Federal unemployment benefits began to expire June 1st. A House bill to help extend benefits through November at a cost around $40 billion. Hedge fund managers, through heavy lobbying, will pay a top tax rate of just 25 percent of their earnings, versus of top rate of 35 percent for all higher income Americans. Closing the 10% loophole would raise an estimated $25 billion over 10 years.
I am probably going to be pummeled for saying this, but how long do we need to keep extending unemployment benefits? I was unemployed for 7 months last year before relocating to my current job, but I had to pay a huge amount in state income taxes in two states (and that's after I itemized all moving and job search expenses). Unemployment is taxable income (and until a year ago 100% of the money was reported as income). Only a few decades ago, we didn't even have unemployment insurance, COBRA health insurance extensions started only in the 1980s. I think plenty of the unemployed are in for a bigger shock with taxes on unemployment not to mention hyperinflation knocking on the door.
I have plenty of friends back in Chicago who are eeking by working just enough in part time jobs to collect the maximum unemployment insurance rather than sitting down and getting to work at finding full time jobs with benefits. They are out there. True, there are families with children who can't easily move to a new job. Yes, there are handicapped and elderly who also face daunting realities. However, I think a sizeable majority of unemployed workers are far more mobile than they think. Our society is growing more spoiled in its own comfort zone that is unwilling to take new risks.
I am sick and tired of people pointing the finger at government, wall street, the housing market, etc.and expecting a prolonged handout. I think the state and federal governments need to invest more tax dollars in (1) helping private businesses recruit workers (sorry but census work is temporary and most of it can be done by computers and phones) and (2) better monitor the job-hunting process of those people receiving unemployment assistance.