On December 28, 2013, 1.3 million Americans who were receiving EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits where brutally cut off, leaving millions of adults and even more children at risk to extreme poverty conditions such as homelessness.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation act was sign into office in 2008 (EUC08) during America’s infamous Bush Administration. At the time that, the country was feeling the devastation that comes along with surviving a recession. A lot of shifting was going on in the job market all over the nation. More and more companies were packing up and moving overseas and the middle class was slowly becoming smaller.
Regular State Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits run out after 26 weeks. That is roughly 5 months. EUC benefits kick in after the 26 weeks of regular UI benefits expire. It is harder to get a job today verses ten years ago. The rate of unemployment was reported as 7.3 percent in October of 2013. Statistically, this number is down however, Since EUC benefits were cut off at the end of December, the rate of people who were cut from these benefits rose from 1.3 million to 1.7 million in less than two months. That is 1.7 million people who have been actively looking for work for over 5 months with no luck.
On February 6, 2014 after the senate has dragged their feet about this issue (even going on vacation before attending to this issue), the house (republicans) ultimately voted against a 3 month extension costing 6.4 billion dollars. That means that millions of people and even more children literally got the door slammed in their faces. What makes it so bad is that only two favorable votes were needed to extend these benefits for just a little bit longer. Everyone who is drawing these benefits are not lazy and mooching off of the government. Let’s be real, when is the last time you’ve seen someone literally “live it up” on unemployment. I’ve been there and I can say that the amount that they offer you is nearly insulting in comparison to what your old paycheck used to look like. Regardless of what your occupation was before, if you are drawing unemployment, you ARE still taking a financial hit.
What makes this issue even worse is the fact that just weeks prior to the house rejecting this, the Republicans said that they would approve extending EUC benefits for 3 more months if they can find alternative funding sources outside of borrowing from the Federal Reserve. The Democrats did that, yet and still extending benefits were rejected for a third time. Instead, Republicans say that they would rather focus on job creation for all of these people out of work. Hmmm… I must have missed something…
Lets be real, if the government really cared about creating more jobs in this situation, job creation would have been strategized, planned, and implemented when they first approved extra funds for the long-term unemployed. Remember, extending unemployment benefits happened in 2008. So here it is 2014, a mere 6 years later, and the regular middle class family that was living okay in America before are now being pushed into the lower economic class. After seeing how our government has once again failed to do by the people, I can’t help but ask: What is happening to the middle class?