A note on the unemployment extension

posted at 12:00 pm on December 12, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

There seems to be some continuing confusion over exactly what form the unemployment extension takes in the Obama-GOP tax deal.  On every occasion where I have discussed this, people have understood it to mean that unemployment benefits are being extended past the 99-week limit, allowing people to collect another 13 months of unemployment checks.  That’s not actually the case, which I have stated in two earlier posts this week but not as a standalone point.

The extension in this case applies to the entire program, not individual benefits.  Both Gabriel Malor and Calculated Risk have noted the difference.  The emergency federal benefits come in four tiers of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) that start when state-based unemployment ends, and the number of weeks available for aid depends on the unemployment rate within the state.  Half of the states qualify for both the full EUC (the first three tiers) and the full extended benefits (the fourth tier).

However, without this deal, EUC and EB both end within the next two weeks regardless of how many weeks of compensation people in the system have received.  This deal extends the two programs for another 13 months.  This will allow those in the system who have not yet exhausted their eligibility — up to 99 weeks in half the states but only 60 weeks in five — to continue receiving unemployment.

For instance, a person who has received the standard 26 weeks of unemployment from the state and another 20 weeks through the EUC will continue to be eligible for payments, up to another 53 weeks in half of the states.  Those who have already received 99 weeks, or whatever the maximum is for their state, will still be ineligible for any other unemployment compensation.  The caps remain in place, while the program continues for those who more recently lost their jobs or will lose their jobs in the near future.

There is still a substantial cost to this extension, and no one is sure at the moment whether the GOP will raid what’s left of Porkulus to fund it or not.  However, it is not an extension of benefits to those who have already received 99 weeks of unemployment, and many within the system now won’t qualify for 99 weeks in any event.


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NeighborhoodCatLady on December 12, 2010 at 12:29 PM

You are correct.

Unfortunately the bill no longer contains just the extension and the tax rate continuance. It’s a larded up pork fest that needs to be stopped.

dogsoldier on December 13, 2010 at 6:50 AM

I see the “the-unemployed-are-just-lazy-couch-sitters” crowd is curiously absent in a thread in which real people–honest, hard working Americans–share the reality that unemployment doesn’t match up to Limbaugh-inspired fantasies of the “good life.”

Grow Fins on December 12, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Your family, assuming someone as reprobate as you has one, must be so proud.

Inanemergencydial on December 13, 2010 at 8:59 AM

I see the “the-unemployed-are-just-lazy-couch-sitters” crowd is curiously absent in a thread in which real people–honest, hard working Americans–share the reality that unemployment doesn’t match up to Limbaugh-inspired fantasies of the “good life.”

Grow Fins on December 12, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Rush Limbaugh admits often that he’s been fired, out of work and broke before…or close to it.

The Founders never set up our government to fund people who are out of work.
Never.
We have the horrible situation now where 40+% of the population is sucking off the other 45+% that pay taxes and those enjoying the freebies are voting for their guys (the Dems) because they know they’ll keep voting them those benefits.
Such has been the political dynamic of the country since Wilson, FDR and LBJ.
It has got to stop.
We must return to conservative Constutional government before the rest of us are broke, too.

Jenfidel on December 13, 2010 at 9:53 AM

If you can’t find a job in your chosen profession in that length, it’s time to either choose a new profession or create your own job.trigon on December 12, 2010 at 12:36 PM

I quit reading this thread after your comment.
I hear many people who are out of work. They complain they can’t find a job.
Looking closer at many of them, it is revealed that they have not done all they can.
Like for instance:
Sell your home & move where there are jobs.
Change your job skills. Learn new ones.
Create your own job. Like for instance, I used my menial labor skills as a college student to do tree & lawn work in the Seattle area. I was never without work.

I see so many who are unwilling to make a change bcs maybe it takes them away from their families.
Maybe it would require them to move somewhere they don’t like.
Maybe the job seems demeaning.
And I know some will say “Oh I am old & no one will hire me”.
There are ways to make a living & take care of yourself.
My dad does it. He has no physical skills, but he learned web design on his own & maintains & designs web sites for people.
There have been many times I have been down & out, but have always found a way to care for myself.
Sometimes it means doing something you normally would never do.

Badger40 on December 13, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Going from kaing $42 an hour down to $17 an hour sucketh greatly. However, inbetween losing the $42 an hour job and getting the $17 hour job, unemployment keep me from losing my house. My credit cards got maxed to by medicine for my wife and Dad and food, so I’ve got NO wiggle room left. Over the last 3 years, I’ve been on unemployment 4 times usually for at the very minimum of 2-4 months. I’m a contractor (though I prefer full time) and the projects I was on had decent runs to them, but they do end. Such is the contractors lot in life. I’ve been without benefits for 4 years now and I’m tired. Tired of the worry, the foregoing of things I used to take for granted. But I am thankfull to GOD that I can still provide for my family through contracting. One day, hopefully soon, I’ll be back in the full time employed ranks with bennies.

I think we have at least another 4 years of this crap though. 2 more years of the Idiot-in-Chief, and the first two years of a new president. Hopefully a Republican, and hopefully Sarah Palin with a solid majority COnservative congress. Not the Neo-Con/RINO phucs we have now.

44Magnum on December 13, 2010 at 10:12 AM

You people all have sad stories, but I’m sorry: the government shouldn’t pay people unemployment.
It’s private and not their concern.
The government can’t create jobs and they shouldn’t pay for you to be out of work.
Read the Constitution.
There’s nothing in there about giving citizens money when they’re out of work or providing them work.

The minute the government does these kinds of things, they own you and your freedom, as well as the rest of ours, is compromised.

Jenfidel on December 13, 2010 at 10:30 AM

I’ve never collected unemployment (have paid it having been self-employed); but that doesn’t take away from the fact that most of us feel compassion for those who have found themselves in a bad spot. For all of you who are going through this, our family’s prayers are with you.

The important thing here is to make sure you and your family are as prepared as you can possibly be for sudden adversity – be it unemployment, illness, etc. Start now, you’ll be one day further along and it WILL make a difference.

NumberTwo on December 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM

The important thing here is to make sure you and your family are as prepared as you can possibly be for sudden adversity – be it unemployment, illness, etc. Start now, you’ll be one day further along and it WILL make a difference.

NumberTwo on December 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Very good advice. Especially for young people starting out. I’d hate to think where we would be if we had not lived below our means all these years and were frugal and saved our money.

Elisa on December 13, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Jenfidel on December 13, 2010 at 10:30 AM

I agree with you to a point. But the first 26 weeks of unemployment INSURANCE benefits you get from the state are just that. INSURANCE benefits. You pay into the fund for just such and emergency.

We don’t consider other types of insurance to be welfare when we collect them, like home owners or health insurance. And we don’t consider Social Security to be welfare either. People pay into it with a promise for the future. Many collect more than they pay into it. (Although if they had the money to invest themselves years ago, they would have more than what the stupid government return is.)

As for the federal extended benefits past the initial 26 weeks, that I agree with you. But with the government squandering so much money of causes far less important or to people less deserving or the endless waste and graft, it’s hard for me to get incensed that some unemployed people who have worked hard all their lives get a fraction of their normal pay from the government for a limited time (although one could argue long time in some instances.)

Hard for me to get upset about an extra year and a half of these socialist benefits to people who worked hard, when the liberal/socialist government I believe is to blame for the ridiculously high and unprecidented in modern times unemployment rate. Over 9% in NJ and this has lasted far too long. I blame the socialist mandates in bank lending and mandates and restrictions to businesses and Obama’s anti-business policies and beliefs that scare business for prolonging what should have been a short cyclical dip.

The government got us into this mess. Good hard working people are hurting. While some may be milking it, most aren’t. Most want work – any work, even at far below their normal pay (like my husband took for the last 6 years).

So I believe that in the short term, until the jobless rate improves, there are better places to cut initially. Then we can cut everything. Unless we cut everything immediately. I would be on board with that. But if we aren’t taking drastic cuts everywhere all at once, then before we allow hard working people who have been injured by the government policies to hurt more, then we need to cut other places first. At least for the next 2 years until we straighten this mess out.

And the over 9% unemployement rate in NJ and other places doesn’t even take into account the people who have been unemployed so long they don’t even figure in the numbers anymore or the young people starting out who never had full time permanent jobs yet. Or the underemployed people. The situation is far worse than the 9% figure reflects. And even “only” 9% is more than double what it was 3 years ago.

Elisa on December 13, 2010 at 1:24 PM

And I know some will say “Oh I am old & no one will hire me”.
There are ways to make a living & take care of yourself.
My dad does it. He has no physical skills, but he learned web design on his own & maintains & designs web sites for people.

Badger40 on December 13, 2010 at 10:08 AM

I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that your Dad did not start up that business in the last 2 years. And if he did, it is not generating enough money yet to support a family.

You are right about the things you say. Absolutely. Everything you said is true in normal times. But these aren’t normal cyclical downturns and it will take longer for most older men to find opportunities. Even in other fields or lesser positions or drastically lower salaries. Like OmahaConservative, my husband is 55 and has already cut his salary drastically 6 years ago. Now it’s hard to even find places to apply for at those lower wages.

And it is just plain harder for men who are near retirement age to get even these lesser positions. That’s just a fact. And starting up a new business in this economy can be done by a small percentage, but most will not be able to succeed for the short term.

Yes, in time all determined hard working people will come out of this.

But it is taking longer this time than other times. (Read my post to Jenfidel as to why)

Elisa on December 13, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Elisa on December 13, 2010 at 1:58 PM

I’m seeing exactly what you report and when I was interviewing earlier this year I still occasionally get the, “Oh, I see you’re a veteran…” question. What kills me is being interviewed by four or five folks here on an H1-B visa and never seeing a US citizen during the entire process.

I think we need to program, but not 99 weeks. Just telling someone to switch careers is fairly ignorant, imho, since none of you geniuses has the slightest clue HOW one can do that. Which isn’t to say it can’t be done or that it shouldn’t.

We need an unemployment strategy and tactical guide.

Chapter 1. How to tell if your career is over, ain’t coming back and what you can realistically do about it.

Sometimes it’s hard to come to grips with the whole situation. It was for me, but I didn’t quit looking either.

dogsoldier on December 13, 2010 at 2:46 PM

I think we need to program

Sorry, should read “I think we need the program”

dogsoldier on December 13, 2010 at 2:47 PM

What I am saying about the illegals is that the only way they are able to do that work is 1) lack of enforcement and 2) an indifference towards them because of their out-of-bounds abilities. What you’re suggesting is something I cannot support; you are suggesting that someone who has no right to be here is more valuable than someone who worked to get their citizenship.
sethstorm on December 13, 2010 at 12:04 AM

I don’t know how you get that out of my post it is in no way what I was suggesting. I am against illegals taking jobs here. I was merely pointing out that they overcome great obstacles to do so while many here would bitch and moan about the lack of opportunity.
tell the border hoppers there’s no opportunity they seem to disagree.

dhunter on December 13, 2010 at 4:21 PM

I wonder how many here are advocating the destruction of the social welfare net but don’t turn their sharp beady eyes on Farm welfare, corporate welfare, the mortgage industry welfare, tax credits for children, the military industrial welfare system. No all you can see is a few million people out of work, stuck in mortgages begging for enough money that they don’t loose their house. Yes..that’s totally not worth helping them out, luckily you all support homeless shelters and debtors camps.

Zekecorlain on December 13, 2010 at 4:35 PM

I wonder how many here are advocating the destruction of the social welfare net but don’t turn their sharp beady eyes on Farm welfare, corporate welfare, the mortgage industry welfare, tax credits for children, the military industrial welfare system. No all you can see is a few million people out of work, stuck in mortgages begging for enough money that they don’t loose their house. Yes..that’s totally not worth helping them out, luckily you all support homeless shelters and debtors camps.

Zekecorlain on December 13, 2010 at 4:35 PM

It’s sad to hear people here whine about how the unemployed, nearing almost 20% of the population, are a bunch of lazy no good reprobates leeching off the rest of society. Does anyone actually believe that when the real unemployment rate mushroomed from around 7% to nearly 20% that an entire 12% of the population suddenly became lazy?

These are real people, with homes and kids. It’s hard to imagine how dumping families into the streets is going to enable local economies recover. It’s hard to envision how extending tax cuts for the wealthy could have a stronger stimulative effect, yet no one seems to have a problem with giving the wealthy another break.

The Founders never set up our government to fund people who are out of work.
Never.

An observation to those who can’t comprehend the obvious- our founding fathers could not envision the complex nature of a modern capitalistic society, but would have been horrified by the type of worldwide depression that gave rise to fascism in the last century.

We have the horrible situation now where 40+% of the population is sucking off the other 45+% that pay taxes and those enjoying the freebies are voting for their guys (the Dems)

Then why do so many of the great capitalists, including Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, all support unemployment benefits? Don’t they share your vision of moral superiority and victimization? Or perhaps they come from stronger Christian families or hold sincere Christian values.

bayam on December 13, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Then why do so many of the great capitalists, including Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, all support unemployment benefits? Don’t they share your vision of moral superiority and victimization? Or perhaps they come from stronger Christian families or hold sincere Christian values.

bayam on December 13, 2010 at 7:54 PM

They also know something Jenfidel isn’t thinking of – a populace without any money and no hope of getting any money is a powderkeg waiting to explode.

To put things in business terms, it’s a lot cheaper for them to pay for unemployment checks than pay for extra police and riot cleanup.

Dark-Star on December 13, 2010 at 8:13 PM

My wife was in publishing for 25 years, 23 of them self employed. Two years ago the contracts she lived off of were shipped to India. Effectively my wife was unemployed but there would be NO unemployment because she was self employed.
To her credit she looked at the bleak job market and chose growing field, health care.
She enrolled in a two year community college program that would certify her in the health information technology field.
She graduates in May but will begin a work study “job” at a local hospital in January.
There are jobs out there, you need to be flexible and willing to exert effort to get to those jobs.
Some of these 99er’s need to get a clue to that truth.

FireBlogger on December 13, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Then why do so many of the great capitalists, including Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, all support unemployment benefits? Don’t they share your vision of moral superiority and victimization? Or perhaps they come from stronger Christian families or hold sincere Christian values.

bayam on December 13, 2010 at 7:54 PM

And here, the reprobate leftist jumps the shark.

STFU and get the F out of my pocket, leftist.

Nothing you advocate for is moral or superior. You advocate for thievery and call it compassion.

seriously, FU. Go live in CUBA.

Inanemergencydial on December 14, 2010 at 1:35 AM

Inanemergencydial on December 13, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Agreed. Please note the time of this post and understand this is my window of opportunity to view something other than paperwork, and receive a paycheck reduced 20% via “furloughs” and a 20% increase in forced deductions to maintain our medical coverage.

MSGTAS on December 14, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Inanemergencydial on December 13, 2010 at 8:59 AM

correction to previous post due to computer automation, the current time is 0335 am.

MSGTAS on December 14, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Jenfidel on December 13, 2010 at 10:30 AM

While it may be easy for you to dismiss it, there are plenty who cannot or will not.

FireBlogger on December 13, 2010 at 9:03 PM

While some of it is indeed “dead industry”, you seem to be eager to blame it on them completely. 5:1 on average, 200+:1 in more than a few cases for applicant:position ratios. That suggests that there is a problem that cannot simply be solved by a switched career. It suggests an unwillingness to do things that bring those ratios down over the long term, preferring desperation over competence.

sethstorm on December 14, 2010 at 3:11 PM

dhunter on December 13, 2010 at 4:21 PM

They may see opportunity, but only of ones that are largely closed to US citizens. That is, ones that are illegal in ways other than the person being there illegally. They may cross for opportunity, but we get more crime associated with it.

If you’re expecting US citizens to violate the law and put their lives in mortal peril for “opportunity”, then you have a very unconventional sense of that concept.

sethstorm on December 14, 2010 at 3:29 PM

When the government is mainly to blame for the economic conditions that put so many in peril it shares some responsibility for helping them out as they search for work. Its what Jesus would do… remember Him?

worlok on December 15, 2010 at 8:13 AM

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