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Unemployment Has Cost $319B In 3 Years

From CNN’s Money.Com:

Jobless benefits cost so far: $319 billion

By Tami Luhby, senior writer
November 17, 2010

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Unemployed Americans have collected $319 billion in jobless benefits over the past three years due to the federal government’s unprecedented response to the Great Recession, according to a CNNMoney analysis of federal records.

The cost of such benefits will be central to the heated debate in Congress in coming weeks over whether to extend this safety net for the fifth time this year. Lawmakers must act by Nov. 30 or two million people will start losing extended benefits next month.

The federal government has already footed $109 billion of the bill, and lawmakers are super-sensitive to adding further to the deficit. But advocates are turning up the pressure to extend the deadline to file for federal benefits.

In the end the federal government will end up paying the bulk of these costs, one way or another.

Regardless of what Congress does, employers big and small will be paying the tab for years to come.

Businesses traditionally cover the cost of state unemployment insurance and up to 20 weeks of federal benefits, which kick in when a state experiences high levels of joblessness…

Soaring unemployment has drained the state accounts that typically fund jobless benefits, forcing many states to borrow money from the federal government to cover their payouts. Currently, 31 states have $41 billion in loans outstanding.

Employers are responsible for replenishing these accounts and paying back the loans so their taxes are expected to skyrocket to $64 billion in 2015, up from $38 billion last year, according to the Labor Department.

Which is yet another way that employers are discouraged from hiring new workers.

Companies, however, are hoping to reduce their tax burden. They are lobbying Congress to waive certain penalties and interest related to the loans that will cost them more than $9 billion over the next two years

Which sounds nice, since we certainly want more employers to be able to hire employees. But if taxpayers end up paying for unemployment, people have to stop thinking of it as ‘insurance’ they paid into — when it is really just another welfare benefit. 

The jobless now receive an unparalleled level of support while they look for new positions. Benefits last up to 99 weeks, far surpassing the previous record, which totaled 65 weeks during the recession of the mid-1970s.

Some 8.5 million people are collecting unemployment insurance, including 4.8 million receiving federal benefits

Extended benefits are also good for the economy, advocates say. Any money the unemployed receive gets spent quickly to buy essentials, such as food and clothing, as well as to cover mortgage and car payments

Advocated like Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat Party leaders, who see unemployment as just another way to make more people dependent upon the government, which in turn gets them votes.

The rapid rise in jobless claims has emptied the unemployment trust funds in many states, forcing two dozen of them to increase their tax levies on companies in 2010. Some have raised their tax rates, while others have increased the wage base those taxes are levied on. Some have done both

The rising unemployment taxes make some employers think twice about expanding their payrolls, [said Douglas Holmes, president, UWC Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation, a business trade association].

"For every employee they hire, this is an additional cost they have to bear," he said.

So extending unemployment benefits might not be so good for the economy, after all. But who in their right mind thinks paying people not to work is good for the economy in the first place?

Still, the Democrat Party doesn’t really care about the economy or if people have jobs. In fact, they probably believe it’s a safer bet they’ll get their vote if they don’t have a job.

So extending unemployment benefits forever is a ‘win-win’ for them.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

19 Responses to “Unemployment Has Cost $319B In 3 Years”

  1. bill says:

    And then we are all going bankrupt and will have no more privileges than the average Kenyan who searches all day for something to kill and eat for dinner. Life in Obama-ville.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Add this $319B to the already spent $800+ billion and other “free money” that was sold to the people as immediately and absolutely necessary to “save the economy from a depression” instead of letting capitalism do what it does best in cycles.

    Some far more intelligent people than I have debated that point but for me, the worst of it would have been over, the economy would’ve leveled out and industries would’ve shut their doors or figured out how to survive by adapting instead of going about business as usual (or worse, as in: “The Volt”). Thank you, unions. Thank you, socialists. Thank you, all of those who think you can spend into prosperity. But that last one really doesn’t count because I don’t think any socialist in the nation actually believes that spending money can actually create money. It’s just too obvious that the only thing spending money does is create a dependency class and that’s what they wanted.

    So now we have one, in a very bad way and when the money tap is plugged, watch for rioting, looting, murder…all in the name of “social justice”. Hell, New Orleans was a walk in the park compared to what’s coming in the self-induced spending hangover that’s about to hit us in the face.

  3. rakkasan says:

    I have been unemployed since July and am on unemployment. I have sent out lots of resumes, and have had (fortunately) my share (much more than my unemployed ex-coworkers ) of interviews. However, I have always been the bridesmaid but never the bride – though I will keep plugging away until I get a job. My father (in his early 60s) has been out of work for over a year and is on the federal unemployment benefits. He, too, keeps plugging away. I just wanted to add something to the discussion – being on unemployment does not make one beholden to liberals. I am embarrassed (and occasionally angry) at not working, but being conservative is not a passing fad and my current unemployment does not make me any more inclined to sell my conscience to the other side of the aisle – even when extensions could help me and those that I love. Being unemployed makes me even more conservative. Congress not setting the tax rates and leaving early to try and save their jobs – when I don’t have have one – upset me more than the employed can fathom. It is criminal, and all of the Congresscritters that voted to adjourn without doing their primary purse-string job (they only passed it by one vote) should have all lost their jobs.

    • proreason says:

      My view on unemployment payments is that they come from a funded program, and the funding comes from taxes YOU have paid for years (as does the funding for virtually every government program). Yes, employers pay the taxes, but we all know that they simply build any tax they pay into the cost of goods and services, or reduce your wages by the same amount.

      So I don’t consider unemployment payments to be welfare or redistribution. They are a useful activity of government. One of few.

      Now, when the payments go on for a seemingly unlimited amount of time, you have to assume at some point that the payments are coming from general revenues, and the situation becomes more problematic. In unusual circumstances, some of that seems appropriate. But unemployment payments for 2 years seems beyond an appropriate amount of time, since, for some, the payments will be a disincentive to work.

      Even so, if I were eligible (for unemployment or any other government payout), I will collect, because there is no way that I will ever be able to get government services that even begin to approach repayment of the amount of taxes I will pay in my life.

      I expect that you, rakkasan and your father are in the same position, since society’s deadbeats are so infuriated by the opinions expressed on this website that very few stay long enough to make a comment.

      In summary, you shouldn’t be embarassed about getting what you have paid for many times over. It’s just common sense, no a repudiation of conservative principles.

    • Mae says:

      It’s always tough to determine why you are not hired for a position after applying. The more you’re turned down, the more you might question your appeal. What are some of the proactive efforts you can make to keep your confidence?

      Since we can all improve, take a class in self-improvement and positive thinking. Learn everything you can about the company you are contacting for employment. If you do not get the job, always follow up anyway with a thank-you letter. Also give thought to requesting a meeting with the human resources manager to determine where you might improve in order to get a position there. Networking is essential; try joining a club or religious group; members often discuss their companies and employee requirements. Skills need to remain sharp and up-to-date, and so volunteer at an organization where there is an opportunity to learn something new or even just for the camaraderie. Perhaps the volunteer organization would be willing to pay you a stipend for transportation or lunches. If your resume is too extensive and your work skills seem to render you as “over-qualified,” have two sets of resumes: one for jobs you really are qualified for and another for jobs which require less; leaving off work experience is not lying. Be willing to take an entry-level job at much lower pay and never ask about days off or sick leave. Send your resume to every temporary agency available in your city and surrounding areas. Dress appropriately. If you are female, absolutely no low cut blouses, tight skirts or spike heels, but instead wear a feminine suit or matching two-piece with a complimentary jacket. If you are a male, wear a dress shirt, tie, sports jacket and slacks or a suit. Always look well turned out. No messy hair just because it’s in vogue.

      Keep active every day. Make looking for a job your job, every day. No sloughing off. Know at the end of each day that you have done everything you could possibly do. Then take your unemployment check unapologetically. You have done your part.

    • canary says:

      If I had been trying to get a job at the chain of fast food where my 16 year old son tried, I’d have resorted to reverse racism as sweetly as I could. Such as, I can speak English. Basically, the only 16 year old’s getting hired are the teen girls. I pointed out, they look more mature, usually more mature, sweeter manners, more reliable, go ahead and slap me, but that is only thing I can think of. So, my son cut buzzed his hair and told a manager he likes putting a smile on customers faces (it just came out of his mouth)
      He also tried an expensive oriental coffee house. They don’t even bow when they serve the 12 dollar coffee. He told the boss he would bow and this would impress the customers, and the boss could say he actually had a white person working there, and could help the other chinese workers understand the rich white customers. sigh…. He is going to focus on education this summer, since our Obamanized school is worse than ever. Also, charitable work. That always looks good.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Pro, in a perfect world unemployment insurance is a great thing and yes, we the employed pay into it. But when past 26 weeks, the original limit, it becomes a drain on the economy and though I actually have a great deal of sympathy for those who are seeking work, I recall when I was unemployed and couldn’t find work and my UE insurance ran out. In fact, it was during these conflicts in the middle east and a certain hyphenated type told me that even though I qualified for extended UE payments, “Dat money be goin’ to da midduh-eees” he said in his very crisp, very well-spoken, clean, articulate manner. And then he laughed.

      True, the extended payments would’ve come from federal money. As it was I was doing odd jobs and doing what I could to get by, to include cashing in my retirement and paying my bills that way. But to no avail. Since 2005 I’ve found my feet again but it was a rough row to hoe. But this 99 weeks is ridiculous and a huge drain on the economy. However, the other edge of that sword is the fact that the government has done nothing to enhance the possibility of companies large or small from hiring additional employees and/or growing their business. So why go look for work if there are no jobs to be found?

      Obama has achieved his zero sum game and is quite proud of it. He was most likely told that with 10% unemployment, those who are on perpetual state money will always vote for socialists, thus keeping the socialists in power. That is what has worked (up until recently) in Europe, so he’s following that model, even if he’s too stupid to realize that’s what he’s doing. His manipulators are calling the shots for him but making it look like he’s the brain behind it all. In a massive undertaking that is reshaping the US economy, it takes many players. Thus, the root of Pe-loser’s statement that “unemployment checks are one of the best ways of stimulating the economy”. She let that slip out but it provided insight on how they really think.

      So the need to satisfy the criteria of keeping a certain number unemployed while keeping them satiated for not working…is satisfied. But, Americans are a curious lot. There are a great many more who would rather work than not work. The ones who don’t want to work have been around always and in the US it’s roughly 3-5 percent in real numbers. A guess on my part but that seems to be the going trend. However, there are a great more people out of work now than have been in a long time and they would truly like to get back to work and are doing what they can to get there. To further usurp the boy’s plan, many are seeking re-training and finding work in a field new to them. And they are doing fine. But that’s the exception rather than the rule, of course.

      Americans, by and large, would rather work than not. And that also irritates the boy. It doesn’t fit the socialist’s model. It frustrates their plans and hopefully, it will destroy them altogether when more and more people get angry at DC for intentionally doing harm to prevent hiring and new business growth.

    • proreason says:

      Rusty, we aren’t at odds at all.

      I’m not advocating unlimited unemployment, or even 2 years. Basically, I was just letting Rakkasan know that being unemployed isn’t something to be ashamed of. We’ve all been there at some point.

      Nevertheless, I intend to collect any gubamint check I can for the reasons stated above. Then I’ll do everything I can to evict the criminals who authorize them.

    • U NO HOO says:

      “Also, charitable work.”

      Seriously, I understand some volunteer work will get you a free lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Better than nothing.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      I meant to say I saw your point. Wasn’t trying to be argumentative, merely augment a point-of-view. You’re absolutely right, no shame in being unemployed. Usually it’s through no fault of our own unless we quit and that is a debatable issue, especially in turbulent economic times.

      rakkasan is doing it right and yes, as long as UE checks are available, it’d be foolish to not take advantage of them. But as you said, Pro, it’s a dichotomy that can frustrate the least ardent conservative. You addressed the issue of what the government elects to do with money…and largely they do what they think will gain them the most votes. Seems logical. But without a plan to incentivize business and hiring and growth, they have shown their hand. I truly think they would prefer to keep people on the dole indefinitely to gain as many votes as possible and to hell with the economy. As long as they can have their little fraternity and party like it’s 1999, so be it.

    • John The Builder says:

      16 months. That’s how long I have been collecting unemployment checks. It has been a long, frustrating time. I have been able to augment the weekly allotment enough to keep from having to obtain other assistance. Fortunately, the wife’s job carries the insurance, so we have not had to worry about that too much.

      Finally, today, this situation changed with a job offer. A good one. Now I hope I can remember how to work a 40 hour week!

  4. tranquil.night says:

    We all deserve the right to sit on the couch all day with the shutters down, smoking pot, playing video games and otherwise living in a programmed fantasy world. Rocking the clubs every night, drinking our faces off, popping whatever chemical into the body we can find. That’s the true pinnacle in life us lowly serfs can hope to obtain before our randomly allotted time here expires.

    Hey, a few centuries ago the unemployed wouldve been full time servants of the ruling class with even lower life expectency. At least today’s brood is philanthropic enough to let give them perks and care funded off of the dole of those rich greedy capitalists that unfairly stole their money from the poor.

    Zombie utopia, yay, thanks Demoncrap Party. Socialist society is just so wonderful at addressing the issues surrounding human life and community organization, why did we ever fight it?

  5. proreason says:

    I’d be curious to see a truthful accounting of where the funds for unemployment benefits come from, over a multi-decade period of time.

    Employers all pay state and federal unemployment taxes, and apparently there is some mechanism for employers to also contribute to unemployment payments for people they lay off beyond FUTA and SUTA.

    Somehow, I can’t quite see either the states or feds putting all that tax money in a “lockbox” like they do with our diligently protected FICA taxes.

    Since the article is from CNN, I don’t believe a word of it.

  6. Petronius says:

    November economic snapshot :

    • Unemployment (official) increased to almost 14.9M from 14.6M in prior month.
    • GDP growth anemic, reflecting growth in govt spending
    • after 2 years of Liberal tyranny and cram-downs the economy is weaker than in 2008.
    • we have by far the worst, most abusive, anti-business govt in US history
    • govt policies are unpredictable (except we all know they will be anti-growth)
    • lowest amount of capital investment by American business in 35 years
    • American businesses moving operations overseas to friendlier environments
    • Democrat spending remains out of control.
    • Deficit for fiscal year-end is $1.6T.
    • Executive depts are in the hands of czars and faceless bureaucrats who never managed anything in their lives.
    • Nerobama’s economic advisors and budget director have bailed out.
    • Nerobama’s chief of staff and national security advisor ditto.
    • $13.7T official debt.
    • country is bankrupt : real debt — which includes unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, pensions of Federal retirees, etc. — is four times higher than official debt, or about $176K per citizen.
    • home prices at a 6-year low
    • home values have lost 30% on average; $6 trillion in home equity has disappeared.
    • foreclosures at an all-time high, over 1M (2010)
    • home sales hit a 15 year low
    • new home sales recorded a 50 year low
    • 42.3M people on food stamps.
    • gold hit a record high over $1400.
    • silver hit a 30-year high.
    • copper and tin are at record highs, coffee 13 year high, cotton 15 year high, oil and agricultural commodities moving higher.
    • the bond market has reversed direction and is heading south in a hurry.
    • riots in Greece, France, and London are a reminder of what lies ahead.
    • Ireland is poised near bankruptcy, with Spain and Portugal not far behind, shaking confidence in the euro.
    • Germany is growing and the rest of Europe is stable.
    • Canada strong; South America growing
    • China and other emerging economies in Asia booming.
    • China is now the world’s biggest consumer of raw materials.
    • Fed announced $600B of QE2 stimulus; this comes on top of the Fed’s $1.7T previous stimulus.
    • the US dollar is falling, with a global loss of confidence in the dollar.
    • 30-year rate is rising.
    • central banks are diversifying out of US dollars into other currencies and gold.
    • president of World Bank calls for a new reserve currency consisting of a basket of currencies and gold
    • expiration of Bush tax cuts looming

    Warning signs to watch out for as we go forward from here :

    • no economic leadership from the White House … zip, zero, nihil, nichts, nada
    • Nerobama continues to blame Bush for sour economy
    • an unexpected uptick in unemployment
    • government manipulation of unemployment statistics
    • manipulation of other economic statistics
    • homelessness becomes a growing concern
    • more grumbling in currency markets about the US dollar
    • continued increases in the 30-year rate, especially a rise above 4.55%
    • increases in the 10-year rate
    • bonds tank
    • experts talk about economic realignment and a new economic model or a new economic order
    • rumors that central banks are moving to support the US dollar
    • reports circulate about de-leveraging by closed end bond funds
    • foreign governments become increasingly critical of US economic policies
    • public announcements by Treasury Secretary Geithner to reassure the public
    • nightly news reports speculate about what will happen when markets open in the morning
    • foreign investors (China, Japan) become sellers of US Treasuries
    • euro and other foreign currencies resume their rise against the dollar
    • frequent reports that commodity futures are rising
    • precious metals resume upward movement
    • oil price surges over $90 bbl
    • California, Illinois, New York on brink of bankruptcy
    • stock markets get scary
    • emergency meetings of the Fed
    • emergency meetings at the White House
    • Nerobama shows increasing levels of agitation and anger
    • rumors about further cuts to Medicare
    • hospital bankruptcies
    • ammo unavailable at any price
    • people begin to hoard foodstuffs, bottled water, toilet paper, light bulbs, medicines, etc.

  7. Steve says:

    And, lest we forget, poor slobs such as myself get to pay unemployment taxes without being able to collect unemployment.

    Where is the ‘social justice’?

    • proreason says:

      Been there too. You probably also enjoy the priviledge of paying double FICA/Medicare taxes out of your pocket and have the joy of paying the full cost of 2K a month or so for health insurance. And if you are really successful, you will work your way into the 60%+ tax bracket (over and above sales taxes, RE taxes, gasoline taxes, utility taxes, user fees, hidden taxes, and overpaying for stuff because others don’t pay, etc.,etc.,etc.,etc.,etc……)

  8. MZmaj7 says:

    Extending tax cuts are a fiscal burden, but $319B in 3 yrs doesn’t raise any flags for them.

  9. Perdido says:

    I need two guys. I won’t hire either until those jack-wagons in DC wake up.

    Need I say more?

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