Weekly Audit: Millions of Americans Could Lose Unemployment Benefits

Editor’s Note: Happy Thanksgiving from the Media Consortium! This week, we aren’t stopping The Audit, The Pulse, The Diaspora, or The Mulch, but we are taking a bit of a break. Expect shorter blog posts, and The Diaspora and The Mulch will be posted on Wednesday afternoon, instead of their usual Thursday and Friday postings. We’ll return to our normal schedule next week.

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

According to official statistics, nearly 15 million Americans are unemployed. Between 2 and 4 million of them are expected to exhaust their state unemployment insurance benefits between now and May. Historically, during times of high unemployment, Congress provides extra cash to extend the benefits. Congress has never failed to do so when unemployment is above 7.2%. Today’s unemployment rate is above 9% and the lame duck session of Congress has so far failed to extend the benefits.

Congress has until November 30 to renew two federal programs to extend unemployment benefits, as David Moberg reports for Working In These Times. Last week, a bill to extend benefits for an additional three months failed to garner the two-thirds majority it needed to pass in the House. The House will probably take up the issue again this session, possibly for a one-year extension, but as Moberg notes, it’s unclear how the bill will fare in the Senate. The implications are dire, as Moberg notes:

The result? Not just huge personal and familial hardships that scars the lives of young and old both economically and psychologically for years to come.  But failure to renew extended benefits would also slow the recovery, raise unemployment, and deepen the fiscal crises of state and federal governments.

But wait! There’s more:

  • The Paycheck Fairness Act died in the Senate last week, as Denise DiStephan reports in The Nation. The bill would have updated the 1963 Equal Pay Act to close loopholes and protect employees against employer retaliation for discussing wages. All Republican senators and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson voted not to bring the bill to the floor, killing the legislation for this session of Congress. The House already passed its version of the bill in 2009 and President Barack Obama had pledged to sign it.
  • Economist Dean Baker talks with Laura Flanders of GritTV about quantitative easing (a.k.a. the Fed printing more money) and the draft proposal from the co-chairs of the deficit commission. Baker argues that we’re facing an unemployment crisis, not a deficit crisis.
  • Charles Ferguson’s documentary “Inside Job” is a must-see, according to Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive. An examination of how Wall Street devastated the U.S. economy, the film details the reckless speculation in housing derivatives, enabled by crooked credit rating schemes, that brought the entire financial system to the brink of collapse. The film is narrated by Brad Pitt and features appearances by former Governor and anti-Wall Street corruption crusader Eliot Spitzer, financier George Soros, and Prof. Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the collapse of the housing bubble.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

Weekly Audit: Millions of Americans Could Lose Unemployment Benefits

Editor’s Note: Happy Thanksgiving from the Media Consortium! This week, we aren’t stopping The Audit, The Pulse, The Diaspora, or The Mulch, but we are taking a bit of a break. Expect shorter blog posts, and The Diaspora and The Mulch will be posted on Wednesday afternoon, instead of their usual Thursday and Friday postings. We’ll return to our normal schedule next week.

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

According to official statistics, nearly 15 million Americans are unemployed. Between 2 and 4 million of them are expected to exhaust their state unemployment insurance benefits between now and May. Historically, during times of high unemployment, Congress provides extra cash to extend the benefits. Congress has never failed to do so when unemployment is above 7.2%. Today’s unemployment rate is above 9% and the lame duck session of Congress has so far failed to extend the benefits.

Congress has until November 30 to renew two federal programs to extend unemployment benefits, as David Moberg reports for Working In These Times. Last week, a bill to extend benefits for an additional three months failed to garner the two-thirds majority it needed to pass in the House. The House will probably take up the issue again this session, possibly for a one-year extension, but as Moberg notes, it’s unclear how the bill will fare in the Senate. The implications are dire, as Moberg notes:

The result? Not just huge personal and familial hardships that scars the lives of young and old both economically and psychologically for years to come.  But failure to renew extended benefits would also slow the recovery, raise unemployment, and deepen the fiscal crises of state and federal governments.

But wait! There’s more:

  • The Paycheck Fairness Act died in the Senate last week, as Denise DiStephan reports in The Nation. The bill would have updated the 1963 Equal Pay Act to close loopholes and protect employees against employer retaliation for discussing wages. All Republican senators and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson voted not to bring the bill to the floor, killing the legislation for this session of Congress. The House already passed its version of the bill in 2009 and President Barack Obama had pledged to sign it.
  • Economist Dean Baker talks with Laura Flanders of GritTV about quantitative easing (a.k.a. the Fed printing more money) and the draft proposal from the co-chairs of the deficit commission. Baker argues that we’re facing an unemployment crisis, not a deficit crisis.
  • Charles Ferguson’s documentary “Inside Job” is a must-see, according to Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive. An examination of how Wall Street devastated the U.S. economy, the film details the reckless speculation in housing derivatives, enabled by crooked credit rating schemes, that brought the entire financial system to the brink of collapse. The film is narrated by Brad Pitt and features appearances by former Governor and anti-Wall Street corruption crusader Eliot Spitzer, financier George Soros, and Prof. Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the collapse of the housing bubble.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

White House, DoD, Release Fort Hood Reviews

The public summary of the Fort Hood Review that was ordered in November, was released today. The President's national security team was directed to review the files from all relevant agencies and determine "how any such information was handled, shared, and acted upon within and across departments and agencies."

There's more...

Hillary the Uniter Impresses <em>Scaife</em>

Given my dealings with some friends who fully believe what Rush Limbaugh says, I know first hand that it takes great patience and diplomatic skills to have productive  conversations with people who staunchly disagree with me -- and to end on a positive note.

Once again, Hillary Clinton proved her ability to work with people who intensely disagree with her and to leave the door wide-open for future conversations.  And she just bagged the elephant, so to speak:  Richard Melon Scaife, the outspoken billionaire right-wing owner of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review -- a man with a documented history of being anything but fond of the Clintons.

My jaw is still on the floor over how positive Mr. Scaife's written reaction to Hillary is:

There's more...

The Debate Reviews Are In

The Reviews Are In: 'Strong,' 'Sharp,' 'You Won't See Her Losing Her Cool'

TALKING POINTS MEMO'S JOSHUA MICHA MARSHALL -- HILLARY GAVE A 'GOOD ANSWER' ON IRAN. "Hillary 'I will do everything I can' to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Good answer." [Talking Points Memo, Joshua Micah Marshall 10/30/07 ]

HUFFINGTON POST'S GLYNNIS MACNICOL -- 'HILLARY IS SO SHARP TONIGHT.' "Hillary is so sharp tonight." [Huffington Post, 10/30/07 ]

ABC NEWS' RICK KLEIN -- HILLARY IS 'STRONG, CONCISE, AND SHARP TONIGHT.' "Clinton is strong, concise, and sharp tonight. She is finding ways to contrast herself with the Bush administration even while defending herself. That's not easy, particularly given the advanced publicity surrounding all the aggressiveness we're expecting." [ABC News Political Radar, 10/30/07 ]

NEWSWEEK'S HOWARD FINEMAN -- 'YOU WON'T SEE HER LOSING HER COOL.' [MSNBC, 10/30/07]

CARL CAMERON: 'OVERALL SHE CAME IN THE FRONTRUNNER...SHE LEAVES THE FRONTRUNNER.' "Overall she came in the frontrunner, fully aware her rivals were gunning for her. She stumbled at the end but otherwise performed well under fire. Obama and Edwards did not land any knock out blows to change their own situations. She leaves the frontrunner." [Fox News, 10/30/07 ]

NATIONAL REVIEW'S RICH LOWRY -- HILLARY 'COMES OFF STRONGER THAN ALL THE GUYS ON THE STAGE PUT TOGETHER.' Hillary's answer on Iran "was simple and direct. She comes off stronger than all the guys on the stage put together." [National Review Online 10/30/07 ]

There's more...

Diaries

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