More than 1.3 million laid-off workers won't get their unemployment benefits reinstated before Congress goes on a weeklong vacation for Independence Day.
An additional 200,000 people who have been without a job for at least six months stand to lose their benefits each week, unless Congress acts, The Associated Press informs.
Benefits for the jobless remain one of the most effective forms of stimulus. In the words of Peter Orszag, head of the Office of Management and Budget, they are “[one of the best] dollar-for-dollar economic stabilizers that we have.” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moodys.com, estimates that they generate $1.61 of stimulus for every dollar spent.
Moreover, expanding unemployment insurance is wildly popular, even among conservatives. Poll after poll shows that a vast majority of Americans support giving aid to the laid-off. And on Capitol Hill, even the most stringent deficit hawks do not object to the unemployment benefits themselves. They object to expanding the deficit to pay for them, despite worries among economists across the ideological spectrum that the economy is faltering and the government needs to continue its support, The Washington Independent says.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated