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Horowitz: Restore Unemployment Benefits to Long-Term Unemployed

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Cutting benefits to the long-term unemployed would mean cutting recovery just as it gains momentum.

This week Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and his Republican co-sponsor Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) push forward their proposal to restore and extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program for a three month period. Their legislation provides a critical lifeline to the 1.3 million Americans whose benefits were abruptly cut off right after Christmas when Republicans in both Houses blocked votes on the measure and allowed the program to expire as well as creates the breathing room to negotiate a bi-partisan agreement for a longer term extension.

Senator Reed, in an e-mail sent out to constituents and donors this weekend, said, “These 1.3 million Americans want to get back to work. These are our friends, our families, and our neighbors. All they need is a helping hand through these tough times.” Echoing Reed’s comments in his weekly radio address, President Obama remarked, “We don’t abandon our fellow Americans when times get tough—we keep the faith with them until they start that new job.”

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program is now completely funded by the federal government and provides extended unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed—those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more—whose original benefits have run out. Congress typically makes this type of emergency funding available during periods of high unemployment. The current iteration of this program was launched at the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008.

Time to act

While the economy is improving and long-term unemployment is beginning to decline, it is premature to pull the plug. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are still nearly 3 unemployed workers for every job opening, reports The Washington Post’s Wonkblog. Further, the nation's long-term unemployment rate remains as high as it's been at any point since World War II. It is now about twice as high as the long-term unemployment rate was at the times emergency unemployment benefits were cut off in the last three recessions, according to Chad Stone, Chief Economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Cutting off these benefits is also a drag on the economy. Economists estimate that we are losing up to $1 billion a week. This money is spent immediately and has a significant multiplier effect.

Congress must act quickly to adopt Senator Reed’s legislation and provide individuals and families who are truly on the edge essential support The next step is negotiating a bi-partisan compromise to provide the approximately $25 billion to extend emergency unemployment benefits for all of 2014. In order to attract sufficient Republican votes, this will likely require identifying down-the-road offsetting budget savings so our long-term debt is not increased. This is a doable task—one critical to keeping the many people still being hurt by the lingering effects of the Great Recession afloat.


Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.


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Here's a thought, how about Senator Reed actually doing something that would help the state. Oh I don't know, like lowering the worlds highest corporate tax so we can CREATE JOBS!

Comment #1 by Mark D on 2014 01 07

Ponder this. Many unemployed folks have had to cut spending in their own households to put food on the table, to make ends meet. They have cut cable TV to pay the oil man. They HAVE to make sacrifices. What is wrong with asking democrats to cut something else in order to pay for extended unemployment benefits?

Comment #2 by David Beagle on 2014 01 07

Find a way to pay for them and I'm all for it. But at some point you have to call it quites. Study after study shows that people will continue to collect instead of taking any job. That is why McDonalds is hiring even in this economy.

Comment #3 by Dave Barry on 2014 01 07

Best cure for unemployment is a job, but under the current Progressive Democratic rule, this cannot happen.

Democrats and their sheep are more worried about global warming, free birth control and legalizing pot.

Hey Robbie - look where the jobs are plentiful in this country and you'll see there are no Progressives liberals like you and Jackie Reed residing there.

Hopefully the low information voters will be so stoned they don't show up for the mid-term elections and the real America can be rid of these Progressive Democrats.


Remember the biggest lie of 2013 was when Barack Hussein Obama and all his cult-like followers stated, "If you like your health plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep him. PERIOD."

Comment #4 by Killary Klinton on 2014 01 07

Start deporting people here illegally that are taking jobs from people with the legal right to work. If there are 11,000,000 illegals, finding 1,500,000 to deport shouldn't be that hard. Then we can have full employment. Problem fixed,,,,next!

Comment #5 by Redd Ratt on 2014 01 07

Did Congress ever find a war or weapon’s system they didn’t like? They never seem to worry about the deficit then, do they?

Congress doesn't understand the multiplier effect from paying unemployment benefits. This doesn’t keep people employed or create jobs, only corporate tax cuts do?

They need desperate people to drive down the cost of labor, and people without opportunities to fill the ranks of the military with fodder who will kill and die for the monied interests they serve.

And some of the geniuses on here want to help them.

So let me get this straight: Congress is very concerned about the deficit they created with unfunded wars, trillion dollar tax cuts and bailouts for those who created this Great Recession. And they want to fill this hole by taking from those who are the victims of their policies.

Comment #6 by Johnny cakes on 2014 01 07

Mister Horowitz do you mind paying higher property and utility taxes to pay for the long term unemployed?..can you provide a job for some unemployed person?

Comment #7 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 01 07

"Congress doesn't understand the multiplier effect from paying unemployment benefits."

Using this ignorant liberal mindset, working people should quit their jobs, then go on unemployment insurance.

It's an economic multiplier right?


Liberalism: A mental disorder.

Comment #8 by Killary Klinton on 2014 01 07

Look - I understand the need to extend these benefits, but come on, as someone said earlier we need to focus on jobs. This is only an economic multiplier when reflected against the fact that THESE PEOPLE CAN'T FIND A JOB!!

Job creation must be the focus.

Comment #9 by Donn Roach on 2014 01 07

With the "economic multiplier" effect, Rhode Island should be an economic power house by now. I heard that Obama Care now covers liberalism under mental illness.

Comment #10 by David Beagle on 2014 01 07

I wonder if those on this site realize that these people were all previously employed. You can’t refer to them as “the takers.” Let those who created this crisis pay for it, they’re making record profits. But you wouldn’t think of pointing the finger where it belongs, you give the real parasites a pass. Why? Are you so ill-informed you have no idea who created this depression?

I also wonder if you would feel differently if you and your family needed the extended benefits. We should just say screw them while you sit comfortably in your heated house talking shit. You and the immoral people that rule are arrogantly in need of a moral compass.

Comment #11 by Johnny cakes on 2014 01 07

The creation on this depression lies 100% in government intervention in the free market.

eg. The idiotic "global warming" policies of the communist in chief is a major reason for the continued depression we are in. Ask the coal workers who are out of a job because of Obama's war of coal.

Maybe you liberal social justice occupiers should ask Moochelle Obama and her family to fork out the $800,000 it's going to cost the US tax payers to fly Air Force 2 from DC to Hawaii to pick her up and take her back from her vacation

That alone would help out a lot of unemployed people in Rhode Island.


Liberals are always willing to spend other peoples' money but never their own.

Comment #12 by Killary Klinton on 2014 01 07

No comments from the morally corrupt liberals regarding my plan to deport people here illegally to create jobs for Americans and legal immigrants looking for work. Its sound reasoning that we can all agree with. Also, if your unemployment runs out, consider becoming under employed for a while. No shame in flipping burgers. Honest work, that's what I say.

Comment #13 by Redd Ratt on 2014 01 07

Reid hasnt had a real job in over 30 years. He has no idea what taxes are, to him they are nothing but definitions to put into actions. These benefits continue to promote a society that lacks any motivation for self sufficiency. Then again, this is an adjunct professor spewing the typing points he was handed.

Comment #14 by Silence Dogood on 2014 01 07

I am a conservative-my positions on immigration and gun control and crime are pretty clear-but-and I hate to agree with a progressive like Horowitz on anything-unemployment recipients are working people laid off due to the poor economy brought about by the banksters on Wall Street;NAFTA,the WTO;and spending on foreign wars in countries that hate us.I support tax incentives for REAL private enterprise-companies that make things or deliver real goods(like Amazon) and employ people at good wages.America used to be the fabricator for the world and now we are being reduced to a service economy-want a job in a casino?Gambling as a growth industry-sign of a death spiral.

Comment #15 by Joseph Bernstein on 2014 01 07

Joseph, I understand. Lets just pay for it.

Comment #16 by Redd Ratt on 2014 01 07

The Republicans think the unemployed are a bunch of lazy worthless moochers and they say so every day on Fox News... every time a camera is on them... every time a mic is up to their mouth...they don't give a hoot about your your age... the color of your skin... to them... the unemployed are all leftist democrats... and should be punished to being so.

Americans don't need more of "Mr Hollywood" Ronald Reagan's "trickle down economics". We already know it doesn't work, new lip stick won't make that pig look attractive again.

Comment #17 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 01 07

@Redd-if we had e Verify nationwide we might not have to pay for it-unauthorized applicants would be turned away-we could actually require all currently employed people to be checked-lots of jobs would open up.If we grant amnesty it's all over with.

Comment #18 by Joseph Bernstein on 2014 01 08

The 6th year of Obama's presidency, after those massive "stimulus" bills and food stamps and extended unemployment benefits, and here we are: STILL TALKING ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. Republicans don't think everyone on the government doll is lazy (many are though). Republicans just realize that these crap policies DON'T WORK.

Rowley had the best take on this the other day - http://www.golocalprov.com/politics/rowley-wealth-reed-istribution-ri-senator-enrolls-in-socialism/

Comment #19 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 01 08

It's been proven time after time - when you extend unemployment benefits, the time it takes an individual to take a job also extends. When you short the time frame of benefits, so do the time frame for finding a job.

Too bad cult-like Obama liberals just can't see through the obfuscation this administration spews. They not only drink the Kool-aid, they spread it around for their kids.


Those who do not learn from the mistakes of past are destined to repeat it. RE: Communism and a centralized government killed the USSR and it will also destroy the USA if the Rolling Stone liberals have their way.

Comment #20 by Killary Klinton on 2014 01 08

Dear Mr. Arizona,
You hyperbole and ability to make up “facts” greatly exceeds the logic of your comments. “Republicans think the unemployed are a bunch of lazy worthless moochers and they say so every day on Fox News…”. Occasionally I watch Fox News and have never heard anyone say such a thing. Out there in the real world some of the unemployed are “lazy worthless moochers…”. Unlike you I am not shocked to find this out, but with your detachment from reality this is not surprising. Consider the following - North Carolina reduced their unemployment benefits and their unemployment went from 8.9 percent to 7.4 percent. South Carolina did the same thing, reduced their unemployment 3.5 points. Missouri did the same thing, reduced their unemployment benefits, so their unemployment went down 2.5 points. Maybe there is a message here for you and the State of RI. Finally ponder this. England had a very significant growth in people being on disability. Notices were sent to those folks saying that everyone’s case would be reviewed. Fully one third dropped their disability, 55% of the remainder were found fit to work and another 25% were found to be able to perform limited work. You think they were gaming the system or mooching even? I hope your were not offended by my use of the word “work”.

Comment #21 by Michael Byrnes on 2014 01 10

How to knock off working two years before you "retire" - collect extended unemployment benefits. Interesting to note the Belo (for now) "Truth O Meter" says is essence "Republican voting states are POOr and Democrat voting states are RICH".......what the bleep happened HERE?????????

Comment #22 by G Godot on 2014 01 12

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