Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 3:56 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (34)
  • Print

Editorial: Extend benefits for the long-term unemployed

Congress must keep the economic recovery afloat by extending temporary benefits for the 1.3 million unemployed Americans tirelessly searching for jobs.


Seattle Times Editorial

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
"And the owners of WalMart did NOTHING to earn their money. They inherited all... MORE
Wrong again, naturally. The following statement: "This means they may not have... MORE
A+, still can't get over your BDS huh... cedar, DOD has been cut due to the... MORE

advertising

CONGRESS should extend federal unemployment insurance. Don’t think of these emergency benefits as another handout for lazy people. They are a lifeline for 1.3 million Americans actively seeking work.

When lawmakers let the program expire on Dec. 28, about 25,000 of Washington’s long-term jobless residents stopped receiving assistance. Emergency federal aid had been available for up to 37 weeks after state benefits ended at 26 weeks. If federal lawmakers don’t act soon, an estimated 37,600 more people would be affected statewide.

This means they may not have enough money to pay for basics, such as food, housing and job-seeking expenses — money that flows right back into local economies.

On Tuesday, six U.S. Senate Republicans supported Democrats' efforts to advance a three-month extension bill to a floor vote. Some balk at the $6.4 billion price tag. Lawmakers in both houses must compromise and find a way to pay for it, as they've done more than a dozen times since 2008.

Assertions that emergency aid discourages people from looking for work is insensitive and wrong. To receive benefits in the first place, recipients must prove they're applying for jobs. Some are using this time to learn new skills to be competitive.

Federal jobless benefits can’t go on forever. But the U.S. has not experienced such a prolonged period of high long-term unemploymentsince World War II. Prospects are especially dim when there are three job-seekers for every opening nationwide.

So look around.

A lot of neighbors, friends and colleagues are struggling to get back on their feet.

They want to contribute to the new economy.

Congress must help them get there.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).




Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►