The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Congress chops the unemployed

Nov 25, 2002

Congress adjourned without renewing the unemployment benefits extension, which will expire December 28, during the holidays. More than eight hundred thousand people will lose their benefits at that point, and every week after December 28, another 95,000 people will lose jobless benefits.

The extension that is expiring had been passed earlier this year, just in time for Congress to claim credit during the election campaigning. Of course, they never talked about that the fact that the extension was set to expire as soon as the elections were over.

Congress did talk about renewing an extension but couldn't come to an agreement. The House, controlled by Republicans, wanted to extend benefits – but only by five more weeks. The Senate, still controlled by the Democrats, would have provided only three additional months. Neither bill would have provided the long-term unemployment benefits which anyone unemployed would need.

During the recessions in the 1970s, Congress managed to extend unemployment benefits for more than twice the usual 26 weeks, to a total of 65 weeks for those who qualified. And even that's not enough.

We've heard for 10 years about how well the country has been doing. It can't be too poor to help those who need it ... its capitalists are just too greedy, and its political leaders so completely their servants.