On top of serious questions about the directive’s legality and workability, experts are warning that President Donald Trump’s executive action to extend the federal unemployment insurance boost at $400 per week—using $44 billion in funds meant for disaster relief—leaves out the poorest Americans by design.
The language of Trump’s unemployment memorandum issued over the weekend defines “eligible claimants” as those receiving “at least $100 per week” in state unemployment benefits—meaning that laid-off workers currently receiving less than $100 per week in aid will not see a dollar in federal relief unless states agree to increase their benefits. Continue reading →
In a floor speech late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the GOP’s newly released coronavirus stimulus package as a “carefully tailored” plan to provide financial relief to desperate Americans.
But a look at the legislative text (pdf) released by Senate Republicans shows the HEALS Act is replete with massive gifts to the Pentagon and defense contractors that would do nothing to aid the unemployed, provide nutrition assistance to hungry children, prevent an avalanche of evictions, or stop the spread of coronavirus. Continue reading →
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on workers. Reports of job hazards grow increasingly dire as several governors and President Trump push past CDC guidelines to “reopen” the economy while forecasts predict soaring infections and deaths.
Some states at the direction of the Labor Department threaten termination of unemployment benefits for workers fearing return to dangerous jobs. A disturbing June 5 New York Times’ report reveals how far those machinations have gone. The result: workers fired without pay or benefits or trapped in a deadly vice between poverty and disease. Continue reading →
A Bloomberg analysis released Tuesday estimates that nearly a third of the unemployment benefits owed to jobless Americans have not yet been paid out, a finding critics described as a “scandal” deserving of more media attention as millions of people struggle to afford basic expenses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Treasury disbursed $146 billion in unemployment benefits in the three months through May,” Bloombergreported. “But even that historic figure falls short of a total bill that should have reached about $214 billion for the period, according to Bloomberg calculations based on weekly unemployment filings and the average size of those claims.” Continue reading →
Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone. Photo: Public domain
Sens. Bernie Sanders, Mark Warner, Doug Jones, and Richard Blumenthal on Thursday unveiled legislation aimed at stemming coronavirus-induced mass layoffs in the United States by guaranteeing paychecks and healthcare benefits to laid-off and furloughed workers for the rest of 2020.
The Paycheck Security Act—introduced with support from senators across the ideological spectrum of the Democratic caucus, and with the notable backing of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—would massively expand the existing Employee Retention Tax Credit to cover wages, salaries, and benefits for laid-off or furloughed workers up to $90,000 per year. Continue reading →
Last year’s Moral March on Raleigh. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)
Rallying around a 14-point “People’s Agenda,” thousands gathered in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday for the annual Moral March calling for livable wages, environmental justice, healthcare for all, an end to racism and inequality, and more.
The movement stands in opposition to “the extreme and regressive agenda being pushed in North Carolina”—an agenda it says is “a reflection of what is happening across the United States.”
Photo By Eberhard Petzold, http://www.foto-dock.com [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Long term unemployment is at its highest level in the United States since World War II. At the time of this post being written, the prospect for any governmental intervention to help the long term unemployed gain any further benefits is stalled in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is an emblematic symbol of the inability of our government to do much meaningful to help the 99%.
How do we create an economy the provides good paying long term jobs for everyone willing and able to work? Not by shipping our manufacturing jobs overseas along with the empty containers and debt that comes with buying those goods from the nations who NOW manufacture the goods that we used to produce here. Not by signing another trade agreement that will allow more jobs to be sent to the countries who still have no viable laws against child labor. Not by buying the goods that are produced in countries that have tariffs against IMPORTS and provide subsidies that further allow them to undermine anything that may be construed as fair trade. Not by further deregulating our commodities and allowing speculators to drive up the prices of these commodities by 30% for the simple purpose of lining the pockets of the speculators themselves.
We can no longer listen to the mantra that we are becoming a “service oriented nation” which appears to have been a cover to get us to pay no attention to the fact that our good paying manufacturing jobs were being sold for the convenience and bank accounts of the 1%.
We need to invest in OUR infrastructure, OUR education system, and OUR workers. We need to vote with our wallets. We need to DEMAND that the politicians we elect have a REAL plan for full employment – employment within our borders – not outside.
We can’t all ask each other “do you want fries with that?” if we want to prosper.