Today, the unemployment checks for about 1.3 million Americans will be cut off. Why? Because the Senate allowed an extension of jobless benefits to die yesterday.
The nation’s ever-growing deficit has everyone spooked, according to a Wall Street Journal article today, so the politicians cut off “the federal cash spigot.”
There’s been a growing PR line out there that people love unemployment so much they stay out of work so they can rake in the big bucks.
Do any of the politicians who are vocal against extending benefits check know how much their own states pay in unemployment?
Let’s take John Linder, a Republican from Georgia. He thinks all you jobless folks out there are “purposely staying unemployed so that they can continue to be propped up by the American taxpayer as long as possible.” That’s what he told the Wall Street Journal yesterday.
Well, according to the Georgia Department of Labor:
Effective July 1, 2007, the minimum is $44 per week. The maximum is $330 for claims filed on or after July 1, 2008. The amount an individual will receive is based on the amount of wages earned in the base period.
Maybe there should be a new reality show called, “The Real Jobless Housewives of Atlanta,” so out-of-touch politicians there can see that unemployment checks don’t fund lavish lifestyles but help hard-working Americans survive during what is one of the toughest times in their lives.
Let’s do some math. Turns out the average rent in Atlanta is $867. If a jobless worker got the maximum in unemployment benefits, that’s $1320 a month. So, after paying rent they’ve got $453. With that, the person could buy three bottles of Dom Perignon if they wanted, leaving a grand total of $63.
I’m going to guess Linder doesn’t think that’s enough money to prop up anyone, even the champagne guzzlers he thinks are taking advantage of the system. And even though Sen. Orrin Hatch from Utah thinks you’re all out there smoking dope and has proposed drug testing the unemployed, chances are you probably can’t afford too many dime bags on unemployment either. (Thanks for pointing this out Amy.)
Most people I know are hard working, want to make an honest paycheck, and never, never, ever want to be propped up by our government or taxpayers. Most people I talk to are desperate to find work but can’t find jobs.
This cessation of benefits is going to hit those out of work for six months or more the most, and that’s probably the type of person who needs the help the most. Given the measly amount of money most states provide in jobless benefits, which are taxed by the way, many of these folks have been drawing down their savings, if they had any real savings at all.
If you don’t want to extend benefits because you’re “spooked” by the deficit, don’t, but don’t use lame excuses to make yourself feel better Mr. Linder.