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Schumer Promises Help for 99ers, But Skips the Details

August 2, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The most shocking data point on the unemployment situation in the U.S. isn’t that we’ve been above 9% for almost a year and a half now. It’s that the median length of unemployment for individuals currently is 26 weeks, which is twice as long as it has ever been since the government began tracking this data in the ‘60s. Anyone who is unemployed for longer than 26 weeks is considered “long-term unemployed” by the government. Right now, that’s about half of all unemployed people, and it will likely be more than half in the very near future. Here’s a graph from the St. Louis Fed laying it out.

Over the past two years, Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment insurance benefits beyond the normal 26-week period. Currently, unemployed individuals in states with high unemployment rates (above 8.5%) can receive up to 99 weeks of benefits. But all of those extended benefits are set to expire on November 30, 2010 and after that it will be back to just 26 weeks of benefits in every state. Furthermore, economists estimate that at least 1 million people have already exhausted all 99 weeks of their benefits (so-called “99ers”). By the time the current benefits extension runs out in November, that number will probably be closer to 2 million, and approximately 1.5 million people each week will be added to the ranks of the exhausts.

Unless, of course, Congress acts.

In light of all this, watch Sen. Chuck Schumer [D, NY] last week on WENY-TV:

Schumer says that a bill to help 99ers is coming — at some point — and gives no further details. In some sense, this is a step forward for the 99ers. It shows that members of Congress are hearing them and that they are starting take on the cause at least for their political advantage. But we don’t have enough information at this point to know if this is anything more than that. Here are a few things to watch for when the bill is introduced.

1) What, exactly, will Schumer’s legislation look like? Will it be straight-up additional weeks of benefits for 99ers, some kind of reemployment account program, or a job-training benefits program? The latter two options would probably have more support among conservative Democrats and Republicans, but they will also provide somewhat less support to the 99ers.

2) Does it have the support of the leadership (i.e. Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] and House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8])? If not, this is just a throw-away bill that Schumer plans to drop in the hopper and let die like 96% of all bills do. Of the 140 bills Schumer has sponsored this session, only 3 of them have become law. As we know, any member of Congress can introduce any bill they want, and they often introduce stuff they know has 0% chance of passing just to give themselves quick credentials on an issue. So far, Reid and Pelosi have been silent on help for the 99ers, so it’s possible that this is a lone-wolf effort on Schumer’s part and that it’s not really going to be a viable bill.

In the interview Schumer says “we” (i.e. “we’re gonna try to do that next”), so it’s possible that he’s referring to the Democratic caucus as a whole. But he could also be referring to himself and a few rank-and-file co-sponsors. We’ll be watching for statements of support from Reid and others when the bill is introduced. 

3) Will it be offset, and, if so, how? Over the past two years, support for extending unemployment benefits as “emergency spending,” which does not have to be offset under the Pay-Go law, has progressively weakened. In November 2009, the Senate voted 97-1 for such a bill. In March 2010, they voted 78-19 for another unpaid UI extension. And on July 20, 2010 they passed one with no votes to spare by a vote of 60-40. The trend is pretty obvious — as time progresses, there is less and less support for emergency unemployment insurance extensions. And in July the Democrats were stretched to their limit on their emergency UI bill. 

Many Republicans (plus Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson [NE]) say they would have voted for the July bill if its costs were offset with money taken from the Recovery Act. However, using stimulus money to fund another extension that includes help for the 99ers probably wouldn’t pass muster with most Democrats. They argue, rightly, that taking money out of the Recovery Act to pay for UI benefits neutralizes the stimulative effects of both. Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA] recently forced a vote on paying for the UI bill with Recovery Act money and it was opposed by all but two Democrats — Nelson and Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR].

So, if Schumer wants to pass this bill, he will probably have to offset its costs with new revenues and do it some way other than taking money from the Recovery Act. Off the top of my head, possibilities include closing tax loopholes on hedge funds, eliminating offshore-oil-drilling subsidies, or some sort of a financial transactions tax. None of those things would be easy, but it seems almost impossible for Schumer and the Democrats to pass extra unemployment insurance benefits and help for the 99ers without winning on one of these big, untapped revenue sources.

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Displaying 91-120 of 139 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 6:35pm

    So your employer requires you to take mandatory drug tests. That explains it. You’re an uneducated blue collar worker who’s just a number to your corporate employer. No wonder you hate life.

    The main deceit I’m referring to is your multiple (user id) personality disorder.

    P.S. I heard it was easy to cheat on those drug tests. Did I hear correctly? I’m sure you would know.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/10/2010 6:43pm

    No, I love my life. I just despise ignorant self loving megalomaniacs like you and your president. It’s obvious, however that you do despise your life. I’m sorry you have such a pitiful existence, don’t take it out any animals, okay? It’s not their fault, they are innocent. Take it out on yourself.

    Heard they were easy to cheat? Or have personal experience?

    In the military, ignorant retard, you’re watched when you take a drug screening.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 7:57pm

    FYI … I’m a member of PETA.

    They watch you piss in a cup, how did that make you feel? Are they still laughing at your little pee pee?

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/10/2010 6:46pm

    Reality check, MOST employers require MANDATORY drug screenings. Guess you really don’t work… Could it be, you haven’t hit puberty yet? I wonder?

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 7:51pm

    Reality check, MOST employers do NOT require mandatory drug screening tests for their PROFESSIONAL WHITE COLLER employees. There you go again. Didn’t your mother ever teach you how to think before you speak? You think everyone is the same as you, and you once again failed to consider people other than yourself (Me Me Me Me Me). Bet your feeling real stupid right now, aren’t ya Stupid?

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/10/2010 6:47pm

    And you have yet to identify the (alleged) alternate usernames.

    Too bad I’ve only go one, yes that’s right, ONE user id.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 9:17pm

    Once again … aka Nobody aka Kiss aka Big

    I believe I’ve proven my theory. You are most definitely the LAST WORD FREAK. You can’t stop creating nonsense … how pathetic you truly are. I’m checking out now, but I will be looking out for you and exposing your deceit every chance I get.

    P.S. I assume you have health insurance. My advice to you is to use the mental health portion of it before you lose it (mind and insurance). Job security is rare these days especially if you’re required to take mandatory drug tests.

    Remember … I’ll be watching. BOO!

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 7:02pm

    Again with the psychological projection…

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 6:36pm

    What’s the matter, can’t handle the truth?

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/10/2010 6:45pm

    The truth is I gain more respect in a week than you’ll ever see in a life time. I’m so sorry that every one hates you. It’s sad. God loves you though, so it doesn’t matter who else hates you okay?

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 7:54pm

    You’re obviously in denial. Go back and read the comments made to you about a week ago.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 7:40am

    You’re still an idiot. Even IF I was using two different (or more accounts) I’d still be under the same IP address. A different IP address would indicated a different LOCATION. Geeze, you really are stupid. No wonder you believe everything you hear.

    At first I thought you were an ignorant jackass, now I just pity you. The complete idiocy you must find yourself in on a day to day basis. Wow, life really does suck for you.

    If anyone is using alternate accounts around here… Its you… You’ve had yours for 20 days? My account has been active for 9 months. Don’t believe me? Check it for yourself, click on my user name and SEE it.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/09/2010 12:36pm

    Did I actually have an idiot moment for using an idiots own words? But then again, your ignorant remark assumes that I know you only own one computer (WOW, I didn’t realize it was against the law to own more than one computer).

    For all we know, dumb ass, you could be using any number of free public computers out there. Once again your unintelligent remark makes no sense. The amount of registered time doesn’t prove anything. All that time you wasted unsuccessfully trying to impose your pro-republican, anti-democratic views on the readers of this blog, how pathetic is that?

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/09/2010 12:36pm

    FYI, I never claimed to be a long-term blogger. I only joined this blog because I had answers to questions some of my fellow unemployed Americans were asking about their unemployment “INSURANCE”. In fact, I generally think blogging is a waste of time especially when I encounter a loser such as yourself who’s in desperate need of a real life AND psychiatric help. I pity you and the people who have to deal with you on a daily basis. Now stop wasting my time. LAST WORD FREAK.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 1:23pm

    who said you claimed to be a long term blogger? lol

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 1:22pm

    Multiple computers on the under the same router will use the same IP address… retard.

    The only time there would be a different IP address is if each of your computers accessed a different ISP accounts. Durrrrrr…

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/09/2010 2:44pm

    You’re not telling me anything new. You failed to consider Wi-Fi public networks (maybe it’s not available in them thar hills). You also failed to address public computers as well as employment computers retard. Durrrrr…

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 7:12pm

    But you’re a long term non-employed citizen OH!

    Oh no, I considered them. Just figured someone as stupid as you didn’t have the mental capacity to actually connect to one let alone use one. After all, people like you who believe everything you read need someone to put everything together for you. God forbid that you actually have to do something for yourself.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 8:10pm

    Ya right, like it takes a rocket scientist to connect to the internet using a public wireless connection. You can’t even rationally justify your ignorant comments. Whatever.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 7:48am

    No, I didnt imply they were lazy! Who do you work for anyways? MSNBC? Washington Post? Only they could skew facts so horribly as you have done. Its people like you that make something out of nothing.

    Actually, from your Presidents own mouth… We are out of the economic RECESSION and on the road to recovery. Your presidents OWN WORDS.

    Actually, 2 days were spent frolicking through the grass. In a field near here. Actually it took me all of five minutes to respond to you…You just make it so easy to do! It looks to me like the person who’s all bent about giving the last word is you…

    I know I’ve said this about 100 times, but I am NOT pro Republican!

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/09/2010 12:33pm

    My President. Are you even an American? If you’re going to make veiled statements about my President cite your source. And here’s my advice to you … be respectful, otherwise the Secret Service will be all over your sorry ass.

    Frolicking in a grassy field? You sound like you smoke too much of that grassy field. Do us all a favor and spare us with your lame excuses.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 1:28pm

    Yes, YOUR president. He may be the President of the United States, but I didnt vote for him nor am I a member of the US Armed Forces. Therefore he is not My president.

    Wow, I now see the world that you argue for… A world that limits free speech and threatens private citizens for voicing dissent. Where were you wanting to build your political gulag? In northern Alaska out side of Prudo Bay? That’s all you are, a facist. Got some news for you… your political movement died out in 1945 with the fall of Germany and Facist Italy.

    FYI Dissent does not indicate disobedince.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/09/2010 4:04pm

    And what would you be wearing? Perhaps a white hooded sheet to cover your face coward.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 7:15pm

    No actually, not a fan of white.

    So now we are at the point where you call me a racist because I don’t agree with your lord and savior?

    I must be stupid I haven’t been duped by Obama’s silver tongue… oh me oh my.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 8:04pm

    You said it, not me. But it’s ok for you to call me a gassing mass murderer.

    Whatever loser.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/09/2010 4:07pm

    Gibberish as usual. lol

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 7:19pm

    Right, because you haven’t gotten to that portion of history in your history class right? Where you at? 6th grade history? Or was it 4th?

    Oh, wait, I already figured it out; you were dropped on your head by your mother when you were a baby. But there was more! You were breast fed by your mother until you were 15. That explains a lot. You expect society to feed you. You expect society to cloth you. You expect society to pay your bills. All are very typical of someone who’s been babied their whole life.

    Dude, get off the nipple. You’re an adult (well… in name only).

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/10/2010 8:20pm

    Did I push the right button? lol

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/09/2010 2:07pm

    NY Daily News…

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 08/09/2010 2:19pm

    The article is dated Dec. 14th, 2009 … IDIOT.

    I said pay attention to CURRENT news.

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