Congress needs to do the right thing and fully renew unemployment insurance for 2012 without change. Millions of workers are in the fight of their lives looking for work and are still trying to get back on their feet four years after Wall Street millionaires crashed our economy. Congress should be doing everything it can to help these Americans with their job search and to endure the hardship of unemployment. Congress must fully extend this critical assistance that keeps food on these families’ tables and roofs over their heads while they look for work.
But some politicians want to make the hardship worse. Unemployed workers have paid for and earned their benefits. Proposals that demonize them by requiring drug testing, denying benefits to workers without a high school diploma or GED, or making them “work off” their unemployment insurance through workfare programs, are mean-spirited, wrong and bad economics. These proposals permanently damage the unemployment insurance program, which is historically one of the best ways to boost our economy. It’s no surprise that the same politicians who say we “can’t afford” to continue helping the unemployed while they look for work are the same ones who want to cut taxes for billionaires and companies that ship jobs overseas.
Congress needs to pass a full renewal of unemployment insurance with no cuts to benefits and no mean-spirited requirements that kick out-of-work Americans to the curb.
Timm Twardoski, executive director
AFSCME Montana Council 9
AFL-CIO District 2 board member