Jobless Benefits as an Antipoverty Program
economix.blogs.nytimes.com — In addition to the tax increases and broad federal spending cuts (known as “sequestration”) scheduled to take effect at the end of this year, the emergency unemployment benefits system is also expected to come to an end. It doesn’t get as much attention as the defense cuts or the tax increases, but the end of these extended unemployment benefits is expected to affect millions of Americans. More than two million workers now collecting federal unemployment benefits will lose the lifeline after the week ending Dec. 29. By the end of the first quarter of 2013, another one million will run out of state benefits without ever benefiting from Emergency Unemployment Compensation. These extended unemployment benefits serve as a powerful stimulus measure, economists say, because the money dispensed in the form of jobless benefits gets spent very quickly and so moves through the economy quickly. But the other key reason for extending unemployment benefits is, of course, compassion.