The United States economy is slowly recovering from the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and Wisconsin’s anemic job creation continues to lag the nation. Unfortunately, conservative politicians in Washington and Madison want to blame workers rather than take responsibility for fixing the economy.
In Congress, conservative politicians want to allow emergency unemployment compensation to expire at the end of the month, cutting unemployment benefits from 54 to 26 weeks.
New research released this week found 428,126 Wisconsinites have received extended unemployment compensation since 2008 and 99,000 will immediately be affected in 2014! These benefits help keep families and communities above water in a struggling economy and should not be cut. The report also finds the failure to extend jobless benefits will cost Wisconsin 5,185 jobs in 2014.
Economic data tells us it’s not their fault, that there just aren't enough jobs, that the economic crisis sparked by Wall Street greed is far from over, and that long term unemployment is still 10 points higher than it has been at any time since 1980.
In Madison, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and State Senator Frank Lasee have floated a proposal to slash unemployment benefits in stages from 26 weeks ultimately down to a meager 12 weeks!
Conservative politicians expect us to believe that unemployment is caused by the unemployed, and that if we yank the social safety net out from under these families they will try harder--and this will create jobs. That’s absurd and dangerous!
This shameful effort to cut unemployment insurance reflects a shift away from shared responsibility, a resurgence of greed by bad corporate actors, and a conservative movement that has fought to dismantle the supports needed for broadly shared prosperity. Cutting unemployment insurance will only further increased inequality, diminished opportunity, and increasingly snatch away the right to a fair shot at the American dream.