November 25, 2012

Ending federal jobless benefits would be foolish

Washington’s focus on the “fiscal cliff” -- a potentially disastrous combination of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 -- has shifted attention away from the biggest problem in the economy, which is the more than 12 million Americans still unemployed. More than 5 million of them have been sidelined for more than half a year, which means they’re no longer receiving unemployment insurance benefits from their state. Instead, many are receiving extended unemployment benefits paid for by the federal government. Unless Congress agrees to renew the program, however, that support will end as well, even before the country reaches the fiscal cliff.

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