Taking care of our unemployed part of the deal

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It’s hard to find people who are living high off the hog on their unemployment benefits.

Typically, they’re receiving less than $300 a week, which they spend on food, rent or mortgage payments, car payments and other bills. And it’s not like the recipients are loafers who are averse to work; to be eligible for unemployment payments, they first had to be employed — and had to lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

Which makes it difficult to understand why so many members of Congress make it difficult to extend unemployment benefits at a time such as this, when the nation is still struggling to dig out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

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Nonetheless, as Congress reconvenes in its lame duck session, one of the challenges facing those who believe this isn’t the time to allow benefits to expire for millions of long-term unemployed is to win passage of yet another extension. …

Republicans blocked an extension bill in the House before Thanksgiving, but they accuse the Democrats of playing politics and of refusing to make $12.5 billion in cuts elsewhere to cover the cost. …

Members of Congress — none of whom could maintain their standard of living on $300 a week — should consider helping the unemployed part of the job.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator