Thursday, July 22, 2010

Statement by Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President David Newby: Long-term Unemployed Workers Finally Get a Lifeline

(Milwaukee – July 22, 2010) Finally, the House and Senate have extended Unemployment Insurance benefits to workers who have been without a job for more than six months.

As outrageous as it may seem, Senate Republicans engaged in a filibuster to stop a vote on this bill; they are responsible for over two million unemployed workers being denied jobless benefits. These same Republican Senators have no problem with extending tax cuts to the very richest Americans, but somehow they don’t understand or don’t care about the basic needs that ordinary people have. Even with the extension, ordinary people are struggling to pay the rent or mortgage, buy food for their families, and pay for other necessities of life.

The Republican defense—that extending benefits to the unemployed will increase the deficit—is total nonsense. Unemployed workers who receive benefits spend every dime on essentials—which puts more money into the economy and helps businesses stay afloat without more layoffs. The immediate deficit we need to pay attention to is the deficit in family-supporting jobs. Once we get people back to work, they will pay taxes again and much of the current deficit can be eliminated.

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