Monday, March 21, 2011

Michigan Only State Not to Extend Unemployment Benefits

Cold, cold hearts run this state.

About 35,000 of Michigan's laid-off workers will lose unemployment benefits next month and about 150,000 by the year's end if the Michigan Legislature doesn't approve a measure by Thursday to extend jobless benefits.

Congress approved the federal benefits in December, but states like Michigan must pass their own bill to allow workers to receive an extension from 79 to 99 weeks. To meet the deadline, the GOP-led Legislature must act before lawmakers' two-week recess that begins next week. If Michigan fails to act, it would be first and only eligible state in the country whose workers won't get the federally funded benefit.

These benefits are 100% federally funded. But the people who run the GOP, and therefore our state government, you know, the ones who will be receiving more tax-cut corporate welfare by the time our budget is complete, are concerned someone, somewhere, someday, might ask them to "sacrifice" something. Heaven forbid, they can't have that.

Wendy Block, director of health policy and human resources at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, is concerned federal unemployment taxes will be increased on businesses as a result the extension in federal borrowing to pay for it, though no such congressional action is pending.

No one has said a word about taxes, no one thinks that the GOP-run US House would even consider such a thing, but the MCoC will use that as a convenient excuse. Before they will let their lapdogs act, they want more "concessions" from the unemployed. They want a crackdown on "fraud" first. They want a one-week waiting period before people can start to collect their initial 26 weeks. They want and want and want and if they don't get what they want, they whine even louder. And run nasty advertising. Or something.

Every other state has taken care of this. Every. single. one. Even the reddest of the red. But, in the state that was hit hardest by the recession, our lawmakers are going to throw these people in the street.

And then leave for a two-week paid vacation.

That's cold. Stone cold.

So, how do you like your Republican government so far?