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Republicans prepare to deliver "A body blow to the unemployed"

Jeremy Sprinkle
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"Blind ideology" behind "ludicrous" benefit cuts

The News & Observer published yet another scathing editorial against a plan to make devastating cuts to North Carolina's unemployment insurance system, now being rammed through our General Assembly, with little debate or public comments. It's not just state unemployment benefits which are on the line.

Federal emergency unemployment benefits, extended for one year in the deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff", are in jeopardy, too. These unemployment checks, paid for entirely by the federal government from money already appropriated, as the News & Observer explained, amount to $25 million a week for our state economy and keep about 85,000 jobless North Carolinians from being left "out in the cold".

"But Republicans in the General Assembly, apparently completely disengaged from the woes of the unemployed, have decided they’ll revamp the state’s unemployment system, and they’re going to do it soon, by July 1, which will mean the state will give up that federal money for the remainder of the year. The federal government benefits are conditioned on states not altering the weekly unemployment benefit, and GOP legislators are planning to cut it from over $500 a week to about $350 a week at the top level. (The average is about $300.)

"That means federal unemployment benefits will be gone for those dependent on it. Just because of the blind ideology of the leaders of the General Assembly.  [...]

"This action would be ludicrous. The federal program costs the state nothing. It is painless for the state budget. It helps North Carolinians from falling into poverty." -- News & Observer, 1/29/13

Read the rest of the editorial, "Benefit Cuts: A body blow to the unemployed".