John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Atlantic: Opinion: Bourlee Lam: America's Unemployment Insurance Programs Need to Be Re-Imagined

The Atlantic: Opinion: Bourlee Lam: America's Unemployment Insurance Programs Needs to Be Re-Imagined

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I agree with everything that was said in this Atlantic article. Which is saying something, because generally when I read The Atlantic, the writer is a bit left of me to put it mildly. And sometimes reading The Atlantic can be like reading The Nation or Salon. But we need to get proactive in how we deal with unemployment and Unemployment Insurance. And instead of just having that program there for people to who are out-of-work and need help paying their bills, use that program to actually put people back to work. With things like retraining, subsidize unemployment, small business capital and perhaps other steps.

That instead of collecting financial assistance while you’re on unemployment and looking for work at the same time, that if you’ve been unemployed for a long time, whatever that figure is and you’re about to run out of Unemployment Insurance, that instead of cutting you off, you would get an extension. And with that extension would come job training, like at a community college or seminars. Subsidize unemployment where you would take a job that pays a lot less than are used to making, but you would keep your UI to make up the difference up to a certain point. Lets say ninety-days and then your employer would get to decide to keep you on or not but at full-pay.

Something else we could do would be to turn long-term unemployed workers into small business owners. That if other companies won’t hire these workers, the workers would be eligible for small business loans to start their own business. And perhaps link people up who are in a similar situation in similar fields to work together and start their own business’s. Instead of just giving these workers unemployment checks while they look for work, or forcing them to take the first available job that is offered to them. Even if it doesn’t allow for them to pay their bills. And make all of these benefits available to people once they are on UI, so they don’t become long-term unemployed.

Congress should’ve extended Unemployment Insurance a year ago, because of all the workers who’ve been unemployed for so long. And yes they should’ve paid for it as well and could’ve done that several ways without hurting anyone. But the way to extend UI is to do it in way that actually puts those workers back to work. And doesn’t leave them unemployed with more UI checks. And while extending UI, they could’ve made these reforms so we would have not just fewer unemployed workers, but fewer long-term unemployed workers. Which is even worst and worst for the economy to have so many people who haven’t worked in a long time and not ready to retire.

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