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“Petty, hurtful and unnecessary….”

The editorial board of Raleigh’s News & Observer weighs in this morning on the General Assembly’s plan to slash the amount and the duration of unemployment benefits for jobless workers to more quickly repay a $2.5 billion debt to the federal government.NANDO1

The paper notes the plan, which sailed through the legislative Revenue Laws Committee on Tuesday, amounts to “treating the unemployed residents of this state more as enemies than victims.”

Here’s more from the N&O’s pointed editorial:

‘It will take a toll on families dependent on those benefits to stay in their homes and to put food on the table. And it seems to be advancing as the legislature prepares to begin its long session at the end of this month.’

‘So what’s the point? Well, if the state does this to average citizens, the debt to the feds will be paid by 2015 instead of by 2018. For this, lawmakers are willing to hurt families in this way?

Yes, because without the cuts, the federal government would require that employers pay higher unemployment taxes, which would rise by $21 per year, per employee, until the debt was paid off.

Would that put a burden on some businesses? Surely it would. But it is a temporary burden, unlike a cut in unemployment benefits (benefits that hardly are generous to begin with) that could put families on the street.

And that result, which would be inevitable for some, would mean that those families would have nothing to spend with local merchants, thus hurting small businesses.

Paying off the debt over three additional years would allow the unemployed to avoid desperation and poverty, letting them hold on to a financial flotation device, a temporary one.

And let’s not buy into the argument from some cynics that cutting benefits would be some kind of encouragement for people to look harder for jobs. Most are looking. They want to work, and the average weekly payout of about $300 is hardly capable of putting them in the league of the rich and famous.

Republicans in the General Assembly do not have to do this. The rush to pay off the debt is foolhardy if it means that families in this state who are trying to recover from a financial setback they could not have anticipated will themselves be set back, again. ‘

You can read the full editorial here.

5 Comments


  1. jlp75

    January 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

    The republicans can’t even maintain a consistent rationale for he high unemployment it depends on the political convenience of the current situation. If we are discussing the President we hear “Obama failed so there are no jobs”, while in yet another discussion we are told “government can’t create jobs”. If we are talking about unemployment insurance all of a sudden “there are plenty of jobs but people are too lazy and would rather get a government check”. Which is it GOP? These are contradictory arguments that cannot all be correct.

  2. david esmay

    January 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    jlp, just look at the contradictory statements the GOP’s presidential candidate made, first he said “government doesn’t create jobs”, and in the next breath he said if elected he would “create 12 million jobs”. The simple fact is NC GOP politicians don’t give a damn about working class families in this state, all the legislation they propose only benefits corporations, and those benefits don’t produce more jobs, just more money for the corporations that own them, if they did our unemployment rate wouldn’t be among the highest in the nation.

  3. Frances Jenkins

    January 11, 2013 at 5:02 am

    This attack from the Progressive Pulse is straight from the Obama play book. Paint the other side as cruel, heartless and fighting for the rich. Ignore the truth about mistakes and abuses made by the Democrat administration in regards to unemployment insurance. If someone ask questions, they are a racists, uncaring and want to hurt the poor.Small businesses are choking with the extra cost added to them to pay for the unemployment mess. Shame! Shame! The history of waste and abuse with unemployment insurance in NC is not a pretty picture. The story is now about mean Republicans not waste and abuse.

  4. wncgirl

    January 11, 2013 at 9:25 am

    At least we don’t have to worry about McCrory not paying his minions well…. immediate and generous raises to all… but you slacker truck drivers, cops or EMTS that lost your jobs HA!!! you can live on under 300 a week….now that Frances is hypocrisy

  5. david esmay

    January 14, 2013 at 9:37 am

    McCrory/Gru, “Dr. Nefario, assemble the minions!”

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