We must be careful not to dehumanize our fellow citizens.

    July 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  25. B.S.

    Some of the comments on here are flat out disturbing. I am a married mother with three children. Both my husband and myself are hard workers and have always been productive members of society. When my husband was layed off, we were so grateful to atleast have the Unemployment. But as the months continued on, we found no jobs. None...There are on average of 100 applications for every position. We got more nervous every week. Well, here we are, no more unemployment benefits and still can't find a job. Why is it that we can pay into this fund every week our entire working lives and then when we need OUR money, we are told we can't have it. That we only get a portion of it back. I am at a loss. We are left with no money and no food. We have lost our cars, we have sold valueables and were still grateful because we still had a home to live in. This will not be the case next month. How do you look yourself in the mirror? Where do you turn? How do you turn to your seven year old, twelve year old and fifteen year old and tell them that they won't have a place to sleep in a few weeks. We have nowhere to turn for shelter. What do we do? When did it become o.k. to turn your back on your own people? How did this happen to us?

    July 10, 2010 at 3:07 am |
  26. Granny

    Let' just play the above issues will be resolved next week when the senate reconvine. These are critical issues and moments.

    July 10, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  27. Jace

    To: Mr. Tanner,

    You sir, are out of touch.

    I am a broadcaster and writer with over 16 years on the air. I have been on unemployment now for over a year and a half. THERE ARE NO JOBS. I have severe medical treatment for an ulcer and several dental needs that are not being met because I can't afford it. I am looking for jobs in every related field to my exprience in and out of the country. After sending out THOUSANDS of packages, I have recieved less than a dozen responses. I hope you get taken down from your psuedo educated high horse and are dropped squarely into the real world of economic downfall that people like me are having to unwillingly embrace.

    It is people like you and your ideals that helped get us here in the first place, I only hope that you will feel the retribution of your actions and thoughts that you spread.

    As for your claims that the unemployed are pocketing the money given, know this: $450 a week does nothing when your outgoing commitments are over $600 a week. Minimum payments on cards and loans do nothing to help recovery.

    I have been diminished to accepting many projects for little or no pay just to stay active in my field. I have even taken some temporary positions that have paid minimum wage. It was these projects that complicated my unemployment benefits and forced me to default on many accounts due to the decreased benefit recieved by taking such positions.

    Now, ALL my benefits are stopped. I am out of time, money and patience. My American Dream has been squashed and my only recourse is not a viable one.

    You sir, are the problem, not the solution.

    Here's my question: when was the last time you were forced to work for minimum wage in ANY capacity? Until you do so, you have no right to speak on the plight of those that are forced to.

    July 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  28. Steve Willems

    I am one of the millions who have been cut off. I have been trying to find work. I have worked and paid taxes ever since I graduated High School and before. I had a night job while I was in High Scool . I have always been proud of my work record. I have nothing but an exelent work history. Now none of that matters with the way things are. I feel for the millions of you who are in the same boat. All that we can do is to keep trying, stay proud and dont ever give up. Do your best, thats all you can do. I ask you to remember when you go to the polls in November, dont ever forget what these republicans have done by blocking the unemployment extension. They do not care about us, they only care about themselves. Stay strong and dont let them get you down, you are way better than they they are. I pray for each and every one of you who have been suffering.

    July 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  29. Sharon

    My husband has been out of work for 20 months (no longer receiving unemployment benefits), Unfortunately, if he even receives a response to jobs he applies for, he sees at least 200 people applying for one job. No chance a 60 year old will have a shot. It's a shame that your experience counts for nothing as you get older. Obama's policies will just continue to kill jobs. Now – the Republicans came up with an alternate way to pay for continued unemployment benefits – pay for it from the unused stimulus funds. Do away will the pork, and there is plenty of money left to continue helping unemployed

    July 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  30. Taxpayer

    Unemployed for a year. Dumped by JPMorgan Chase who off-shored our entire department to India! Am constantly told I am over-qualified where ever I can get anyone to even accept an application, resume or speak to me. Multiple degrees and too much experience. Let our legislators try to live on ZERO income! My lifetime of taxes has been paying their salaries and benefits and now their nice long holiday while how many decent citizens who can NOT find work will be evicted, lose their cars, their homes, go hungry and have their credit demolished because they look "financially irresponsible" when they can not pay their bills? Every job I have chased and lost since the late 90's has either been off-shored to India by corporate anti-American fat cats or handed over to green carded aliens from India or China. Three unemployed generations under one roof now. Absurd. We are NOT bums.

    July 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  31. CHEF J


    July 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  32. Jack Crow

    I suppose the quickest fix to solving the unemployment problem is to move those who have exhausted their benefits into public service. The military having first refusal. This would free-up able-bodied servicemen for deployment and return a benefit for monies expended. Most unemployed have vast experience and proven work ethics. The offer being accept the service or be terminated from unemployment. The real question is does congress have the will to solve America's unemployment problem?

    July 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  33. AL

    I would still like to express my viewpoint on the upcoming unemployment extension bill.

    Stopping the federal extension of unemployment benefits to millions of Americans will have a direct effect on our country's economy. Many states have double digit unemployment rates. This should send off a red warning light that our economy is not yet fully recovered from the Great Recession of the last few years. Millions of normally hardworking Americans are still out of work! We have permanently lost many jobs and some occupations. The real estate and banking industries have not recovered. (2 of my local banks have just entered FDIC receivership) The construction industry which once employed millions of workers has not recovered. Every year there are fewer American based manufacturing plants, all of which adds up to fewer and fewer jobs available for American workers.

    Yes, I do agree that job creation should be at the top of the list, but if you just shut off the emergency extensions of federal unemployment benefits – millions of Americans like me will lose whatever meager possessions we have been able to hang on to through this Great Recession. For me being an older worker with 2 college degrees and over 20 years of solid work experience the jobs are no longer there.

    My suggestion is to go ahead and extend unemployment benefits through the end of 2010, and in the meantime, use stimulus funds to help create new small businesses through the Small Business Association. Many unemployed workers have the knowledge, fortitude and need to create their own small business. However under current guidelines millions of us – the long term unemployed and survivors of the Great Recession are unable to get small business loans. Our greatest causality has been our credit scores. Please give Middle America more time to find a job and a new way to create jobs and help us end our long suffering of joblessness.

    July 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  34. PJS

    All of the people that are in favor of extending unemployment benefits
    and need to blame the Republicans for the situation, you've been
    bamboozled again. The Republicans have stated, repeatedly, that
    they are willing to pass the extension if it is paid for with money from
    the ever-so-successful "Stimulus package." But the democrats, in
    congress, don't want to use any of the dollars in their union payoff
    slush fund to pay for unemployment. So, tell me how much the dems
    care about the unemployed after Clinton and his sub-prime plan
    cause this recession and helped to put them 'out of work.

    July 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  35. Christine J

    Please...please...please....Start calling all the Rep's in the House, the Senator's in Congress, and/or the President! Their contact information can be found over the internet....I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I HAVE! We need to keep contacting them many many time prior to July 12th, so when Congress votes on the extensions....they will finally PASS IT!

    TRUST ME....CALL THE GOVT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN...this is the only way we are going to get through to them!

    Again, this does help for I have had responses back from both the President and my local State Senators, but I still keep contacting them, and maybe....just maybe I can make a difference just as you all could as well! Good luck and God Bless!

    July 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  36. Jack

    The real question is where is the money? How deep in debt is this government willing to go and what does increasing business taxes and mandates do to job creation? With new requirements for manditory benefits the cost of doing business in this country is going to go up. Someone is going to have to pay these bills plus interest; any volunteers? What happens when the US is a credit risk?

    July 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  37. Karen

    I was laid off April 2008 from the real estate industry (which I worked in for 24 years making about $75k that last year) and I've searched and searched for a new job pretty much doing anything.....and guess what, NO LUCK!! So I went back to school (at night, so I could still try to find a full-time job) and should be finished by December 2010 with my associates degree as an Echocardiogram Technologist.........AND now I'm wondering if I'll be able to find a job doing that since I'm hearing that the Dallas/Ft Worth area is totally saturated with techs just like me......and guess what again......THEY ALL HAVE EXPERIENCE and I'm just going to be a 44 year old graduating student! I'm so discouraged and pray that I'll be able to find at least a PRN job to help pay the mortgage we have. We have depleted all of our savings and 401k savings so there is no more there to rely on. We need HELP from Congress!! I bet they couldn't go from living on $75k to $20k per year like I have done since April 2008????? P.S. My husband was laid off in June 2009, but thank God he was able to do odd jobs for a few months until he was hired again full-time in October. It's definately been a tough 2 years and I hope all this "mess" is over very soon!!!

    July 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  38. richard kirkpatrick

    the simple answer is to vote all the incumbents out

    July 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  39. MaryK

    I too lost my job last fall because the company folded! I have paid in to this system continuously for 40 years. I have now lost my home thanks to this situation and this horrid economy. Where I live there are very few jobs and the high tech industry is only interested in YOUNG folks. My 20+ years of experience in the industry is not valued and is considered out of date. At 59, I am not the person they want to hire. Losing these benefits could very well put me in a homeless shelter IF there is any room there either.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  40. Kris

    Unfortunately I know of a few people who are collecting UI and are not looking for work.. they feel as if they've paid their dues and also, they're arguing that the jobs out there aren't worth getting off unemployment for. In AZ, it is a measley $220 a week- this should motivate people to look for work, but in OH, unemployment is alot more and the cost of living is even lower than here in AZ. I've heard unemployement being alot higher in other areas and this is where the valid arguments lie- why look for a job when someone can collect $350-$500 a week on unemployment. I am thankful I have had my government job for several years or else I'd be looking for work too and dealing with this headache. The people that are truly looking for work and want to get out of their situation have my sympathy. But you always have the milkers too. Our federal government needs to quit allowing jobs to go overseas to India, China, etc and make it more affordable to run a business here in the USA. Worker's comp insurance is high, along with OSHA and other liabiities. The government can't create jobs-the government needs to help create favorable conditions so that companies can start hiring again... some tax breaks and reduced insurance costs is a start. Also, if you can't pass a drug test or you have a criminal record and/or felony convictions, that will make it even more difficult to get hired. There's always a small group of people who fall into this category and have major cour grapes towards people like me. Everyone needs to do what they can to get hired.. get off the dope if it helps and stay out of trouble. I work for a large law enforcement agency and drug arrests and certain convictions are a big deterrant in getting someone hired in an already very tough and competitive job market.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  41. John Q. Public

    Well since there is still no work to be had until the fall, I'd think that alot of people will be applying for welfare.... so maybe extending unemployment would be a good thing for a few more months since a rising welfare rate is much worse...

    July 9, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  42. linda

    Did you ever notice it's all the people employed that are making the decision on the poor that are without jobs. Lay all the law makers off if they can not keep their lifestyle or feed their famliy they may think twice about denying the laid off benifits. Most Americans hate being unemployed. What is this supposed to be fun? I missed the part of the joke where I was to laugh sorry.

    July 9, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  43. Dee

    Really how long do people expect to stay on unemployment 99 weeks is way too long, if you can't find a job in two years you are either stupid or not looking. I was on unemployment once in my life for 4 weeks and I considered that too long. I think some people need to lower there standards and look for a job and not care what the job is. I saw an article that employers don't want to hire long term unemployed people, and I can't blame them, someone sitting home and collecting unemployment for 2 years is not really employable, but instead gaming the system..

    July 9, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  44. Nita

    Unemployment benefits help if you are in the habit of eating.

    July 9, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  45. SLS

    FICA is withheld for Medicare and Social Security. Unemployment taxes are paid by the employer and it is illegal for an employer to "charge" the employee for this. As employees, we do not contribute to unemployment, our employers to.

    July 9, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  46. Tom

    1. Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for this situation.
    2. The government discourages employment by making it near impossible for the ordinary person to CREATE employment for themselves – running their own business. So many people are discouraged by accounting, environmental, certification/licensing bureaucracy, that they won't start their own business. The government needs to make it easier for the unemployed to employ themselves.
    3. Also the unemployed need to stop looking to the government or a corporation to GIVE them something. If you have months unemployed, make an effort to go thru the mess I mentioned in Item 2 above.
    4. There has to be a limit to the amount of unemployment you can collect. Unemployment is not lifelong welfare.

    July 9, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  47. scott

    Its not that the unemployment checks discourage a job search. In fact, they encourage just that...... a search – that's it. If you really want to light a fire under somebody's behind, make them accept a job they're "too good for" in order to continue their benefits. That way, they are motivated to put a plan together – a plan which includes the possibility of leveling their ego. This will ultimately benefit them as a candidate for their "real" job, anyway.

    July 9, 2010 at 6:31 am |
  48. Sam

    For those who think that what one receives from unemployment would discourage people from looking for a job. That's totally nonesense. First, you have to have jobs out there for us to look for. Second, what they pay from unemployment will not be enough to cover house payment or rent, food, utilities, and out-of-pocket insurance for health care. For Republicans who are so concerns about the deficits, why didn't they think about that before going to war in Irag. I hope we vote all the Republicans incumbents seeking re-election this come November out of office. So that their staffs and aides start collecting unemployement and be on the other side to feel what's it like.

    July 9, 2010 at 2:45 am |
  49. unemployed with new child

    I have been working my whole life and recently let go because of company downsizing. This was four months ago. We lost everything. We're lucky that my mother-in-law let us move in. I was let go right after the birth of my first child. Unemployment doesn't cover anything. It's not motivation to sit around. I have been searching everyday-there's not any jobs out there during this economy. I think it's stupid to say that people earning these benefits by paying taxes are just enjoying a vacation. It's very stressful. I agree that it should be people before politics. I don't care what party you belong to-there are families suffering all around you.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  50. kc

    I have a masters degree in education and was laid off due to cutbacks etc last year. I too have looked for work and to no avail have found nothing. I've applied from secretary to banking to education and there just isnt anything out there right now. So to assume that we are lazy is ridiculous. AMERICAN's should come first and politics need to be set aside to ensure we survive. Food pantrys are running low too. So our benefits need to continue. As does federal stimulus funds, especially to sectors in the labor force where americans have degrees to work, but there are few to no jobs to be had.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  51. colleen belcher

    ps. i have no problem with taking a drug test, i think that those of you who claim that we are all spending our unemployment on drugs would be amazed to see that over 90% of us would pass a drug test, but how many in the senate or congress would. would the percentage be higher for the unemployed who fail, or for congress and the senate? Hey here's an idea instead of unemployment, how about you authorize 500,000.00 for me to take a useless pole to see who's percentage would be higher, all of us who are unemployed are willing to take the test, how about all of you.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:08 am |
  52. colleen belcher

    while all the other companies were cutting back employees and laying people off to stay afloat, and the politicians were complaining about the budget, and now being tight fisted with unemployment extensions, which yes are very much needed and minimal compared to what we were getting while working, i would like to see some of those govt. jobs cut to save the budget, lets start with all your secretaries and aids for all of you congressmen and senators. but then you all probably wouldn't even mind that as long as you were still getting paid..... which one of you would like to step up with half of your salary to help out another family in these trying times.......

    July 8, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  53. Mike

    A lot of people simply don't want to take a job with lower pay then they were used to earning. It is probably best to not extend jobless benefits. There are always jobs at Wal-Mart, McDonalds, etc. Take the lower job and work your way back up. The economy has changed and people need to adjust, not permanently live off the government handouts.

    July 8, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  54. shell517nj

    No mention of a solution if there are no jobs for the unemployed. How are people suppose to live until jobs become available again?

    July 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  55. Renee L

    If the Senate does not pass unemployment extensions, we will be forced to go on Welfare. Even just a few weeks without unemployment
    destroys the little hope we have.

    The Senate and Obama ought to coerce manufacturers who employ overseas to return to the US to create more jobs.

    If the Gov't can bail out billion dollar companies, it certainly should be able to assist it's citizens until they can find work. Where are all the Recovery Act jobs? We sure don't see many out here in California. The only signs I've seen are on the Freeways where CalTrans is making improvements.

    Perhaps the Senate needs to take a hard look at the decline in our economy and come up with a serious Recovery Act plan. Perhaps a suggestion to Congress could be to gather a group of the brightest and most successful business minds in the country and come up with an employment plan.

    The problem is with all the unemployed I've talked to is that there are jobs – but there are 30 to 500 applicants per job!

    July 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  56. tina

    As a 57 yr old woman, living in a rural area, there are just no jobs here. Our unemployment in this county is running 15.7%. They say that is an improvement over the 18.5% from March. Sure, it is picking season and the day laborers have gone to work picking crops. Everyone else is out of luck. My daughter is graduating from college as an elem. school teacher and she will probably have to work at burger king or mcdonalds to make ends meet. There just are not any jobs out there that do not require a 70 mile commute one way. At $8.25 an hour, you would be working just for the gas money. After working for 46 years, yes I started working when I was 11yrs. old, I think Ihave paid my dues and should not be denied the little help in keeping myself out of the poor house. It is a long time until Soc. Sec. will be available for me. Unemployment is the only avenue left to me and now that has been yanked out from under my feet.
    Won't be long before I will be homeless or living in a shelter. What a wonderful way for my country to treat those less fortunate than the members of Congress who get to go on vacation while people are going hungry!! Shame on you all!

    July 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  57. Mike L

    Ah yes, the Cato Institute, purveyors of "a thousand points of light" (Reagan/Bush), "a kinder, gentler America" (Reagan/Bush), or "Compassionate Conservatism" (Shrub). You betcha, these guys are really compassionate. That's why they have spent the last few decades actively trying to destroy the middle class. Shrub tried his best to issue the fatal blow to middle class families, and he has mostly succeeded. Welcome to the global economy. Welcome to the working poor. The race to the bottom is over, and we won.

    I have been laid off several times due to mergers, corporate bankruptcy, loss of government contracts, etc. These layoffs involved hundreds or thousands of lost jobs, including mine. I know what it's like to collect unemployment. If I did not get that (and I sure paid a lot into that fund) I could have lost my house, car, etc. I was raising three kids during those times. It would have been devastating. I can't think of ONE person that I was laid off with who decided to take a vacation courtesy of unemployment. In fact, most of the people I know who have lost jobs really bust their butts to find new jobs, including taking work far from home. That is happening right now. Personally, I worked 24/7 sending out resumes, making phone calls, faxing, etc. In two cases, I took a job so far from home that I had to stay away from home all week, only coming home every weekend or so.

    So much for the importance of keeping a family together, eh? Family values. Compassionate Conservatism. Horse poop.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  58. WHY

    Cooperate greed is responsible for high unemployment, because they are sending American jobs to Countries for their cheap exploited labor, so why can't Americans receive benefits for the many years they worked for these companies before they turned their backs on them.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  59. Ronnie Harper

    When I was laid of 10 years ago and my benefits were cut, Senator Murray read my letter on the Senate floor pleading with the government to extend benefits. But they did not. And it cost us dearly, we have been poverty stricken ever since. So I say no on these benefits since I didn't get them when I needed them badly, too. Not sure why we should change it today if 40 weeks was enough when I needed more. I've already asked my Congressman and Senators to ignore support for extending unemployment benefits so you guys can scratch and starve with me and my family.

    July 8, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  60. PamelaSW

    I was on extended unemployment (SEB) and was approved for 20 weeks at $330 a week. After 3 weeks of thes benefits my funds just totally quit. I received my notice that June 5th was going to be my last check on June 10th. I have worked for 22 years and my employers have paid the $7000 a year for me in FICA. So that's approximately $150,000 paid on from me working. Who got all that?

    All these representatives take a week off, with pay I am sure, while 2.1 million people have no income at all.

    I searched for a job the first year of my benefits and to no avail I was no longer qualified for my field without at least an associates degree in accounting. I decided to go to college. This met all unemployment requirements to keep receiving benefits. Now my funds have stopped and I have had to change to online classes and fewer classes which will take me twice as long to complete my degree causing me a longer time in finding employment.

    I don't qualify for Georgia State Funds because I was told I am in college. I was told to quit college and I could get foodstamps and medicaid. So do I stay uneducated and live off others tax dollars or do I finish my degree, get a good job and pay taxes....

    July 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  61. DaleH

    What planet does Mike Tanner live on where unemployed people save money? How dare he laugh at our situation? What an evil minded heartless human being. Unless, of course, he is from Mars.

    People like him are nothing but oppressors whose opinions, if acted out, would be crimes against humanity. Yes, I am definitely comparing him to Hitler and Stalin.

    July 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  62. guest

    I've applied for everything from a secretary, administrative assistant, to someone who cleans up at Denny's. I live in a rural area where jobs are scarce, and there are up to 25 people for every one position. I'd rather work than collect UE, but I have a 12 year old to support. I'm already living in a $65.00 apt (downgraded from $2,000) and still can't afford the necessities. My last check was on June 12th. What next – living in my car? I can't even afford gas to get to interviews. Help!

    July 8, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  63. Unemployed

    Suicide is starting to look good for many. Who will miss them? Republicans with probably see it as the economy working itself out.

    They are a heartless bunch..

    July 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  64. Chris2012

    Lawrence Michel knows what he is talking about. Mike Tanner is completely out of touch how the Middle Class have been effected by the 10 years of Bush Administration.

    Unemployed Americans are trying to keep their head above water with UI Ext that are a considerable less then their career jobs provided. The unemployed are using savings, stocks, 401Ks.

    Today's unemployed Americans are considerably different than how M Tanner discribes. M Tanner accused Lawrence Michel of "Old Fashion" thinking, if anyone has out-of-date thinking is M. Tanner. Mike Tanner is speaking the same ignorant talk that his GOP Senators are speaking in regards to USAs unemployment insurance extensions crisis.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  65. Linda

    I was laid off for 25 ms & exhausted my unemployments benefits 4 ms ago so I had to take a part time job making half of what I was making an hour to put food on the table.
    No jobs in Ma. & employers don't want someone 60 yr old when they can hire a kid from college making less than what they should be making but needs a job too.

    July 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  66. kcsam

    To suggest that $300 a week would prevent someone from going back to work is simply ludicrous. Does anyone really believe this? Of course not, it's just a crass political ploy.
    If you're still looking for work (and who isn't??) I've been hearing great job search advice on the internet radio show at

    July 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  67. Gerry

    Put People before Politics! no more delays, please!

    I am not lazy. I do not do drugs. I have paid my taxes for over 30 years. I pray & I vote.

    I lost my job last fall and have been looking desperately for a job. It is NOT that I am not looking & I did not lose my job due to wrongdoing-it was a cutback in my company.

    I am 50 years old and taking care of an ill parent who lives with me. I am out of options financially. My only income has been unemployment. I have used all credit & savings. I have an interview in 2 weeks and no money to get there. My rent is late now & utilities overdue.

    Without an unemployment extension I will lose my house, as my landlord needs the payment to pay the mortgage. The landlord will miss at least on month of rent if I have to move out because it takes time to find a new renter. My parent will have to go to a nursing home, which will cost the government (through the VA or Medicaid) much much more than the unemployment I was getting. I will be homeless as I have no other family.

    I also have medical issues that I have not had the money to address. Any care or food that I would get would have to be government or charity & those resources are extremely limited. With no home or car it becomes even more difficult to find a job. No address, no clean clothes no phone.

    I was earning over 70000 a year before this. I did not "blow" the money on luxuries. I was caring for two other ill relatives who have since passed away. It took all of my savings, but did keep them from being a "burden" on the government.

    I have been a responsible citizen and I do not want welfare. I don't like being on unemployment but I did work for 30 years and paid into the "unemployment insurance" system and paid taxes.If you paid for medical insurance and your claim was denied in spite of desperate need you would be outraged-but that is what is happening to the million plus unemployed Americans.

    I did not vote to bail out banks, automakers, or to send so many jobs overseas. I did not vote to give oil & gas companies tax breaks and incentives.

    Now that I am the one who needs help our elected officials are saying "NO".

    A very sad day in America

    July 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  68. Esperanza siempre

    Otra vez digo que alguien debe traducirles este mensajes a esos SENORES que no sabes por lo que estamos pasando los desempleados en este momento y saben porque, porque ellos tienen sus mesas llenas de comida y no tienen preocupaciones de amanecer al otro dia en la calle porque no pudieron pagar sus rentas, porque las personas o empresas que nos rentan no les importa si ud tiene dinero o NO, si no paga afuera, asi mismo es por eso quiero darle las GRACIAS a todos los del Congreso por retener y querer parar esta ayuda que al menos estamos recibiendo para poder continuar comiendo bajo nuestro techo con nuestras familias. que DIOS los llene de mas comida y mucha PAZ INTERIOR.

    July 8, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  69. Jim H.

    I don’t understand why this is even an argument. Of course unemployment benefits help. How can I go on interview without clothes on my back, or gas in my car? How can I keep my security clearance if I can’t pay my bills and my credit goes bad? Who will hire me once I can no longer pay my rent and have no permanent address? As far as the argument that people won’t be motivated to find work must have never had to collect unemployment; it is a fraction of your last four quarter income. Another issue with is that we pay into unemployment INSURANCE benefits with our taxes (FICA). What right does the government have to take away INSURANCE we paid for while working to fund corporate bailouts to banks that created this problem to begin with?

    July 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm |