Yes, Unemployment Insurance and Welfare Encourage People to Quit Lousy Jobs. That's the Point.
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Most people’s experiences with the stinginess and arcane rules of our nation’s patchwork of unemployment systems have conditioned us to assume that we’re not eligible and that we should be discouraged from applying, even under desperate circumstances. Blame it on steady erosion of our more than 80-year-old New Deal-era safety net and the decades of attacks on the idea of welfare, capped by Bill Clinton’s era-ending declaration that accompanied the catastrophic 1996 reform bill he signed into law with support of many Congressional Democrats, including our presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Our current crisis has exposed two flawed premises around how we think about money: that not all workers deserve enough of it to live on and that the government is incapable of providing it. Like our flagship retirement programs for those over 65 years old, Social Security and Medicare, income replacement can and should be for everyone. Universal, or near-universal, programs like unemployment insurance and Social Security are popular for a reason. They provide much-needed sustenance and promote the idea that everyone deserves to have their basic needs met. Newer social programs have been replaced by stingier, more complicated models that means-test who “deserves” life-saving support. This breeds both unnecessary administrative burdens and resentment between voters who should be united in trying to improve conditions. According to One Fair Wage, 44% of all applicants for pandemic unemployment still haven’t received their benefits.
Worst of all, means-testing makes government programs easy targets and far less effective. Remember Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) that welfare reform killed? Sixty-eight out of 100 families received it in 1996, when it was replaced by far less generous Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In 2018, only 22 out of 100 received aid. The same has already happened to unemployment. Only 27% of unemployed workers received benefits in 2016. The average unemployment benefit (excluding the added $600 per week stimulus), which varies wildly by state, replaces just 38% of the average paycheck. And now the system is under unprecedented strain. Already underfunded, the flood of claims has jammed up government phone lines and websites. In New York alone, hundreds of thousands of workers are still waiting for their checks.
As a way to shore up bank accounts and put food on the table, unemployment was possibly our best option under the rushed circumstances of the CARES Act. But it’s a deeply-flawed compromise that, like the Affordable Care Act before it, utilizes a means-tested patchwork that deals Republican governors in on the implementation of a policy that many of them oppose. And like private health insurance, unemployment ties a critical safety net to the whims of a brutal job market that had hardly even recovered from the 2008 crash.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
May 26, 2020 at 10:33 PM #319310retired liberalParticipant
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How long will we allow this to happen?
If you are too big to fail already, you don’t need help. You need to start helping the lower 90%. If you don’t, there will come a time when your profiting by changing the pocket your money is in won’t matter, because there will be nobody left to matter, or care about money.
Your money won’t feed you. Your money won’t maintain any of your McMansionss in a liveable condition. Then what will you do? Most likely you do not have any basic survival skills, as you have to depended on others for you to maintain your opulent life style. The others, the human stock, you are trying to kill off.
We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
Both major political parties are special interest groups enabling each other for power and money, at the expense of the people they no longer properly serve…
May 26, 2020 at 10:49 PM #319317Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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“44% of all applicants for pandemic unemployment still haven’t received their benefits”
May 27, 2020 at 2:41 AM #319374doh1304Participant
- Total Posts: 1,164
Yet the media – and especially the progressive media – keep talking UBI. A UBI will never be allowed to work because it is by definition a subsidy of capitalism, it will always be eaten up by capitalism – either through straightforward inflation or through an increase in “necessary” new products.
I remember when “mobile phones” were a luxury spending item, useful only to show off how you were wealthy and high status. Then it became something “the company” required you to carry if you were high enough on the totem pole. Today it is something every 5 year old must have for arbitrary reasons that are defined to fit the needs of the moment and the person claiming the need. The legend is that Henry Ford raised his pay so that his workers could afford his automobiles – actually it wasn’t long before everyone needed his automobiles, and then two , and then a third for their teenage children to go to high school. I live in a condo complex with 2 parking spaces for every unit. We just had an election where we had a choice between solar power or more parking. Parking won overwhelmingly. The new parking will take a year to construct (we have to demolish some old tennis courts) but people are already double parking their new cars on the complex’s single lane roads. There is always a reason to spend money. If you have it some “they” will require it. More money is never the answer in capitalism.
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