Experience News in a New Way
President Obama has some people scratching their heads over his comments about the country’s current economic crisis, the worst since the Great Depression.
During a Seattle campaign stop, the president said the U.S. economy was a “house of cards” when took office. “And it collapsed in the most destructive, worst crisis that we’ve seen since the Great Depression. And sometimes people forget the magnitude of it … Sometimes I forget.”
Republicans have gone ballistic, as you would expect, especially now that more than 200,000 long-term jobless Americans are losing their unemployment checks.
That’s because Texas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania roll off the federal extended benefits program that provides up to 20 weeks of help after state and federal emergency benefits run out. That gave job seekers a cushion of up to 99 weeks.
By September, when the Democrats nominate the president for another four years, Alaska will be the only state offering extended benefits to workers who haven’t found jobs in nearly two years. Right now, that’s 5.1 million Americans, or about 41 percent of the jobless ranks.
Some policy makers and economics say losing those benefits will spur them on to get jobs, while others say this isn’t the time to roll up the safety net, which sounds like a politically correct version of pulling the rug out from under someone.
“The hundreds of thousands of long-term unemployed who are being abruptly pushed off the extended benefits program are just the latest wave of jobless workers forced to survive without basic financial protections,” said George Wentworth, senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group.