August 04, 2009

A big problem and a partial solution

Random goat picture.

There's been a good bit of talk lately in the media that the recession seems to be bottoming out. But even if the economy begins to expand again in the near future, we're going to be looking at serious unemployment problems for the foreseeable future.

The New York Times reported this weekend that 1.5 million Americans are about to exhaust unemployment benefits. Obviously, another emergency extension of benefits is in order.

But some states, including El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, have yet to take advantage of all the options for dealing with unemployment that are available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Charleston Daily Mail reported yesterday that over 2,000 WV workers who have exhausted benefits could be eligible for another 20 weeks of benefits if the state changes the trigger mechanism for receiving extended benefits. If we make the change by Dec. 31, this extension will be fully funded by the federal government.

Making the change would require legislation, which means it needs to go on the agenda of a special session.

This makes sense for all kinds of reasons--but we'll probably have to push to make that happen.

AND THAT'S NOT ALL. Income loss can persist for years after a layoff.

THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS will probably be critical for the future of health care reform.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, here's a ticker showing how many Americans have lost and are losing health care since 1/1/08.


APOLOGY TO EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS. Something weird happened with the Blogger program yesterday and you accidentally received two blank posts. Sorry about filling your mailbox with nada.


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