Let’s Find a Fix 1 – Unemployment

OK, to this is the beginning of the series I was promising that would focus on the realities that we are facing in today’s America. Instead of the usual premise that government is bad, and thus should keep its hands out of everything, for the sake of this series, I would like to start from a different premise. That premise is that the world is what it is. Government is involved in everything. So the focus now has to shift away from the purely philosophical (although that doesn’t negate it, just changes the focus). What I mean is that it is OK to start from a point where we say, “government should not be involved” as where you would like to find a solution. But if we say that, we need to find a way to get there from here. I would like this to be a really open discussion with as many different ideas as possible. And no condescending to those who offer their thoughts. We have very different views all represented here. The idea behind my site was that we would have a place to discuss solutions despite the two party’s attempts to keep us separated by rhetoric. Time to get to doing that. So here are my rules for how we play this out:

  1. We must begin with where we are and find a solution.
  2. That solution can be ANYTHING, but must have the steps that get us there.
  3. The answer cannot simply be “that is an entitlement issue and not a right.” While that may be true based on your personal philosophy, that is not the situation we are in at the moment. For example, when we discuss Social Security, we have to understand you cannot turn it off tomorrow. If you believe the end game is no government involvement, have a plan to get there.
  4. You must back up positions with logic and factual data. Meaning that you can’t simply say this idea is better because I like it. You have to discuss how it would actually work to our advantage as a whole.
  5. As always, be respectful of other’s opinions. Different philosophy doesn’t mean that we can’t find solutions that work. Someone from the left may have a different philosophy, but that doesn’t mean parts of their ideas cannot work.

The first topic I was going to cover was social security. However, I have placed that on the back-burner for a couple of days to cover a topic that has been in the news far more often and far more prevalent these days. Unemployment.

Unemployment compensation is money received by an unemployed worker from the United States or a state. In the United States, this compensation is classified as a type of social welfare benefit. According to the Internal Revenue Code, these types of benefits are to be included in a taxpayer’s gross income. Through the Social Security Act of 1935, the Federal Government of the United States effectively encouraged the individual states into adopting unemployment insurance plans.

To facilitate this program, the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), which authorizes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to collect an annual federal employer tax used to fund state workforce agencies. FUTA covers the costs of administering the Unemployment Insurance and Job Service programs in all states. In addition, FUTA pays one-half of the cost of extended unemployment benefits (during periods of high unemployment) and provides for a fund from which states may borrow, if necessary, to pay benefits. As originally established, the states paid the federal government.

Obviously, different states can have different rules for how long unemployment benefits can be collected. As a general rule, most states offer 26 weeks worth of benefits to begin. This comes out to 6 months. In most states you can then get a 13 week extension at the end of the 26 weeks, adding another 3 months. Additionally, you can often get a second extension for another 7 weeks. This comes to a total of 46 weeks, or just about 1o and a half months. If you have not found work at that point, you are sort of out of luck, at least from my understanding.

As many of you may have followed in the news, Congress recently had a bit of a fervent issue with unemployment. Because of the economic problems in the country, Congress has been offering extended unemployment benefits, which increase the number of weeks eligible after those initial 46 weeks. The extension amounts to this:

Extended Benefit Tiers

  • Tier 1 – 20 weeks
  • Tier 2 – 14 weeks
  • Tier 3 – 13 additional weeks of benefits in states where the total unemployment rate 6% or higher.
  • Tier 4 – 6 additional weeks of benefits in states where the total unemployment rate is 8.5% or higher.

The controversy in the Senate came because the extended benefits program was about to come to an end unless the Senate passed legislation that re-newed the extended benefits program (the program ended on February 28). Senator Bunning, from Kentucky, decided that he was going to block the Senate from being able to bring it to a vote and get it passed. He refused to allow a motion to go to vote through each time it was brought up. This lasted for several days. His reasoning was that the Senate had not identified a way to pay for the bill, which was going to cost about $10 Billion. The Senate had just passed a bill stating that they couldn’t pass legislation that wasn’t paid for. They had voted to waive that requirement on this bill because it was considered an emergency bill. After grandstanding for several days, Bunning relented and allowed the bill to pass. The program was extended until May. It was a jackass move from Bunning, but he isn’t the point of this article.

There are many in the Senate who are looking to pass a more comprehensive (there’s that word again) bill that would guarantee the all people eligible for unemployment benefits will be so for 99 weeks. That equates to just short of two years. Now that IS important in our discussion.

So the bottom line here is that we have an unemployment system that seems as though it is somewhat necessary. Speaking from experience, it can be the difference in being able to pay your bills at a minimum level and losing everything that you have. I have no objection to people drawing unemployment. They have paid into the system in order to pay for it after all. In my 25 years of employment, I have paid in for the entire time, and have never drawn unemployment. Should I need it, I think I have more than paid for it. Mrs. Weapon lost her job in November, and drew it for 3 months until she found a job. It was also her first time ever collecting. In all honesty, had we not been conscientious consumers over the last decade, we would have been in trouble. We had put money away and not purchased things we couldn’t pay for outright besides our cars and house. Had we lived more on the edge, as most Americans do, we could have been in much hotter water.

But I do know this about her time on unemployment. She lost her job through no fault of her own. The company had 13 people in her position and only enough work for 9. But once she was out of work, she immediately got to work finding new employment. It was an every day job looking for work. She didn’t sit around and collect. She actively and fervently looked for work. It took her three months. It would have taken her much longer if she had demanded she get a similar position. That work just wasn’t out there. So she took what was available. And that means that she is learning to do a completely new job (and rockin at it). It is a step down in responsibility and prestige in her industry. But she decided that was what was necessary. She hated being on unemployment.

So along those lines, the first question for me is whether or not it is necessary for the government to be extending the benefit period to 99 weeks. Almost two years of drawing a check without working. And a full year of drawing beyond the unemployment insurance that you paid for. Is this necessary? I have to be honest and say that I actively watch job stuff where I live. During her time out of work, there were jobs. There were plenty of retail positions available. Lots of convenience store openings. And almost every single fast food restaurant in the area had signs up looking for help. She and I discussed the idea that after a certain point, she was going to take something in those opportunities for the short term if she didn’t find suitable work in her industry. So in a climate where Congress is telling us we have to pass these bills because the work just isn’t there, why do I see so many openings around where I live?

I understand that in the positions I listed above, people would be working for minimum wage or slightly higher. Which means that the money they take home from working a job will only be slightly higher than the money that they would receive from Unemployment. So they will be working much harder for not much more money. I talk to a lot of people in my community. For the less educated folks who cannot qualify for much more than these jobs, there is an overwhelming feeling of “why should I work that hard for an extra $30 a week?” I cannot claim that this is the majority of people, or even pinpoint a percentage. But those people are out there. And the number isn’t a small number.

I guess my question them becomes, shouldn’t we demand that people fill those jobs? Don’t we have the right to demand that people do that shitty job for $30 more a week, not because the $30 is worth it, but because they are capable of working, and there is work that needs done? Should people even have the option of deciding that some work is beneath them, or that the pay is not enough to justify working a job they don’t like? I think that we should demand that of them. Unemployment insurance is supposed to provide benefits for people who are unable to find work…. at all. It is supposed to be a last line of defense safety net when there is absolutely no other option. To be truthful, I am OK with the safety net being there, because I see the need for it. But I am not OK with people choosing to use the safety net because it is more convenient than working. I would never consider unemployment for myself unless there were NO jobs for me to take. Doesn’t really matter what the job is, if it pays at least what unemployment is paying, I feel I have an obligation to work.

So I think that 99 weeks is a little too long to be providing the benefits, for two reasons. First of all, I have a firm belief that within that first 46 weeks people have time to either find some sort of job, even if it is beneath them. Folks on the left talk about the greater good. I am sure they can agree that the greater good is served by working any job that pays unemployment level or above. After all, not working and simultaneously not having some job positions filled certainly isn’t serving the greater good. Second, I believe that in a situation where you have no employment in your area (Detroit for example), you owe it to your family to get out of dodge and move to an area where there are jobs. I know that sucks. But I just believe it is what is needed. This obviously doesn’t apply when your spouse is working. You don’t give up one spouses good job simply because the other can’t find bad work.

But, after all this discussion, we come to the problem. Unemployment is not a sustainable endeavor. Sure, it works during periods when unemployment is low. But the longer we go into extended recessions and possible depressions, the more we see the government having to supplement the original benefits, while having no way to pay for them. The bill the Senate passed this week extended benefits for roughly two months. It cost $10 Billion. That is $60 Billion a year for extended benefits. $60 Billion the government doesn’t have. And at a time when it seems that every bill they pass increases government expenditures rather than decreasing them. So as we continue to spend money we don’t have on programs we don’t need, we reach an ever increasing deficit of money to pay for things like this. We have to begin finding a better way forward to provide the safety net that I think most people agree that we need. At the government’s rate of increased spending, we are going to need it sooner rather than later.

OK, I have offered some thoughts on unemployment. I am positive that I haven’t hit on everything that I should have hit on. But I laid out the information that I could. Now comes the hard part. Finding a solution. Remember the rules. We have to start with where we are. And we have to have some idea of how to get to where we want to get. So I guess the best place to start is determining where we want to go, then we can figure out how to get there. Does that sound about right? I mean you can’t draw a map without a destination.

And I caution everyone to not attempt to get too in depth to begin. We have all weekend and Monday (no new article Monday morning assuming this discussion is going along well) to discuss this and hash out ideas. So let’s start slowly and discuss what we want to be able to point to as a goal. Is it to get government completely out of the unemployment business (because isn’t it great that they cause it then promise to solve it and take care of us until they do? ). Or is that simply impossible in this area? Should it be completely state run, with the federal government having absolutely no say in it at all? Or a mesh of the two. What parts need government, in your opinion, and why. What parts require the federal government, and why? This is an awful tough one to remove government altogether from. But I am open to ideas. We have a lot of brain power on this site. Let’s see if we are smarter than the government assclowns that keep getting us into this mess.

Unemployment benefits – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Comments

  1. Good Morning All!

    posting for comments.

  2. I think that the “safety net” is necessary. It is difficult enough to raise a family without worrying about being kicked to the curb if you lose your job. That being said, there is always going to be some danger involved, and there should be. Look at tenure programs in high schools. If teachers aren’t afraid to lose their jobs, what motivation do they have to teaching well. It is the young, motivated teachers who lose their jobs when budgets get cut.

    I think unemployment benefits should be limited in scope. The government will help you if you lose your job, but at some point they can no longer afford to do so. It would be great if we could help everyone with every problem, but we need to live in the real world. Two years is far too long.

    Here is my path to a solution:
    1. Unemployment benefits will be limited to X months with the opportunity for a Y month extension at the end of the period.
    2. At the end of the benefit period, unemployed people have the option to enroll in a reduced extension program wherein they must prove they are working, but are not making some minimum number. The unemployment compensation will be such that the person’s wages are lifted to the level they would receive under the original program.
    3. The reduced extension program would be limited to Z months.
    4. At the end of the program, no additional benefits may be collected for a total of W months.

    Some reasoning:
    This allows people to pay the bills and whatnot, but requires them to do some work at least. Go work in fast food or something and then the gov’t can help you bring up your wages so you can take care of your family. This way the cost to the gov’t decreases and people are encouraged to work. Also, by working at such a job, the person is encouraged to find a better job. I certainly wouldn’t want to work in fast food!
    In the end, there has to be a stopping point. To be realistic, we can’t support people forever and they need to take some responsibility for themselves and their families at some point. I believe there is a time for tough love. I know for a fact that there are people out there working 2-3 jobs to make a living. It may not be pleasant or seem fair, but who says life is either of those things?

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Overall I like it.

      I completely agree that we as a society must provide a safety net for people who find themselves out of work. However, that safety net cannot go on for ever, its just unsustainable.

      I would probably be a little more lenient than you in terms of length of X/Y/Z – probably change them all to Xs (eg., If 6-months unemployment benefits, allow for a one-time only 6-month exentension, and then allow for an additional 6-months at a reduced rate).

      In order to qualify for the 6-month extenstion I would require proof that the individual is actively looking for a job. Perhaps during the first 6-months they can be allowed to look for work within their general field; during the extention they must expand their search in order to obtain a job period. Assuming the job they find does not pay a ‘livable wage’ (which we can define with some reference to poverty levels) then they can apply to receive reduced benefits for that last 6-months.

      My only problem with this approach is the ‘bleeding heart liberal’ in me that you’ve all come to love so much — what to do about those (admittedly extremely few) individuals that do not find work despite honestly and actively looking for the unemployment period and the extension period? This would be especially true if we reduce the length of the benefit period (obviously the longer the benefits period the much more likely the individual will have a job).

      To appeal to my conservative friends though I would also want to impose some income/resource requirements on the ability to obtain these unemployment benefits. Not sure where I would draw the line though – don’t want to be too harsh to require people to go bankrupt, but at the same time we cannot extend the safety net to everyone.

      • Buck

        “I completely agree that we as a society must provide a safety net for people who find themselves out of work.”

        The fact that you used the word MUST indicates a view that will destroy any net you wish to construct. It conveys a “requirement” as in a “right to get” and thus an “obligation to provide”.

        Replace the word MUST with WOULD LIKE TO and you will find some ground to build on.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          No I am very satisfied with ‘must’ in that regard. The key definition here is ‘safety net’ – how large of a net?

          By the way, still giving some thought to Marbury — I see what you’re saying with Sec. 13 of the Judiciary Act but am approaching it a bit differently. I read up on some of the opposing views you mentioned as well – some interesting arguments. How was dinner in the ‘city’ (your quotes, not mine) with your son?

          • Buck

            Oh I know full well you are comfortable with MUST. You are a slave.

            I MUST NOT do anything for anyone I DON’T CHOOSE to do. I am a free man.

            Son was too tired. So stayed home and I made Mac n Cheese and we watched Beast Wars.

            How was your night on the town?

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Ah more of this slave nonsense! I am waiting to hear your solution though…

              Good night out, as always – got to catch up with my dad over a few drinks and a good meal.

      • v. Holland says:

        Very good ideas-I like the reduced extension program for people who take lower paying jobs-it is a good way to motivate people to just get a job, it would lower the cost for unemployment benefits while raising the persons self esteem.

      • I agree that we’ll see things differently on the X/Y/Z, but I’m glad we’re on the same page.

        In terms of those who can’t find a job after the program ends, I would feel bad ending their benefits, but they can’t stay on the program forever. While we attribute better qualities to those who are actively trying and those who are not, the result is the same. Unsustainability does not discriminate. I find it hard to believe that someone could not find a job of some kind after 1.5 years. Making $10 per hour may not be flattering, but it pays the bills. You may not be able to afford much, but that is life.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Pretty much agree. The ones I’m really worried about are those that cannot work for some reason. But that’s not something that Unemployment should/can cover.

  3. Ray Hawkins says:

    @USW & @SUFA

    You do pose an interesting question with respect to those “shitty” jobs that only pay “x” peanuts above what unemployment would provide. Speaking from my own experience – years ago I lost my job (slightly after tech bubble burst and 9/11). It was a blindside and I was ill prepared for it. As with many jobs my field can easily take 3 months to get the new job cradle-to-grave (resumes, interview cycles, negotiation, etc). In that case it took me a good four months. In that time I worked 2nd shift work packing and unpacking tracks (back breaking work) and during the day I worked part time as a butcher and did a few small beans consulting assignments I could dredge up on my own – all so I could still have time to interview and find a more stable job in my field. I didn’t take dime in unemployment and my wife and I didn’t lose much ground financially. Sorry to be harsh – but to answer your question and use your example – your wife didn’t need to draw unemployment – she choose to do so.

    And here is a sticky point I have with this – and what I hear from so many people – “I paid into it so I will get my share when I need to/feel like it”. That is the mentality that enables the system to perpetuate – even though work ethic-wise you and your wife are likely eons apart from many of the people that jackpot the system and figure out how to make it part of their permanent compensation structure (work then unemployment then work then unemployment). I agree that the “safety net” is needed – it must be the net of last resort – and it must be very limited. The rub here is that the benefits extensions that my poor ex-Phillie Jim Bunning was skewered over – these benefits become “necessary” because of the other macro-level problems – it all ties in together which means you can’t solve one without solving many here.

    I say pull it back to 6 months, no extensions – the more people know it can be essentially perpetually extended the less incined they can inherently become to nail something down.

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Where is Ray and what have you done with him? 🙂

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Morning Karyn – hope you are well!

      • Mathius says:

        Where indeed…

      • I’ll third that

        • Cyndi P says:

          I think Ray might just find his way to the ‘Darkside’ yet….Come on over Ray, you’ll have lots friends!! LOL!

          Ray, can you now understand how some of us feel when it comes to the entitlement mentality? Were not mean people, we just don’t like being taken advantage of.

          Hope your day is going well….

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            I don’t even like calling it a safety net – nets get people all entangled and they are hard to get out of. Call it a safety trampoline – with really stiff springs.

    • Ray

      “poor ex-Phillie Jim Bunning”

      I did not know that was the same Jim Bunning.

      Man, when you said your politics was “complicated” you weren’t kidding 🙂

      Raising the Coffee Mug to Ya this mornin
      JAC

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Morning JAC – hope all is well.

        Unemployment troubles me much – I have had family use it & abuse it.

        a. A relative who was fired from job drew and drew and drew some more – was “supposedly” filling out job apps to keep the government off their back – they never had any intention of finding a job – they viewed the time off as a vacation and ‘somebody’ owed them since they paid for several years into unemployment.

        b. Another relative is a metal sheetworker – has a union card but moved (on own accord) to a notoriously weak union area. Spent several years in the cycle – work a union job for 4-6 months then get laid off and start collecting – it is very common and in their ranks – accepted practice. He still has his card but doesn’t work union any more. Know what? He has remained gainfully employed 100% since leaving the union behind.

    • v. Holland says:

      I agree that there has to be a limit to the amount of time that people can receive benefits-between the people who won’t even bother looking for a job until right before benefits run out and the depression that so many people feel when they lose their job-some type of incentive has to be employed to get people motivated.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        I think some of this speaks to values as well. People lose a sense of urgency to find work if they know they can ride the pine for a while and collect more and more money.

        • v. Holland says:

          Your right-I have know several people who have laughingly said to me-My benefits are about to run out, so I have to seriously look for a job now. Knew one guy like your relative-he would work long enough to qualify for benefits, then he would “get fired” (on purpose)-seems he was an artist and preferred to spend his time doing artistic things 🙂

    • Amazed1 says:

      Ray said “I paid into it so I will get my share when I need to/feel like it”.
      Are there states that actually hold unemployment out of people’s payroll checks? FUTA is paid only by the employer and in Arkansas SUTA is paid only by the employer. When it is used by laid off employees the rate for the employer goes up thereby costing an employer more in SUTA if he lays off employees.
      I agree that a partial plan would be good where a person works and uses unemployment to make up the difference in pay. The gov’t would also do better to have a work plan, even if it is picking up trash on the highway. The problem is it is hard to look for work if you are holding down a job just to pay the bills. If you miss work just one day or a few hours you probably couldn’t pay all the bills that week. So that may cause a catch 22.

  4. v. Holland says:

    Why can’t the unemployment office insist that people who receive benefits work with a private sector employment office-it seems to me that if the benefits were tied to working with and paying a reasonable fee to an employment agency(when they get you a job) that more people would get work and that it would be harder for people to get around the” have to look for work rule” and if all people on unemployment had to work with an employment agency-the agencies would develop a cheaper and comprehensive list of job opportunities.

  5. USW

    I have one short comment on your post. Will tackle the actual topic later.

    “It was a jackass move from Bunning, but he isn’t the point of this article.”

    SHAME ON YOU!!!

    Bunning’s ploy is exactly what we need MORE of and he should be held up as a hero, not chastised.

    His spineless Republican brothers should be tarred and feathered for not standing with him.

    If we don’t start standing on principles, we will forever wallow in the muck.

    And for the record, Bunning’s little blockade didn’t cost a single person a darn thing. Some federal employees got a few extra paid vacation days.

    Back later, got to get boy off to school.
    JAC

    • v. Holland says:

      I agree-the problem is that he caved-we ask them to stand on certain principal but we bash them when they do. All he was saying was it had to follow the law, that they just passed-doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. Isn’t a lot of our problems caused by their deciding that something is always an exception or should I say a convenient loop hole.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      JAC,

      I am in the Bunning fan club as well.

      It seemed to me he was saying, “we can’t do this unless we can show that we have the money to pay for it. After all, PAYGO is law.”

      I know there are some who will argue that he was being a hypocrite because he didn’t even vote for PAYGO, but you know what, so what?

      Most of us here claim that we want the government to start spending money responsibly (and preferably spend as little of it as possible). If that is truly the case, then we should be applauding Jim Bunning. To not applaud him would make us hypocrites.

      Bunning never said he was AGAINST the extension of benefits. The entire time he said “We are all FOR extending benefits in this difficult time, I just want us to show how we are gonna PAY for that extension!”

      • So what if he didn’t vote for it; once passed it is now the law and should be upheld by everyone, right?

    • JAC,

      Ditto, US. I was very pleased with Bunning’s play. He asked for a very reasonable solution, using unspent stimulus money to pay for this extension.
      He asked very simply, when will we be fiscally responsible? Why not now?

    • JAC:

      I agree with your comments. Bunning was correct in his stance over the pay as you go issue.

    • I’m with you JAC and very surprised by your take on this USW. If we are ever going to make a dent in reducing entitlements we will need a whole lot more Bunnings in Washington.

      All he was doing was asking the Senate to support the PayGo bill that they had passed earlier. What was wrong with that? Very disappointed at those who consider themselves fiscally conservative weren’t standng there beside him.

    • USWeapon says:

      JAC and others,

      I understand the sentiment. And in theory, I am with you. But the reality was different from theory, only because it needed to get done and it was going to get done. I was with him the first day that he did it. I liked that he took a stand for his principles. I obviously question whether he was standing on principle or simply playing games. And I don’t think that it is fair to give him all the benefit of the doubt in this case. He is, after all, a politician. Would you all be giving him the same benefit of the doubt and your high fives had he been standing on a principle that you didn’t agree with? Or would you be calling him a jackass. Or make it the same principle. Would you feel the same if the name was changed to Reid, or Al Franken? Or would you then be calling them on a jackass move.

      His proposal was to remove a subsidy that was being given to paper mills. It had no backing from anyone. It had no chance for passage and did nothing but delay things. And yes, it did cause some folks to have the benefits delayed, but only for a day or two. What it also accomplished was increasing the cost of administering those benefits, as state workers had to scramble at the last minute to make it happen.

      I understand everyone wanting to slap him on the back for standing on principle, which is exactly what we ask Congress to do, but I am not yet convinced he was actually doing so, as opposed to putting his name in the paper.

      USW

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        USW,

        The fact that he is retiring after this term and not running for re-election makes it more likely (in my mind) that he was standing on principle rather than playing games.

        Just my opinion.

  6. OKEE DOKIE THEN

    A few things that must be recognized before tackling the question.

    1. Unemployment during major downturns is different than unemployment during normal times.

    2. Solution to Unemployment Compensation = Low Unemployment = Robust Economy = Sound Monetary Policy = Sound Fiscal Policy + Minimal Restrictive Regulations + Normal Business Cycles.

    3. It is simply the nature of most humans to NOT work if they DON’T have to work.

    • v. Holland says:

      He said to start from where we are-HE HE 🙂

      • VH

        I am starting from where we are my dear.

        But first we must define the actual problem in terms of all the connections.

        Or, we can just jump to my proposal before and move on to the next problem.

        Big hug to ya this morning V.H. Think I’ve been neglecting you lately in that dept.
        🙂

        JAC

  7. OKIE DOKIE Part II

    V.Holland this is for you cause you want me to stay on task.

    Bunning was pilloried (hows that for a $2 word so early in the morning?) for standing in the way of adding $10 billion in unemployment compensation.

    ELIMINATE THE U.S. DEPT OF EDUCATION and then use the funds to extend unemployment payments to the extent of the depts discretionary appropriations. That would be $63.7 billion per year.

    “ED currently administers a budget of $63.7 billion in FY 2010 discretionary appropriations (including discretionary Pell Grant funding) and $96.8 billion in discretionary funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education.”

    There, two birds with one stone.

    That ought to make the brain matter heat up

    Good Morning to Everyone
    JAC

    • v. Holland says:

      I’m thinking, trying to figure out just what it is that the Department of Education does 🙂

      • V.H.

        Its quite simple.

        They collect money from the tax payers with no strings attached and then they send it back to the States with strings attached.

        They take your money and then offer it back to you for your kids college fund, with interest and other fees attached.

        I knew you were just funnin me a little up above. Your getting to darn clever. Its getting harder and harder to sneak by ya.

        🙂 🙂

    • Considering our discussion last night–my brain is fried 🙂

      • Antia

        Been waiting for you to awake.

        I tried to leave you in calm state last night but then I see you woke that darn Pirate.

        You know sometimes it is best to close the window and wait until the next day.

        Let me say this.

        I was not chastising the kids for demonstrating in general. I in fact wish they would do it more often.

        What struck me was what they were demonstrating about. Having memories of the 60’s and 70’s burned in my brain I found it quite odd. Especially given that there were obvious “gray beards” helping to organize and stir the pot.

        I did see one interesting idea posted at Huffington last night. It was a suggestion that the student boycott college entirely for one year. That might get the administrators attention.

        Anyhow, I’ll leave it for now cause V.H. is watching me close and I don’t want to get off task.

        Good morning and again, sorry for getting the adrenaline up right before bed time.

        JAC

      • Alright, was out last night. What fun did I miss? Going back to yesterday’s post to catch up. Hate it when you guys have fun without me……

        • JAC posted above about Dept of Ed on purpose just to get me going. (I know you’re probably sincere Mountain Man)

          • Anita

            You give me to much credit.

            It was an actual proposal alone. I missed the, now obvious, connection to last night. Maybe I need another cup of Joe.

  8. Excuse my ignorance of unemployment but…

    Are there any drug testing policies for benefits?

    Is there a limit on the amount of times you can draw and work, draw and work, etc.?

    Is the 99 week extension a one time extension for the time being or could someone draw for 2 years and then work 6 months and then go back on unemployment for another 2 years?

    To stay on unemployment, you have to show that you are actively looking for work? If that is correct, how is this enforced?

  9. Alright my turn.

    The purpose of unemployment insurance is to provide a safety net.

    It is not there to allow people to take a several month vacation.

    It is not there to allow you the time to hold out for a comparable job.

    It’s not there to keep you comfortable.

    Period.

    I was laid off in December. I was given a very generous severance. I sat on the couch and watched TV for a month, then went looking for a job. I received no unemployment benefits. I was employed again by February. Just to be clear: I got a comparable job (actually a slight promotion and raise) in one of the toughest industries to get hired in (hedge funds) in the toughest economic market in decades. And it took me a month of actual effort.

    I recognize that this is not always the case. I recognize that others are not always so fortunate (I happen to have certain very valuable niche skills). I understand the jobs aren’t always there and that not everyone gets the benefit of a severance package. I understand not everyone has savings to fall back on. I get it, I do.

    But-

    But I view UI as a safety net. You want UI? OK great, but we’re not going to let you sit on your ass and collect. So here’s my proposal:
    1. No drugs, regular and random screenings. Zero tolerance, reapplication permitted in six months.

    2. No alcohol / smoking / gambling / vacations. These are luxuries and I am not paying for you to have luxuries – if you have the money for these, I’m giving you too much. Likewise, you may not purchase a new vehicle (used, but not new).

    3. People receiving UI shall work for the government 5 days a week, 9 hours a day – cleaning up litter / crossing guards / charity work / whatever. (time off will always be granted for interviews and other application-related activities).
    3a. They may work 4 days a week if they are enrolled full time in school or in training which will make them more employable.
    3b. Certain individuals will be selected to call and followup to ensure that other UI recipients applying for jobs are actually doing so. They will also follow up randomly after interviews to ensure that the applicants aren’t deliberately failing to get hired.
    3c. Certain individuals with managerial experience will supervise the workers. Permanent government employees will supervise them. This cuts down on the need for an expensive bureaucracy.
    3d. Unwillingness to work hard enough can result in termination of benefits. This is just like any other job – you must show up on time, be suitably dressed, be professional, work hard. Don’t want to? No problem, but we’re not paying you.

    4. Recipients must exhaust all opportunities for employment. This may or may not include relocation. I recognize holding out for a little while (as Mrs. Weapon did) before going straight to fast food, but I disagree with the premise. I’m not paying for you to get a good job, I’m paying for you to eat and have a roof over your head. By all means, continue to look once you get the menial job. (Note that this problem will take care of itself. McDonald’s will eventually stop hiring overqualified individuals who will leave soon after McDonald’s incurred the cost of training them, so recipients effectively be forced to wait for a more suitable job).

    5. You may be compelled to take job skill training courses. For example, if the only thing you know how to do is work with a dying industry, rather than push you back into it, they may compel you to select (you select, not the government) a new industry which they will have you train for in lieu of some/all work under #3.

    6. Term of benefits shall be unlimited. I know, I know, I know.. this seems like a bad idea. But because applicants are forced to apply to all viable jobs and to give a viable effort and to take any jobs offered, they cannot stay unemployed longer than is absolutely necessary. Those who cannot get work (because they are disabled, mentally impaired, etc), can continue receiving benefits. Everyone else will either get a job as soon as they are able, or will be ‘fired’ due to lack of effort or violation of the drug / alcohol / gambling policy.

    7. To be eligible, you must have no savings. The point of savings is for a rainy day. Until you run out of the ability to provide for yourself, I see no obligation on my part to help you. You can’t sit on a pile of money and expect me to pay for you because you don’t have income – that’s ridiculous. Likewise, you may not receive if your spouse has sufficient income / savings.

    These are relatively easy changes to put through one at a time.. as a group, I think it would be impossible, but just one change and then another? I think it’s doable. And it changes the system from one where the incentive is to not work to one where you have to work regardless.

    This fixes several problems:
    -Since you’re working anyway, you do not lose by taking a different low paying job.
    -You cannot choose to pass up the openings for under-employment
    -You cannot treat your unemployment as a vacation
    -We are not paying for your luxuries
    -We get some benefit from what we’re giving you (the labor you provide, ie cleaning up liter etc)
    -We don’t pay for slackers / druggies.
    -The person must actually be in need, not just temporarily out of the job.

    Thoughts? Comments?

    • My thought is if you are going to require them to work for their benefits…picking up trash and such, then to tell them they cannot drink or smoke is a bit much…after all they are “working” for what they are getting…not to mention the cost to enforce those.

      • They are receiving work that doesn’t really need to be done. We already have little pick, but this is on top of it. The point of making them work is not really to get things done, but to make it so that staying unemployed is a less attractive situation and to get some marginal benefit for society.

        Put yourself in the situation..

        Scenario A. You receive benefits and don’t have to do anything. You can get a full time job for $50 more a week. Which do you choose?

        Scenario B. You receive benefits that make you work 40 hours a week. You can get a job that pays $50 more a week. The two are roughly equal. But note that if you don’t work, you can’t enjoy the luxuries of smoking / drinking etc. So now what do you choose?

        The reason to tell them not to smoke/drink/gamble is because these are luxuries. If the government is giving you money to live and eat and you have so much you can afford to blow it on luxuries, the government is giving you too much money. I would be willing to entertain the argument that getting caught doing these will simply reduce your benefits rather than terminating them.

        As for the increased cost of enforcement, I disagree. The cost of the drug tests will more than be offset by the savings from cutting those people off. As for alcohol / smoking etc, I would think it’s more one of those situations where you’re in trouble if you get caught, but that the program can’t/won’t go out and actively try to catch you. But if your manager sees you coming out of a bar, or you are seen smoking over lunch, you would get in trouble (probably not a zero-tolerance policy, maybe three strikes?). This is kind of the way you can smoke pot outside of work and it’s not a problem, but if you come in smelling of it, you’re in trouble.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          You’re confusing an illegal substance with a legal substance. If the government is paying you, you most certainly should be kicked off benefits for using that money on illegal goods. But you should most certainly be able to spend the money you are earning (in your proposal, the money is earned by way of the fact that you are requiring these individuals to work for the government in some fashion) in any way you choose to spend that money.

          Your argument doesn’t even require them to have spent their money on alcohol or smoking to lose their benefits — even if they bum a cigarette off a friend they would be kicked off!?

          I can see your point more when it comes to an alcoholic or gambling addict. But then, my solution would be to require that individual to seek help and make progress in order to retain their benefits, not just kicking them to the curb.

          • The problem is that smoking is not necessary for survival, nor is alcohol. The point of this sort of help is to cover your cost of living, not help you live it up to the same level you were while working.

            • Mathius says:

              HALLELUJAH! JB gets it!

              Who would have thought JB would side with be against Buck?

            • Buck The Wala says:

              And my point is that the individual should be allowed to allocate their own funds.

              If the issue was “should we increase their benefits so to allow them to purchase more booze” the answer is clearly no. But once we establish that level of support we will provide…

              • Mathius says:

                I have established the level of support I’m willing to provide. It’s not a dollar amount – it’s a practical usage amount. I will provide enough for basic necessities. Whatever that means.

                I have a moral obligation to give you enough that you don’t suffer. It is not an obligation to give you a certain amount of money for you to do with as you wish. The two seem similar, but they are very different.

              • Mathius,

                Whether or not you feel an obligation does not create such on me.

              • Mathius says:

                Can we agree that, here in the real world, if you’re going to be forced to pay – and you are going to be forced to pay – for a perceived obligation, you’d rather be forced to only pay for their basic needs rather than their wants? If nothing else, it means they take less from you.

                Straight answer, if you please.

              • v. Holland says:

                They’re not going to take less if the amount they can receive is established-it’s a matter of not letting the government get unreasonable control over people.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                I’m with VH on this — once we establish how much is a ‘livable’ amount and we pay that amount to them, that’s it.

                There’s no place for then putting absolute restrictions on what they can or can’t buy with that money.

              • Richmond Spitfire says:

                Hi Mathius,

                To me, it seems that you are lumping those who are unemployed into the same bucket as those who don’t work (i.e. Welfare).

                I know that there is “abuse” of unemployment insurance as many have outlined here.

                However, in my opinion, there is a very large difference between a person who has been laid off and is actively persuing employment vs. a person who doesn’t work and is on welfare.

                That difference is called Personal Responsibility.

                A person who has been gainfully employed usually is a responsible person.

                Responsible people do not need to have their personal liberties monitored.

                It seems to me that those who lean left take the worse example and use that example as the baseline for everyone else.

                In my observations, those leaning left have the mindset that just because there are a few bad apples, that the entire bushel is now contaminated and should be thrown out — thus removing liberties; whereas those leaning right seem to have the mindset of removing the bad apples from the bushel so that remaining and viable apples may be saved — thus retaining personal liberties.

                Again…just my opinion…

                Best Regards,
                RS

              • v. Holland says:

                By my count I think that’s 3 Buck-We are doing good-American’s United We Stand 🙂

    • v. Holland says:

      I’m aware this is an emotional response but goodness, lets just throw them in jail for losing their jobs.

      • Please elaborate. You think I’m too harsh? This is a purely voluntary program. The point is to incentivize people to get jobs instead of sticking on the government dole. And, at the same time, to get something of value in return from the recipients of this money.

      • v. Holland says:

        Okay, I will elaborate-you are all for the government paying for everything and taxing the people for these programs but you seem to be very willing to take away all of these peoples freedoms if they actually use the programs-how about health care-if I use health care does the government then have the right to say I can’t smoke, I can’t eat fast food etc.

        • There are things the gov’t should and shouldn’t do. One of the things it should not do is tax me to give you luxury. Another thing it shouldn’t do is incentivize staying on the dole. It should provide a system which has rules designed to get you off the dole quickly and which, if you are unwilling to follow will result in terminating your benefits. It should also give you just enough for a bare minimum standard of living, nothing more.

          You have the rights to do all of these things, but not if you want the government to pay your bills. So no freedom is being taken away. This should be a system of last resort, not of convenience.

          I am ok with the necessary evil of taxes, but I will not condone the use of taxes to support a system which does not uphold this concept.

          I am ok forcing you to help buy a man in need food for his table. I am not ok forcing you to help buy him a pack of Virginia Slims (yes, he smokes Virginia Slims).

          • v. Holland says:

            The point in my mind Mathius is that the taxpayers pay for them and yes if we’re gonna have them there have to be regulations but and it’s a big but-the mere fact that government is involved in all of this does take away our rights the minute we are in a position that we have to actually use one of the programs that we helped pay for-the government can step in and control us- the more they are involved in the more control they have-at least be honest enough to admit that government handout means government control it means loss of freedom-and the policies that you stand for like health care will eventually force everyone to be on the government hand out list.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Ah, Mathius. You surprise me some days.

      To take your suggestions:

      1) Drugs? Ok, fine – I can support that.

      2) Alcohol? No – this is a legal substance. Just because the individual is receiving unemployment does not mean he cannot have a drink. It’s frustrating being out of work looking for a job; he can probably use that drink. Now if you are strictly talking about alocholics, then I can agree.

      3) Mandatory work for the government? Not as you laid out. I understand the appeal of your suggestion (if we’re giving this money to them, might as well make them work for it). But something just strikes me the wrong way with this proposal. Maybe if we started down this track after giving the individuals a reasonable amount of time to find a job on their own…For instance, X-months unemployment benefits and then in order to extend those benefits for another X-months, the individual must work for the government?? That may be better. I’d have to give the entire idea more thought though.

      4) Exhaust all opportunities — yes and no. They absolutely must exhaust all opportunities, but we shouldn’t just immediately force them to take whatever ridiculously low-paying job they can muster. After a certain amount of time though, yes – they should take whatever is there.

      5) Training in lieu of mandatory work for the government — same response as #3 above. Perhaps after a reasonable amount of time.

      6) Unlimited benefits — this goes a little to my point about what to do for the very few who genuinely cannot work. Not sure if this should even be in the domain of unemployment – there are other programs for these individuals. But I do agree with the general point.

      7) A requirement for no savings — absolutely not. Yes, savings are meant for a rainy day. But I do not like the idea of forcing people into bankruptcy before they can begin to receive unemployment. That being said, there must be some threshold amount, above which the individual cannot receive unemployment. I don’t know where that line should be drawn, but I would be against any proposal whereby individuals must exhaust all of their available resources. We can look to Medicaid a bit for some guidelines – they have very strict (too strict in my opinion) guidelines for the amount of resources an individual can have before receiving Medicaid benefits.

      • 2.

        It may be a legal substance, but the point is that I’m not paying for you to have luxuries. If you need my help, that’s fine, but I’m not interested in helping you if you have the money to burn (literally) on cigarettes. If you are, say, a chain smoker, that’s maybe 50-75 bucks a week that we are paying for. And I say no. I am not paying for your habit. I am paying for you to have a roof over your head and food on your table.

        Just to think about it conceptually, imaging there are two beggars outside your buidling. One is smoking and has a bottle of scotch in the one hand. The other does not. Which would you give money to? Why?

        • Buck The Wala says:

          The one with the bottle of scotch – at least he’s being honest. 🙂

          Yes it is a luxury, but so long as the individual receiving benefits is satisfying their requirements (e.g., proof of job search) it is not you to say how they spend their money. This is even more true if you are putting them to work, as then the money is earned and not just a free handout.

          What about the person who is not a chain smoker, but has the occassional cigarette? Or the occassional beer with friends?

          • Because the work is being created for the sole purpose of giving them something to do. It is still a handout, just not as attractive of a handout as something for nothing.

            It’s not about how they spend their money. It’s about how they spend my money. It’s a negative covenant. I will give you money, but you may only use it on necessities, not luxuries.

            What about the casual smoker / drinker? They still can.. I’m amenable to a three strikes rule. But I don’t think I should be paying for you to have a causal drink. I’m paying for you to eat. If you have enough left over to drink, I should have given you less.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              If you are requiring them to work, you are no longer giving them a handout, but paying them for their work.

              Regardless of whether it is a handout or payment though, your proposal is much too draconian for my taste. So what if they want to purchase a drink using their money – you are only giving them a finite amount, how they spend it is their business.

              Even with a three strikes rule – they bum three cigarettes on three days during lunch. Do you kick them off benefits? Do you require them to prove they did not purchase that cigaretee?

              • I would suggest that we are paying them for their work AND we are giving them a handout at the same time. We are creating work that doesn’t really need to be done in order to give them something to do. The value of the work is less than we’re paying for it. Therefore, we’re subsidizing it.

                You “earned” $4/hr but we paid you $6. See the difference?

                I have to agree that there has to be some logic in the application of this rule. What if it’s a pretty girl and she regularly gets drinks bought for her at the bar? Why shouldn’t she be allowed these? She should. I see your problem, but I would suggest that the manager is the one to decide if the recipient is abusing their benefits.

                I see your concerns and would have to think about it. This may not be viable in practice. But I really like it in theory..

              • Richmond Spitfire says:

                Maybe UI recipients could have a Henna “UI” tattooed on their foreheads…then, we could do away with the “managers”.

                I get your points about the “system” being abused…Yet, how about nit-picking on Welfare recipients instead of nit-picking at people who have/want to legitmately work. Why should ALL of out-of-work workers (a % who are honest and just want a job — and their friggen’ dignity) be made to fulfill ridiculous rules because a percentage of people are “working” the system.

                Just my opinion for what it is worth!

              • I would apply this to welfare, too. But that wasn’t the discussion. As for their dignity, I understand the concern. But the simple matter is that we’re helping them out in their time of need. We are not helping them to have a luxurious and comfortable lifestyle. If they have the money for luxuries, then they are taking too much from the system, and by extension, you and me.

                You tell me a way around this. You want to switch to food stamps and paying certain bills directly?

                I want to help all people with everything, but I simply cannot. I would love to provide a great easy life for people in need, but I am not willing to sacrifice to do so, nor am I willing to impose taxes on others to force them to do so. I will force you to pay taxes to do what is necessary, but not buy luxuries for the unemployed.

              • Mathius,

                How egotistical of you.

                What right do you have to determine what is “luxury” and what is “necessary”?

                God touch your forehead or something?

                What right do you have to steal money from me to give to someone else based on YOUR subjective and flawed definition of “need”?

                Leave my money alone. Use your own money and suffer the benefits or loss of your own flawed belief.

                But leave me out of it.

              • Mathius says:

                That wasn’t the assignment for today. We’re discussing reality. Thus you will not be left out it. Sorry.

              • Richmond Spitfire says:

                Okay…the best boy on Earth (my son)…has a bit of a digestive problem…sometimes things don’t come out very easily (get my drift?)…

                Anyway, I buy special pastas that are quadruple the price of store brands.

                That could be considered a luxury — yes? The doctor hasn’t told me that I have to feed him the “special” pasta.

                It is simply ridiculous to place these types of restrictions on people who are temporarily out-of-luck/job.

              • Mathius says:

                You could make a case that it’s a medical reason. But I haven’t suggested that people police your purchases. You’ll note that I don’t think this is necessarily practical in reality, but you have to agree to the prinicple. I don’t want to give more than you need. What you want is not my concern.

      • 4.

        Agree, but no. I would say there is an acceptable waiting period. If I am a rocket scientist, it is unreasonable to make me flip fries without giving me a viable chance to get a suitable job first.

        The reason I think this is a non issue is that no one is going to hire me (the PhD rocket scientist) for menial work because they know I’ll be gone in a week or two and it’s not worth the effort of training me. So they don’t hire me. And I am forced to wait for a more suitable position.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Good point. Employers will have a problem with hiring someone so ‘over-qualified’.

          Thats why I like JB’s idea above with the initial benefits and then an extension. To qualify for the extension you must, to me, 1) continue to actively search for a job and 2) take any job that comes along, even if wholly unrelated to your field, ‘below you’ or what have you.

          • sounds similar to what I’m proposing, only I allow for market forces to take the place of his regulation. Remember, we are still losing money as long as they are in the program – it’s better to shove them out the door into a inferior job and allow them to continue their job search there.

      • 7.

        I may have misspoken. I do not mean to suggest bankruptcy or abject poverty before eligibility. Merely that you cannot have above a certain value in the bank. I think we’re on the same page here.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Definitely, just sounded a bit unclear to me.

        • Amazed1 says:

          So the person who skrimps and saves is penalized for having a little money set aside….but the person who squanders all he has on cigs and beer gets a free ride? I think, you not thinking Math

      • 6.

        Fair enough. I am ok with them being shunted into a ‘permanently unemployed’ program of some other nature.

      • 3.

        Nope. You can have as long as you want to find a job on your own, but if you want something from me, you’ll have to provide something in return.

        Further, if I have three months before I have to start working for the gov’t, I’ll half-ass it for two, then start looking for real. If I have four months, I’ll half-ass it for three. The incentive is there to stall for as long as you get something for nothing. I am simply eliminating that.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Are there some that will abuse the system and half-ass it for those first two months or what have you? Of course. Which is why I’m all for some requirements for an ‘active job search’.

          Let’s not forget the many people on unemployment who are actively searching for a job and not abusing the system. All I’m saying is we should give them some time to receive these benefits and look for this job. We both know that looking for a job can in and of itself be a full time job.

          • Mathius says:

            That’s why I clarified that you are always permitted time off for job-search related activities. Interviews, phone calls, etc. Filling out applications you can do on your own at night and on weekends.

            But I’ll cut a deal – two weeks. That should be sufficient to get most of your initial round of applications out the door.

    • v. Holland says:

      Actually to be honest your almost harsh answer to unemployment combined with your let the government tax and control everything mindset kinda scares me.

    • Apply these to welfare recipients but a little harsh for unemployment.

    • Matt and Buck

      I gotta tell you guys, you have me laughing so hard my sides are gonna split. Tears are dripping all over the key board.

      Watching you two try to sort out an “equitable” and “more efficient and effective” statist solution is liking watching a three legged cat try to catch a mouse running through the hog pen.

      Sorry boys, just couldn’t help it.
      But don’t let me stop ya.
      There are a few kernels we might be able to use later.

      Please resume your chase!
      🙂

      • Great minds think alike. Been chuckling myself.

        • Mathius says:

          I thought you’d appreciate my being tougher with the way I give out your tax dollars..

      • You two are all over the map and then try to justify your version of what is ok and what is not and what is luxury and what required…..YIKES!

        • Mathius says:

          God is in the details.

          I’m just trying to hit the high points.
          -you work for the money
          -you aren’t incentivized to stay on the dole
          -you are given enough for needs, but nothing more
          -you are forced off the dole as soon as possible
          -we get some benefit in return
          -the whole thing is completely optional

          what’s a better answer?

          • Mathius,

            How about a solution that does not contradict itself?

            (1) -you aren’t incentived to stay on the dole

            but then you give an incentive with:

            (2) you are given enough for needs

            (sigh) I get visions of Matt pushing a door with a sign on that door that says “Pull”

            • Mathius says:

              You are incentivized to stay on the dole, but less than other options. Therefore, the net incentive is to go find a job.

              • Mathius,

                It won’t work.

                You said “…force off the dole…”
                By what criteria?

                Obviously, not be effort or else they wouldn’t be on the dole to begin with…

                ..so it will be by need…

                Which means being needy will gain it.

                Which means you will create an ever increasing class of needy people.

              • Mathius says:

                You have to apply to all openings for which you are a viable candidate. Someone will check that you applied. You must go on all interviews which are offered. Someone will check that you took it seriously. You are required to accept a job offered to you.

                OR

                If you choose not to, you stop getting money from the government.

                SO,

                either you get a job as soon as you are able to get a job, or you get kicked off the dole.

                sounds right to me. I will support you until you are able to support yourself.

                If you choose not to support yourself, well you’re no longer my problem..

              • Matt

                Here is the tickler.

                How much are you willing to spend to make sure the guy your giving the money to is not a free loader?

                You give him $500 a week but you want controls that could cost another $500 a week to monitor.

                That by the way was where we were back in the 70’s.

                For example, it makes no sense to TAX unemployment as income because it adds to the IRS admin costs. Just reduce the benefits and make tax free.

                But then that creates an even bigger appearance of a FREE RIDE so society rebelled and once again it is taxed.

                And around and around we go.

              • Mathius says:

                See, you missed the part where people with managerial experience supervise select recipients in the task of administering the controls. (points 3b and 3d)

            • LMAO

          • Matt

            I do appreciate you efforts and shouldn’t laugh.

            But damn its funny, from where I am standing. You’ve hung around long enough to understand my view of the world, so you have to admit its at least a little funny.

            I will agree to this much for now.
            Some of your suggestions deserve serious evaluation as a SHORT TERM solution.

            And they are good starting points for more discussion.

            My laughing was not meant to insult you. Sorry if it did.

            As I said before, please continue.

            JAC

            • Jac I’m chasing you suddenly. With the same sentiment. I must be doing something right.

              • Anita

                Your probably doing housework also?

                I’ll go swamp out the bathroom now and give you a chance to get ahead of me again….LOL

              • Are you nuts? You know I was up late last night?
                Haven’t made it out of bed yet, laptop in lap, crackin up at everyone. Housework is going to have to wait :mrgreen:

              • You better be kidding…..2:28 and you are still in bed?

              • Sorry, truth hurts. Still there. Maybe I need some fresh air.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        The assignment USW handed down was to come up with a solution. At least we’re trying and not just laughing all over the keyboard…

        Glad I’m able to amuse you guys…

        🙂

        • Buck

          I am glad to, as it is making my house work much more enjoyable.

          I did propose part of an answer earlier this morning. When done cleaning will take a closer look at your suggestions as well.

          As I told Matt, no harm intended but you should understand my philosophy enough to see the humor in the debate you two were having.

          Perhaps I was just craving a good laugh after struggling to read Marshall’s decision late last night.

          Also as I said to Matt above, I will accept that many of your combined ideas are worth of consideration in the Short Term. As in how to transition from here to there. But it is not the THERE we should be striving for.

          I know I violated the number one rule of brainstorming. Again I am sorry.

          It was just to wonderful a morning not to feel giddy.

          🙂 🙂 🙂

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Anyone can use a good laugh after pouring over 18th century laws and judicial opinions…

            I know it is not the THERE you would strive for. I agree that unemployment should be a short term safety net. But I would define ‘short term’ as relating to the individual receiving the benefits.

            Meaning, the program itself should be around forever, but there are limits to ensure that an individual cannot continue to receive their benefits forever.

            • Buck,

              All you create is paper work.

              Those on the dole have no problem with paper work.

              The other problem you create is the “excuse of human behavior”.

              You have your system. It is ‘strict’ (yes, a fantasy, but for argument sake).

              CRISIS!

              Ah, suddenly the ‘strict’ is removed due to CRISIS!! The dole explodes – and, yep, you’re right back where it hurts.

              Once you’ve agreed to such a system like welfare – it will be expanded to more and greater roles – because you’ve agreed to its existence.

        • Doin a fine job brainstorming, seriously. Continue 🙂

        • USWeapon says:

          And I appreciate your efforts Matt. I am sorry that thus far I have been unable to post some thoughts on your ideas. I will do so ASAP.

          USW

          • USWeapon says:

            Sorry, I meant Buck. I appreciate both of your efforts to discuss this rationally. I think you are making good progress. I will weigh in soon.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Its been a good day here today — lot of really good thoughts floating around. Looking forward to reading more on your own opinion when you get the chance.

    • Mathius,

      I am astounded ! If a conservative (republican-whatever) made your points, he would be excoriated by most liberals ! So I find your points quite odd since I believe you normally post with a leftist tilt !

      I think drug testing has come up several times only to be completely ignored and dismissed.

      BTW – I cant read posts when there too far down and to the right so maybe other have commented and if not – its too late on sunday for anyone to respond! LOL

  10. Ellen Spalding says:

    Good Morning to All

    I see two sides to the unemployment benefits. I do think it should be there to provide some safety. But I see that the regulations on that should be much better. I see that things are not getting checked etc. I believe that D13 said that Texas has a pretty tight leash on their program. I am all for that. I dont believe in nothing for someone who gets blindsided with lose of job etc. But I am for people not abusing the system also,if that makes sense.

    For my two cents on Bunning:

    I am glad for the pay as you go idea. Happy he stood up for it. But pissed me off also. My reason is he has had no issue spending money most of his career, he didnt seem to need the pay as you go system then. But now that he is retiring and has nothig to lose, he will stand up for it. Smells like old politics to me. I could be wrong, I hope I am wrong.

    • v. Holland says:

      Maybe he’s being a little hypocritical(I don’t Know) but I will take what I can get-if it points us in the right direction.

    • Ellen

      You make an excellent point. I am often amazed at the amount of courage that floats to the surface once the danger has gone.

      Ellen my dear, Good MORNING.
      I hope all is well in your world.
      JAC

      • Ellen Spalding says:

        JAC

        We are going to be in the 40’s, life is grand on my end. Hope the same for you.

        Ellen

    • Job preservation is a strong motivator, no doubt why he was standing alone. Term limit argument perhaps.

  11. Unemployment insurance is paid by employers through their experience rating.

    Employees do not pay into any unemployment account nor are they taxed for unemployment. We as individuals didn’t pay anything into unemployment.

    If employers lay off frequently, then they are taxed more due to their experience rating. If they have few layoffs, then their experience rating is less and they pay less.

    Each state administers unemployment insurance differently. In Illinois, for example, all collecting unemployment are required to fill out a form and show that they have contacted employers for a job. If someone takes a job that pays less than unemployment benefits, then they will continue to receive the difference for the weeks of unemployment benefits that they have remaining.

    In Michigan, there is no requirement to prove that you are looking for work during the 26 week period and 13 week extension. You have to certify that you are looking but MI does not require any forms to be submitted. During any subsequent extensions, MI requires that you contact at least 3 employers a week and submit a form by FAX or do it on-line listing the firms contacted for employment.

    For the first time in my life, I am on unemployment and I hate it. I look for a job every day and I look throughout the United States. If I could find any job locally, I would take the job. My area has 25% unemployment (official government report so it is probably higher).

    I do believe that unemployment benefits are needed as a safety net. The normal benefit period is 26 weeks and extensions are not always granted. During good times if you loose your job, you probably will not receive any extension. I know an individual who lost his job before this recession and he did not receive an extension of benefits. He eventually found a job but was on his own after 26 weeks. It is during a recession where extensions are normally granted because there are not many jobs available.

    As far as what to do in the future, I think there should be a limit of 26 weeks unless the unemployment rate in the State or Nation is above a certain percentage. To get an extension, you must begin to search for work out of your State and prove that you are making an attempt to find a job out of State. Make the extension for an additional 26 weeks and then end it, no matter what, at 52 weeks. There has to be a definitive cut off date.

    • Checking box for follow-up comments.

    • Cyndi P says:

      Hi Birdman,

      What about private umemployment insurance, and eliminating employer based? Of course, that smacks of a free market system, so I’m sure no one would be interested….

      😉

  12. I believe UI should be for a set term and that’s it. No extensions. Once you start making extensions, people start expecting them and then just wait before they job hunt.

    There is an arguement that extending UI also inflates unemployment figures since so many do not look for jobs while receiving it.

    Expecting to relocate to find work is reasonable and extending benefits because there are none in an area is not a good enough excuse. Motivated people do this all the time while “climbing the ladder”, and my goodness, think of the millions of immigrants that leave their countries and families behind in order to come here to have a better life. Moving from A to B to get work in the US should be expected.

    Our economy is a mess; we are and will be having tough times ahead and the attitudes need to change. No time like the present.

  13. One serious thought before I tackle the chores.

    If you believe Unemployment Insurance or any other government provided “safety” net is something to be retained in the long term your goal of Liberty will never be achieved.

    These “nets” should be viewed as short term and they should be constructed with transition to NO NETS in mind.

    Just sayin……….

    JAC

    • Good point JAC. I’m starting from where we are currently but the long term goal should be freedom.

    • USWeapon says:

      AGreed, JAC. The safety net might not need a permanent place in society. But that adds a level of complexity to the discussions and solutions.

      If we want to elimnate the entire concept of a safety net.. we have found yet another there that we need to find a tranistion to.

      USW

  14. “the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), which authorizes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to collect an annual federal employer tax used to fund state workforce agencies.”

    employer tax=BUSINESS TAX of 6.2% of the first $7,000 each worker is paid.
    So every business in America is taxed $430, per worker, per year, with adjustments. Businesses with low turnover pay less. Those that have high turnover and lay-offs pay more.

    I have had to lay-off people, as well as firing them. Not fun. Then I have had to argue with the unemployment agency, sometimes 3-4 times over the same ex-employee. Have had many quit, and then claim they were wrongfully terminated. It’s a pain in the @ss to have to fax the same form three months or two years later, showing dipstik would only work three days a week, and that was the reason he was fired, and how many times did his grandmother die? An amazing number will work for an hour or a day, and simply walk off. That’s such a fun un-employment claim to fill out, “Reason worker quit?” We don’t know, ask him why he left without saying a word?

    I have also hired people, who refused the job, saying they were drawing more from un-employment than we would pay, or simply not show up for work. This behavior has increased since the recession, and not show signs of improving, which makes me think extending benefits is having a negative effect.

    How to fix unemployment? Make a less hostile environment for business. The proposed healthcare sets those with 50 or more employee’s for another tax. How many that employ 60 will figure out how to get by with 49?

    • Agree LOI,

      Been in your shoes myself. Those forms are a pet peeve for me. Especially three years later. Ditto for the Section 8 forms every 3 months. Waste of time and paper.

      • And time is money. How much extra expense is there in the healthcare field? My limited experience with our Blue Cross says it’s significant. I have heard of six months wait for payment. Private insurance does the same job, faster, better, and cheaper.

        I hope those who favor Obamacare, Cap & Trade, etc. understand this, raise our expenses, we cut jobs. I wrote a letter to my state senators and told them strait up, we will be forced to reduce payroll if their bill passed. Both voted for it, of course. November is getting close Blanch, start saying your goodby’s.

        • LOI

          There is another rule those Bozo’s need to grasp.

          If you subsidize a job I will hire them if my out of pocket expense is less than the return on hiring that person.

          I will let low regular workers go and replace with subsidized workers.

          And when your subsidy stops, I will fire those that cost more than they return or more than their replacements.

    • LOI:

      Totally agree on this one – those forms are some of the most irritating crap on the planet. What about when your employees start laying out of work so they can draw more TANF benefits?

      All FUTA is is an insurance pool – employers just pay the premiums….

    • So lets run the numbers out:

      Assumption 150,000,000 Workers (1 for ever 2 Americans)
      Assume 90% Employment: 135,000,000 employed
      Annual Funds available = $430 * 135,000,000 = $58,050,000,000
      Assume 10% unemployed = 15,000,000
      Funds available/unemployed $58B/156M = $3870/yr
      Funds available/week/unemployed (26 wks) = $148.85
      Average unemployement check = $293/wk
      Deficit per unemployed/wk = -$144.15

      For the income to equal the out flow, the unemployment rate needs to be no more than 5.35%. This assumes no overhead costs so actual rate would be significantly lower.
      Also the average length of unemployment appears to tbe 24.5 weeks so that will change the break even some but not much.
      So from this simple calculation, it appears that we do not collect enough unemployment tax even in good times to cover the outlay. Over collecting in good times and saving for bad would be a good idea if the pols cannot get their mits on the money and squander it.

      • T-Ray,

        Excellent job with the math, but….
        How much is spent for administering un-employment? How many state and federal employee’s are paid to process and handle all that? And do any of them have guns like the EPA?

        • LOI, we can estimate the costs if we could find out how many employees are involved. Then assume about $150K per employee for salary and overhead. The $150K is the number I use to estimate breakeven for a private company. The company is profitable above $200k/employee. My gut would say that as much as 30% could be consumed in overhead. Government has a way of hiding costs.

          Mathius’ approach above would increase the overhead by requiring more paper, supervision, and medical testing. Would the savings pay for the extra overhead? Does adding more requirements to the process solve the problem or just add more complexity and expense. Engineers often add more complexity to a design to solve secondary issues, when the system actually could be solved by simplification. The difference between machines and people are that people learn to adapt. The learn how to circumvent the system to their advantage. Thus we have UI subsidized “vacations”.

          • T-Ray,

            Another great answer. I think I read somewhere that the ave. gov. employee makes 70K, while the avg for private business is 40K. Assuming that is close, I would add 30 for overhead and call it 100K avg. for the gov. employees. The real question is how many there are of them. Highway dept. seems to have one worker and four supervisors for every job. If we have 15 million unemployed, are there 60 million administering UI? I know, it’s not that bad, but it damn sure seems that way….

            • $100K would cover the salary and fringe. It will take more to cover rent, office equipment, heat, lights, supplies, etc. So that is why it comes closer to $150K.
              I saw those salary numbers recently as well. What I learned below is the government does not pay UI. Frequently they do not fully fund their retirement plans as well.

  15. Labor is an economic good.

    It obeys all the laws of economics.

    Distorting the provisioning of labor in an attempt to forestall a consequence of economics will cause larger and much less favorable consequences to occur somewhere else.

    For example, JB’s idea of government provided “safety net”.

    A safety net is absolutely necessary for a person to provide for themselves.

    Such a personal safety net provides funds to help that person transition from one labor pool into another.

    To create a personal safety net requires the person to budget their expenditures and save money – both habits which are key to personal financial success. The act of provisioning a personal safety net naturally builds other important skills and wisdom.

    If a person doesn’t tap or taps lightly into their safety funds – the excess naturally turns into retirement savings or excess funds to purchase other important assets on their desire.

    Further, if the safety net is small – it creates motive for the worker to stabilize his income stream – motive for working hard, competently etc.

    This is especially important for new workers – they are at the most risk of losing their jobs by tenure. So the new worker needs to demonstrate superior effort and competency to maintain simple equality with tenured workers. The dual motivations due to job loss risk gives workers that extra kick – a kick that is very beneficial for the worker in his long-term career.

    NOW – remove that with “government” safety net.

    The motives of effort are removed. Youth losing their jobs is now disproportionately buffered – lowers the intensity of the necessity to learn quickly, and competently to be competitive. It grows weaker labor.

    The motives of saving is removed. There is no need. Without the need, “pay check to pay check” life styles blossom. Budgeting is not required – the amount of money left in the wallet becomes the budget to buy or not buy. There is no motive to save – retirement is “decades away” and not forefront in any thinking. Debt replaces savings as a means of asset accumulation.

    Almost every negative habit is encouraged with government safety net.

    I could go on and on – regarding artificial time limits on government payments and the consequences and threats it creates, etc. etc.

    The point – by distorting the labor market in a manner to remove a perceived ‘problem’ where by its nature exists to encourage ‘good habits’ will encourage ‘bad habits’.

    Bad habits will increase as it displaces those good habits.

    Eventually bad habits will dominate and the reckoning will come – severe and devastating.

    And then real problems – far, far, far greater than the one that was the reason for the use of distortion – will descend on the people and threaten destruction of the core of society and civilization itself.

    • Now that you have described THERE, how do you propose we get there from HERE?

      • Shock kills.

        Therefore, transition is necessary.

        – Grandfather those in the program – freeze the program. Where the participants are in the program becomes fixed over time. Freeze out any new entrants.
        – Do not use a deadline – that will simply create a huge wave in front of the deadline.
        – Use age as a scale. Youth get little or nothing, and a linear scale by age for benefits. Accomplishes two things. Those in the system the longest get the most benefit. Those in the system the longest are also the ones most likely to leave the soonest as well.
        -The system will naturally dissolve over time. No new entrants at the bottom, older workers retiring at the top.

    • Good luck eliminating unemployment benefits. In this type of economy especially, legislators proposing this won’t last long.

      I do agree on the ideas, but we have to live in the world in which we live.

  16. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi all,

    This has all be very interesting…

    How about doing away with Government-run unemployment all-toghether? Privatize unemployment insurance. Let the employee better decide how to invest his/her FUTA $’s (or not).

    The Government could save Billions doing this.

    Best Regards,
    RS

    • Spitfire,

      I think you are on to something. Like the ideal of a health savings account instead of insurance. An unemployment savings account would be your money, and you would not want to spend more of it than you had to without need.

      The downside, what about Fredbob, who never can hold a job long enough to build up his own account to pay his own unemployment? It’s not fair you have that money saved up in case you lose your job. Somebody needs to do something to make things more fair, like let the government hold everybody’s money, and pass it out as needed. It’s not fair that Fredbob can’t keep a job, poor guy dropped out of school in the tenth grade. And Fredbob has a one year old child to support(the girl dumped him). My buddy Chester has a 16 yr old daughter, who has been dating 19 yr old Fredbob for about six months. I feel for ya Chester, glad I have boys.

      • Richmond Spitfire says:

        Hi LOI,

        Sounds like FredBob is a future welfare recipient in the making!

        PeterB explains much more eloquently on #17 below where I was attempting to go…

        Chester needs to get his daughter away from the likes of FredBob…! (I know…easier said than done.)

        Hope all is well with you!

        Best Regards,
        RS

      • Fredbob? He’s a redneck. He and his dog use the same tree. He thinks safe sex is a padded headboard

        • Anita

          Please put down the laptop and take a nap!!!

          Your gettin Goofy 🙂

          Damn it girl, I’ve got cramps in my face from laughin so hard.

          Actually I was just thinkin Fredbob will die a slow death while wandering in the swamps lookin for snipe. A little Darwinism might be a good thing.

          • Its been a fun day. Sometimes, with SUFA ya just dont need alcohol.

            Snipe hunts? Was unlucky enough to go on one once. You only need to go once. Unless you’re Fredbob.

        • OMG!

        • Brand new edition of…You know you’re a redneck when……

          1. You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.

          2. You can entertain yourself for more than 15 minutes with a fly swatter.

          3. Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.

          4. You burn your yard rather than mow it.

          5. You think ‘The Nutcracker’ is a vice on the work bench

          6. The Salvation Army declines your furniture.

          7. You offer to give someone the shirt off your back and they don’t want it.

          8. You have the local taxidermist on speed dial.

          9. You come back from the dump with more than you took.

          10. You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.

          11. Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.

          12. Your grandmother has ‘ammo’ on her Christmas list.

          13. You keep flea and tick soap in the shower.

          14. You’ve been involved in a custody fight over a hunting dog.

          15 You go to the stock car races and don’t need a program.

          16. You know how many bales of hay your car will hold.

          17. You have a rag for a gas cap.

          18. Your house doesn’t have curtains, but your truck does.

          19. You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean?

          20. You can spit without opening your mouth.

          21. You consider your license plate personalized because your father made it.

          22. Your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.

          23 You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say ‘Cool Whip’ on the side.

          24. The biggest city you’ve ever been to is WalMart.

          25. Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV

          26. You’ve used your ironing board as a buffet table.

          27. A tornado hits your neighborhood and does $100,000 worth of improvements.

          28. You’ve used a toilet brush to scratch your back.

          29. You missed your 5th grade graduation because you were on jury duty.

          30. You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65 mph.

          • Been there @17. Graduated to 10

            Please tell me Fredbob and Chester are some of your illusions ❗

      • Cyndi P says:

        OMG Anita! You’re in fine form today!! 😛

        As for FredBob, sounds like he needs to grow up, take responsiblity for himself and be a MAN. BTW, being a man is more than just having some flabby stuff between the legs.

        No flabby stuff between the ears is pretty good, too. 8)

  17. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Many of us are dancing around the edges here. JAC and BF not so much, but most of the others, so far yes.

    First of all, I agree with BF that it should be your own respsonsibility to provide yourself with a safety net. You should have the discipline to save and sqirrel away when you are actually working. And don’t give me any BS that you only make enough to live from paycheck to paycheck, that won’t fly.

    Do you really need 150 channels of cable that you pay $100 for per month? Do you really HAVE to have that cell phone? Do you really have to eat out 4 times per week? Do you really need to eat steak instead of a burger? The list could go on.

    If we wish to have “unemployment insurance”, then why could this not be a privately provided form of insurance? You go to the insurer, state how much you currently make, and what percentage of that that you wish to be paid in the event that you lose your job, and for how long you wish the benefit to continue, and then the insurer draws up a policy, quotes you a price, and you either decide to purchase unemployment insurance or not… Some companies might even contribute towards this as part of your benefits package, others would not.

    Solving the actual unemployment problem (getting more available jobs in this country) is far more complex. As JAC pointed out, it requires major philosophical changes from where we are now in order to bring jobs back. As long as it is more economical for companies to have products made elsewhere and imported back here and then sold, our labor market will not be competitive. An economy can only live for so long based on “services” and “consumer spending”. Consumers cannot spend if they have no dough.

    A sea-change must occur which will enable our labor force to be globally competitive and produce quality goods at competitive prices. Right now, I see precious little sign of that happening. Until that hapens, I think that the current labor situation in this country will be chronic, and that the only growing sector is likely to be government.

    Many of us here obviously want to reverse the trend of growing government, but that means that we have to find a way to get moving back toward being globally competitive with our labor and the goods produced by our labor.

    There are a HOST of very complex factors involved, and I am not going to go into them all, that would be bigger than a guest post, and could well be a book.

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Ooops…Think we were thinking the same there PeterB!

    • Birdman says:

      I believe unemployment insurance was part of the New Deal under FDR. Prior to that, you were on your own if you lost your job. People survived without unemployment insurance. Many did not live beyond their means and had money to survive after losing their job. They had their own safety net or suffered the consequences.

      I have my own safety net. It’s not as large as Black Flag’s but it helps. I could not live today without my savings. Unemployment does not cover my house payment and I don’t have a mansion.

      I like the idea of privatetizing unemployment benefits.

  18. USW….I prefer to let each individual state handle their own unemployment. If the state is broke, then it cannot pay. I know everyone hates to hear the TEXAS MODEL, but I think we have a great way of handling unemployment and the employer plays a direct role in being able to reduce his/her tax rate. The individual , in Texas, does not pay into the system. It is totally employer based. It is employer based through a tax system that rewards employers with good turn over rates and hammers the employer with bad turnover rates. The money is in a fund designated for unemployment and is not part of the general revenue fund to be borrowed. Remember, Texas is constitutionally bound to a balanced budget.

    The funds are acquired by the following:

    To understand how to manage the unemployment tax rate, an employer first must understand how the tax rate is calculated. For calendar year 2009, Texas employers pay state unemployment tax on the first $9,000 of wages paid to each employee. The unemployment rate ranges from a minimum of .26 percent to a maximum of 6.26 percent. An employer’s state unemployment tax rate is the sum of three components: Replenishment Tax Rate (RTR); Employment and Training Investment Assessment (ETIA); and the General Tax Rate (GTR). The effective tax rate is calculated by adding the ETIA, RTR and GTR.

    The RTR is a flat tax rate assessed to all Texas employers to replenish ½ of the unemployment trust fund payments made to claimants that were not charged back to (i.e., assessed against) a specific employer. The RTR is calculated by dividing ½ of the unemployment benefits paid, but not charged to a particular employer, by the total taxable wages for the year. The rate is then spread across all experience-rated employers. An individual employer has no meaningful way to reduce its RTR.

    The second component of the Texas unemployment tax rate is the ETIA. It is a fixed rate of .10 % which is taxed to fund the Skills Development fund. The ETIA is fixed and applies to all Texas employers, so there is no way to manage or reduce this tax rate.

    The final component, the GTR, is based on the employer’s individual responsibility for repaying unemployment benefits to its former employees. The GTR is the employer’s only opportunity to reduce Texas unemployment tax by lowing the employer’s experience rating. Experience ratings can be reduced by limiting the unemployment benefit claims paid to former employees. This is principally done by limiting employee turnover and timely challenging claims for unemployment benefits filed by former employees who should not be eligible for benefits. The GTR is calculated by multiplying the RTR by the ratio of three years of chargeback by three years of the employer’s taxable wages.

    Summation is that an employer that does not challenge or does not otherwise control his policies and supervisory techniques that results in a high turnover rate will pay the greater proportion, as it should be. But, this is how the unemployment in Texas is funded. Texas does not accept Federal Funds for unemployment.

    Now, it does not stop here. There are specifics that an employee must meet in order to be eligible for unemployment. Texas unemployment compensation law, like that of many other states, provides temporary payments to employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. The law is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission (www.twc.state.tx.us).
    Employers who don’t believe a former employee is eligible for unemployment compensation must fill out the form that they receive when the former employee files a claim. Do so within 14 days or you will lose any right to contest the claim.

    Once you file the form, the matter will then be set for a hearing, usually by phone. You should be prepared to prove that you fired the former employee for a solid reason—for cause—such as stealing, cheating, harassment or discrimination against another employee, or ignoring safety cautions. The general rule is that former employees are eligible for unemployment compensation when they’re not responsible for their dismissal, or if conditions beyond their control forced them to quit. Here are some common situations in which employees who quit can still sometimes collect unemployment benefits.

    Communicable disease. In Texas, employees who quit to avoid providing services to someone with a communicable disease lose their eligibility for unemployment compensation. But the quitting employee can earn benefits if he or she can show that the employer didn’t provide the necessary equipment or safety procedures to prevent the employee from becoming infected.

    Personal illness, family illness. Employees are still eligible for benefits if they voluntarily leave a job due to a medically verifiable illness, injury, disability or pregnancy, or because the employee’s minor child was ill, injured or disabled.

    In the case of a sick child, if the employer allowed the employee reasonable time off, the parent would not be eligible for unemployment. In other words, the law is meant to protect wages for parents who have no practical choice but to quit because their employer refused to help.

    Important note: This must be verifiable. If the employer allows unpaid time off but protects the job of the employee, the employee is not eligible for benefits.

    Trailing spouse. In this age of dual-career families, a husband or wife may quit a job when the spouse accepts a job in another city or state. In Texas, however, the trailing spouse will lose at least six weeks (but not more than 25 weeks) worth of benefits.

    Leaving for personal reasons. Employees who leave for compelling personal reasons related to their job are also eligible for payments. But the reason for leaving must be urgent, compelling and so necessary as to make separation involuntary.

    If an employee quits because of discrimination, harassment or the like, he or she may be eligible. The person would have to show that he or she had no reasonable alternative. Also, employees who can show that their employer breached the employment agreement have valid reasons.

    Leaving to avoid family violence or stalking. Employees who quit to avoid family violence are still eligible for UI benefits if they can show: (1) They asked for or received a protective court order; (2) there is a criminal record showing abuse; or (3) a physician can document past violence.

    Becoming eligible after a voluntary quit. Texas employees who quit and aren’t eligible for benefits can regain their eligibility by working for a new employer for either six weeks or for at least 30 hours per week, or by earning at least six times their weekly benefit. If the employee then loses that new job, eligibility is restored.
    Important note: Voluntary quit is disqualified for 13 weeks and must restore eligibility.

    Reasons to deny benefits

    The following list includes common reasons an employee may be denied unemployment compensation benefits. The reasons fall into two broad categories: misconduct on the job and post-discharge conduct.

    Absenteeism and tardiness. To claim this as the reason to deny payments, employers must show that they warned the employee before discharge. Generally, if employees have a good reason for missing work, they’re still eligible for benefits. (Good reasons include being sick or having an ill child.)This is another situation in which clear workplace rules on absenteeism are important. For example, if you can show that an employee didn’t follow your reasonable call-off procedures, he or she may be ineligible even though the underlying reason for being absent was legitimate.

    Going on strike. In Texas, going on strike makes an employee ineligible for UI benefits. That’s true even if the employee loses his or her job because others in the group went on strike but he or she didn’t. (Note: This sure knocks out a weapon for the unions. Unless the unions fund the strikes, there are no state benefits of unemployment, any form of welfare assistance, no medical…nothing.)

    Rule violation. Deliberately breaking rules is another example of misconduct that justifies denial of benefits. Be prepared to show that the employee knew about the rule and ignored it anyway.

    Disruptive influence. If you can show that an employee’s disruptive behavior is adverse to your interests as an employer, the employee may be denied benefits. Examples include harassing behavior and name-calling.

    Damage to equipment or property. Negligent or purposeful damage to equipment makes the employee ineligible for benefits.

    Misconduct. Under Texas law, misconduct that makes an employee ineligible for benefits means “mismanagement of a position on employment by action or inaction, neglect that jeopardizes the life or property of another, intentional wrongdoing or malfeasance, intentional violation of a law, or violation of a policy or rule adopted to ensure orderly work and safety of employees.”
    Failure to return to work. Employees must make a diligent effort to find a replacement position and be willing to return to work if the employer asks.

    One very important note as to funding. This is a pay as you go system. If the unemployment funds run out, there is no money. There is no borrowing and Texas does not accept Federal funds for this program. To accept Federal funds requires that Texas follow Federal guidelines which are more liberal than the ones we have here. Texas is an independent state and the less federal intervention, the better and, so far, our state legislature and governor have refused such help and will continue to do so.
    This is one reason that Senator Hutchinson did not pull but 30% of the vote. She is considered a Washington insider.

    How about this for a starting place?

  19. I agree there needs to be a safety net with some limits. But one of the things I have a problem with is what I call “institutional” unemployment. A couple examples:

    I have a friend who works road construction. There’s not much of that in the winter in Wisconsin. So he is laid-off every December thru March. Collects unemployment all winter. He’s been doing this for 20+ years. He is not a lazy person. In the winter, he helps out a couple loggers, a couple home builders/remodelers, and anyone else who could use some short-term help – and pay cash.

    A few other friends work for a local manufacturing company. They have voluntary layoffs of 1-3 weeks every winter when business is slow. If they don’t get enough volunteers, they force some people to take layoffs. They always get enough volunteers – until 2008 when business really tanked. The senior employees actually get to pick their weeks first. In 2003 or 2004 or 2005 when the economy was booming, a few of them complained because they didn’t get their layoff that year (which is really nothing more than extra paid vacation).

    I know, they pay into the fund, blah, blah, blah. But neither of these are what unemployment is for. They are known business cycles that happen repetitively. In both of these cases, they work overtime in the Spring and Summer when things are busy. The companies and the employees need to accept the downtime as part of the job and plan ahead for it.

    Unemployment insurance is for the unforeseen events. Not re-occurring cycles. Get rid of this waste and trim the unemployment insurance to what is really needed.

    And of course the worse part about this is they’re getting time off during WINTER. Why can’t I get laid-off for a few months every winter???? Man, life is so unfair…

    • Todd

      Saw the same thing with Loggers for years. Laid off when snowed out and again at break up. Unemployment checks for 3 to 4 months each year from mid Dec to April. I was always a little jealous until the Govt killed all their jobs.

      You raise an interesting question Todd. “But neither of these are what unemployment is for.”

      Just what is “unemployment” REALLY for?

      Lets think not from our perspective as friends and neighbors of those suddenly laid off, but of the government. What is the purpose from their perspective?

      How was you night skiing last weekend? The full moon was very bright here, but no snow.

      JAC

      • Birdman says:

        I’ll take a guess. From the government perspective, unemployment benefits ties the individual closer to the state. The individual is getting something from the government and believe that the government helps or cares about their unemployment. It keeps the unemployed partially satisfied. It maintains a degree of political stability for the government.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        I would classify this as a voluntary vs. involuntary problem.

        Unemployment is to help provide for those who involuntarily lose their job and need some help to get by as they actively look for a new job. The loggers who know they will be out of work every year in winter do not fall into this category – they are voluntarily out of a job. Knowing this is the case each year, they should demand an increased salary during the rest of the year or line up winter-seasonal employment.

  20. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hey All

    Just wanted to show you what Reid thinks about 36,000 jobs being lost recently, in fact, just today.

    Reid: 36,000 Lost Jobs in February ‘Really Good’

    FOXNews.com

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is catching heat for portraying Friday’s labor report showing 36,000 jobs lost in February as “really good” news.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters after the weekly caucus luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 2, 2010. (AP)

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is catching heat for portraying Friday’s labor report showing 36,000 jobs were lost in February as “really good” news.

    “Today is a big day in America. Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good,” Reid said Friday on the Senate floor.

    Republicans drew attention to the remark, which was captured in a YouTube clip, while bloggers railed against the Nevada Democrat.

    Other officials appeared a bit more tactful in their interpretation of the February jobless numbers, which showed the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.7 percent despite prior suggestions that February’s record snowfall might drive that number up.

    President Obama called the report “better than expected,” but he added that the number of unemployed is still “more than we should tolerate.”

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer noted that in February 2009, the country lost 700,000 jobs, and that the past month’s report shows job losses are slowing.

    “Nevertheless, millions of Americans remain out of work, and Congress will continue to focus on creating jobs,” Hoyer said in his written statement.

  21. SUFA

    OKIE DOKIE #3

    Todd just got me to thinking about the basic question we have avoided. Everybody jumped into the brainstorming and telling stories, and pounding on the philosophy.

    But we never defined the problem we are trying to solve. Most examples have been horror stories of abuse. But my experience is mostly like D13. The State runs a tight ship. Look for work or hit the road.

    But I would like to pose the bigger question I raised with Todd.

    WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ?

    The real purpose or purposes. Hard to build a better widget if we have no goal for the widget in the first place.

    Then given the goal/purpose, what are the issues that need to be addressed? This defines the problem to be solved.

    Let me propose one of the ISSUES.

    How do we address the need for a person to move to LOOK for a job in another state, if the state is the provider? In summary, does Unemployment Comp. need to be portable?

    If so, how do we create portability? Who administers a portable program?

    You can see where I am going with the thinking here.

    Back to work.

    🙂 JAC 🙂

    • My daughter sent a resume online to a credit union in Hawaii. While home in Mich during holidays she had a phone interview with them which led to a second interview when she got back there which led to her getting the position. Lots of online stuff going on these days, especially with webcams and Skype.

    • Privatizing it and carrying it with you would solve this.

    • Birdman says:

      In MI you can be out of state looking for work and still process your unemployment claim. The system is automated in MI where you are required to call in every two weeks and answer questions by telephone. The money is direct deposited into your account but there are other payment options.

      When we closed the plant where I worked at, I brought in personnel from the unemployment office to explain to employees how to file a claim and other useful information. Several employees were planning to leave the state to look for work and wanted to know if that would cause any problem and it would not. At least in MI, this isn’t a problem since the system is automated by telephone.

      • MARVIN 🙂

        • Birdman says:

          Yep. I know the system is sometimes hated in MI but I’ve lived in other states where employees complained about their cumbersome process. MARVIN is simple compared to what they went through.

  22. Amazingly, I find that I am taking the second most “liberal” stance on this (Buck’s saving me from total humiliation). I would like to point out the fact that privatizing UI will not happen. There is no way a politician espousing these ideas will last long. People have come to depend on UI and so will not want it taken away.

    Wonder what will happen if the dems pass health care…

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Your welcome.

      On the issue of privatizing UI, I recall an article in the NY Times awhile back on that issue. Someone had the idea of privatizing UI, came up with a proposal and shopped it around. The insurance companies were overwhelmingly receptive to the idea, but none would underwrite it. Food for thought…

    • Birdman says:

      Unemployment insurance is not an entitlement. It is temporary and will stop after 26 weeks unless extensions are approved.

      I’m not sure why no insurance company would underwrite private unemployment insurance. If enough people expressed interest in such a program, someone would step up to it and underwrite it.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        From my recollection too many risks associated with private unemployment insurance.

        For one reason that I do remember being mentioned: People wouldn’t purchase private insurance until they feel like their job is in jeopardy, so as the insurance company your left with insuring only those who are most likely to lose their job in the near future.

        • Birdman says:

          A strict policy would fix that problem. You don’t collect a penny unless you have contributed X number of months or years.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Not so sure that would fix the problem.

            For one, there are some very volatile industries.

            For two, what would be the point of my paying in if I could legitimately lose my job a few months later and not get any pay out? Obviously I am not talking about those who are trying to game the system here.

            • Cyndi P says:

              Hey Buck,

              Couldn’t it work like private short or long term disability? I think it could work if the government stayed out of it and left it to the FREE market. I would be interested in purchasing some.

              Is there anyone out there who is in the underwritng business who can comment???

              • Buck The Wala says:

                All I know is that underwriters weren’t too keen on this when proposals were brought to them.

              • Buck,

                Ever thought about why they weren’t?

                Think Fire Insurance. Why do they underwrite that?

                Now think Employment Insurance?. Why do they not want to underwrite that?

                A ratio between those who do not want their homes to burn down vs those who commit arson on their own home…

                1 in a million?

                A ratio between those who love their job and would never leave vs. those who would love to quit/fired and get free money?

                Million to one?

                Insurers will insure against events not in your control (fire/flood/accidental death).

                They do not want to insure against events YOU control on a whim.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Hmmm…does this mean that you agree the free market will not resolve this problem??

                Sorry people, the Pirate has spoken – there must be government-provided unemployment benefits! 🙂

              • v. Holland says:

                Now Buck you went and caused BF to bang his head on his desk. 🙂

              • Buck,

                No, the Free Market HAS solved the problem.

                It says “Do it yourself”

              • No sweat, V.

                I were a helmet.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Come on VH, you know I had to say it!

                By the way BF, I think you hit your head too hard — were = wear 🙂

                The free market has not solved the problem; the problem is how do we as a society provide for those who find themselves down on their luck?

              • Buck,

                I believe you are a good man or try to be.

                The Market has answered and answered perfectly and correctly- you simply do not like the answer.

                There are many problems that the correct solution is “leave it to the individual to fix”.

                If you feel heart broken about the plight of your fellow man – you solve it with whatever resources you have.

  23. A Puritan Descendant says:

    I am tired so maybe that is why I feel impatient with this discussion.

    Wouldn’t we be better off discussing the causes of unemployment and how to solve those causes, such as killing excessive regulations and promoting a truly free market (or whatever you think the causes may be) ?

    Many of us on this site think we might be headed for economic collapse, and here we/you are debating things such as piss tests for alcohol consumption, (tests payed by who? and I wouldn’t even be able to consume my own free cider).

    The arguments I see here today all deal with the symptoms of unemployment for the most part.

    Yes, you can argue that if someone enjoys being layed off to scam the system then they are part of the cause, but isn’t this ‘small potatos’ compared to much bigger causes?

    Am I missing something? Should I take another nap and check back later? 🙂

    • Puritan

      Today is one of those very rare days when all the kids are trying hard to follow the teachers instructions.

      USW gave us a narrow task.

      You are dead right of course, as I posited with my formula this morning. UI is linked all the way back to fiscal policy.

      I’ve been struggling all day and only strayed a couple of times, ha ha.

      Tell me your opinion. Assuming we don’t crash and burn SHOULD we have UI and if so where should the authority and administration reside?

      Or should the concept of UI be eliminated in the long term?

      Now along your train of thought I have this question. Given our situation, do we pull the plug on UI payments or do we maintain them, and if so to what degree?

      I offered to sacrifice the Dept of Education in order to cover the continued payout in the short term. Didn’t even get a rise out of the lefties here. But then they are acting like conservatives today so I am all confused.

      Your thoughts?

      Good to see you back at the commentary.
      JAC

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        “Assuming we don’t crash and burn”

        ok…. I will do my best. I never put much thought into UI. I have never had a problem with the concept of UI, but I think it has gotten out of had with all the extentions.

        Truly voluntary private UI may be a great idea.

        Doing away with a government mandated system has to be a good thing. I would think it would help us compete better in our world economy. I am sure many workers would not feel the need to purchase UI, while those who think they may need it would be free to purcahse their own.

        Never put much thought into it until now, so glad you bring it up.

      • v. Holland says:

        Now I’m FOTFL 🙂

    • Puritan,

      Weapon gave us til Tuesday to hash this out. You better take a nap

  24. I recall a story about Mother Theresa

    The icons of New York had purchased a building for the homeless and destitute and gave it to her order. The New Yorkers had furnished it with beds, and linen and chairs – the rooms were like mini-hotel rooms, nicely decorated and accessorized.

    Mother Theresa came to New York, accepted the building, and began tossing out everything from the rooms and throwing the mattress on the floor with a small pillow and one blanket.

    The Icons were aghast! Didn’t she care about the homeless???

    She said “I love them – but I do not want them to stay.”

    Now, what lesson is learned here?

    (1) She was not beholden to anyone – not to the Icons of New York nor the homeless. She did not have to beg for money nor pander for votes.

    (2) She understood what helping meant. It meant she didn’t do the work they had to do.

    Now, what about government?

    It has to steal the money and pander for votes. It is very beholden to the very force it gives money to and takes money from.

    It does not understand what helping means.

    Government cannot be involved in charity. Period.

    • Another perspective, a senator or congressman creates/controls government agencies such as FUTA, which has a state counterpart. The more they grow government, the more they grow their loyal voter base. This is why those in power always insist only government can do these things, and why the McCain’s and Pelosi’s march in lockstep on this.

  25. Judy Sabatini says:

    I lost my job in October of last year when my brother in law sold his business, in fact, so did my husband, but he’s working on a part time basis now getting samples for the new owner, which happens to be his own cousin. He did not wish to keep us both on, for one thing, he couldn’t afford to keep both of us, so guess who left, me. My husband went from being a VP there, to a part time worker, which only makes $25 a sample when there are any to get. Yes, we both collect unemployment benefits. My husband worked there for 20 years, and I worked there for 2 and a half.

    We are both looking for another job, me part time, because I do have my mother living with us, and I still have to take care of her, so most of my job looking has been online, filling apps that way. I get out when I can and apply in person. My husband in between getting samples, has also been applying as well, but so far, neither one of us had had any luck. Our benefits are due to run out at the end of this month and unless we can find something, we will have to be like all those other freeloaders and have to file an extension.

    But given the unemployment rate here in Reno alone, there isn’t a lot of hiring unless you have some sort of degree or many years of experience, and my husband alone, has over 30 years of management behind him, and still can’t find work. Don’t know if it’s our ages has anything to do with it or what. I’m 58, he’s 63. So, far the places we have applied for has not called back, and when we do do any follow up calls, those jobs have been either filled or they have stopped hiring. It’s very bleak here unless you are in the medical field or have a CDL license for truck driving, and to get that, you have to pay over $1000 just for the learning.

    My husband also receives his social security which is just enough to make our house payment, he also receives his retirement check from 25 years of work at Lockheed which also goes towards in paying our bills. We do not live in luxury, we live within our means, we eat at home, and maybe if we’re lucky we might be able to go out once in a while. We are doing everything possible to find work here no matter what it is.

    I do have some money in a savings account that I will only use if and when we need it, until then,it stays there. No, I’m not complaining, but it is very difficult to know from day to day if you’re going to be able to pay next months bills, if you’ll be able to find a job, so, with every dollar we get goes into the bank and it stays there until needed. My unemployment pays for our groceries, and yes I’m a Walmart shopper and have learned to look for bargains, and not buy brand names. I have to do what I have to do in order to try and save as much as possible.

    We went from making good money last year, to hardly making anything now, so, yes, that unemployment does help. What’s the answer and how do we fix it, I don’t know, all I know, is, I, no, we’re doing the best we can with what we have. But I do know that all these so called jobs that have been so called created is a bunch of bologna. If they have created all these wonderful jobs, I’d like to know where they are so we can go apply for one. We do not like getting unemployment, but we did pay into it while we had our jobs, and I always thought that if you pay into it, then it’s yours, or am I wrong in thinking that way. After all isn’t that what all the deductions they take out is part of.

    Hope all is doing well today, and will have a good weekend.

    • Judy,

      You paid into it, isn’t it yours? Unemployment, no, unless you own the business. By which I do not mean there is any reason you should not draw the full amount you are due. Your social security situation is an interesting example. At your ages, how much have you, your husband and your mother paid in? And yes, that is your money. Can you demand a full payoff on your mothers contributions (with interest)? SS is also supposed to have hardship allowances, for which you should certainly qualify. You caring for your mother has got to be cheaper than a nursing home.

      Have a private thought to share if you would like, contact me at
      xxxxxx@gmail.com

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        I tried sending you a message, but having trouble. Here is my Email address, just send message there.

        xxxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com

        Will be looking forward in hearing from you. Have a couple things to do, but will get back to you when I get back.

        Take Care, and hope you have a good day and weekend.

        Judy

        • Suggestion: Do not put your email address on public sites without adding extraneous characters such as spaces, underscores, dashes, or other characters. Webcrawlers pick up email addresses and use them to generate spam and fhishing emails.

          • USWeapon says:

            Excellent point T-Ray. Judy and LOI I erased your email addresses above and sent you each an email with the info rather than having it out here in public.

            USW

  26. This is an example of governmental collapse. Governments collapse by not fulfilling their promises.

    Greece government promised money to those that do not earn.

    Then the government broke the promise.

    Violent protests hit Greece

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.2d463dc1ea6baf7651f3f5c33b7f3824.a51&show_article=1

  27. Largest Private Refinery Discovers Gold-Plated Tungsten Bar

    http://news.coinupdate.com/largest-private-refinery-discovers-gold-plated-tungsten-bar-0171/

  28. OKIE DOKIE #4

    If UI is supposed to provide a standard of living while looking for a job.

    Then;

    What is that standard of living?

    How is it determined?

    Is it relative to recent income and lifestyle or a fixed amount?

    WHAT IS THE PURPOSE of UI?

    • v. Holland says:

      State Unemployment Insurance Benefits
      Purpose
      In general, the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program provides unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined under State law), and meet other eligibility requirements of State law.

      * Unemployment insurance payments (benefits) are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who meet the requirements of State law.

      * Each State administers a separate unemployment insurance program within guidelines established by Federal law.

      * Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are available are determined by the State law under which unemployment insurance claims are established.

      * In the majority of States, benefit funding is based solely on a tax imposed on employers. (Three (3) States require minimal employee contributions.)

      * For additional information, click here.

      Eligibility
      1. You must meet the State requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period”. (In most States, this is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the time that your claim is filed.)

      2. You must be determined to be unemployed through no fault of your own (determined under State law), and meet other eligibility requirments of State law.

      Filing a Claim

      * You should contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency as soon as possible after becoming unemployed. In some States, you can now file a claim by telephone or over the Internet.

      * When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.

      * Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state UI agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states. You may also click on the link above to find contact information for all states.

      * It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check. Some States require a one-week waiting period; therefore, the second week claimed is the first week of payment, if you are otherwise eligible.

      Continued Eligibility

      * You must file weekly or biweekly claims (after the week(s) has ended), and respond to questions concerning your continued eligibility. You must report any earnings from work you had during the week(s). You must also report any job offers or refusal of work during the week. These claims are usually filed by mail or telephone; the State will provide filing instructions.

      * When directed, you must report to your local Unemployment Insurance Claims Office or One-Stop/Employment Service Office on the day and at the time you are scheduled to do so. If you fail to report as scheduled for any interview, benefits may be denied.

      * You must continue to meet the eligibility requirements stated in the previous section.

      Registering For Work

      * Claimants who file for unemployment benefits may be directed to register for work with the State Employment Service, so it can assist you in finding employment. If you are not required to register, you still may seek help in finding a job from the Employment Service.

      * The One-Stop/Employment Service Office has current labor market information and provides a wide array of re-employment services free of charge.

      * Employment Service staff can refer you to job openings in your area, or in other parts of the State or country if you are willing to relocate.

      * They can refer you to various training programs.

      * If job openings in your field are limited, they can offer testing and counseling to determine other jobs you might like to do and are able to do.

      * If you believe you have special needs or considerations, such as physical needs or other considerations, which may prevent you from getting a job, they can refer you to other agencies for help with those needs.

      Disqualification from Eligibility

      * If your reason for separation from your last job is due to some reason other than a “lack of work” – a determination will be made about whether you are eligible for benefits.

      * Generally all determinations of whether or not a person is eligible for benefits are made by the appropriate State under its law or applicable federal laws.

      * If you are disqualified/denied benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. The State will advise you of your appeal rights. You must file your appeal within an established time frame. Your employer may also appeal a determination if he/she does not agree with the State’s determination regarding your eligibility.

      * If you’ve received a determination denying benefits, click here.

      Benefits

      * In general, benefits are based on a percentage of an individual’s earnings over a recent 52-week period – up to a State maximum amount.

      * Benefits can be paid for a maximum of 26 weeks in most States.

      * Additional weeks of benefits may be available during times of high unemployment (see Extended Benefits). Some States provide additional benefits for specific purposes.

      * Benefits are subject to Federal income taxes and must be reported on your Federal income tax return. You may elect to have the tax withheld by the State Unemployment Insurance agency.

      http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/uifactsheet.asp

      • v. Holland says:

        It seems that they do have an employment agency involved with unemployment-hummm-seems like it would work much better if they used private companies.

    • v. Holland says:

      “WHAT IS THE PURPOSE of UI? ” You have been hinting at something in your posts by asking this question in a few different ways-What is the purpose in the governments opinion? What is the purpose relative to crossing state lines? Why don’t you elaborate and save me the possible embarrassment of guessing? 🙂 because my thoughts could be considered paranoid.

  29. SUFA, with special to Matt, Buck etc.

    WHY CAN’T THE INDIVIDUAL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY NET?

    Please give all the reasons you believe it Can’t work.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      I can see it now. Ten years after we switch to private UI, the newest administration mandates we all purchase private UI to bring costs down.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Most people probably can provide their own safety net – which is why we both stated that there should be a threshold amount that, if you are above, you would be ineligible for unemployment.

      But what of those people that live paycheck to paycheck? That have no real savings of their own to fall back on? Sure, some of these people did it to themselves by buying things that they could not afford without any regard for their future. But many have them are in that situation through no fault of your own. It is this segment of the population that I am most concerned about, that I believe we as a society MUST (sorry, felt like throwing out that word again!) provide a safety net for.

      • Buck the Wala

        “But what of those people that live paycheck to paycheck?”

        You are nibbling at the root of my question. Go farther.

        Why are they living like this?

        I would argue that at the heart, everyone’s situation is in fact the result of their actions, or failure to act, thus their fault. There are few who truly don’t have the capacity to decide or to act.

        Once you make such a judgment then you must next judge who IS at fault and who IS NOT at fault, correct? After all why would we help those who are at fault?

        But I digress. What I am looking for is not whether folks can cover themselves or whether anyone thinks it is politically practicle.

        I am looking for the reasons WHY you think such a system would not work. And then explain why that barrier exists. GO TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM.

        Top of the day to ya Buck.
        JAC

    • v. Holland says:

      Mostly it can’t work at this time in history because people are programmed to believe that the government is going to provide it for them. I will say that even if most people could provide their own or have it provided by their families if we still went by the take care of your own motto-we would still have a very small percentage that would need help. Don’t see where this small number would make a separate department necessary but not sure I can say it isn’t necessary at all. Mind set plays a huge roll in our current huge government.

    • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

      The whole housing meltdown is an example of why a private safety net won’t work. This country is no longer programed to save. As the commercial says, “They want it, and they want it now”. A friend’s son is making money hand over foot by buying structured settlements. These were designed to pay out over someone’s life. If you got them for an injury, they guaranteed as you aged, there would be money in the pot for you. Well those settlements are being bought up at far less than 50 cents on the dollar by people who “want it now”. What fools.

      My father educated me to only buy what I could afford. It’s the way he lived his life. This was once the way most people used to live before Madison Avenue told them they could have it all.

      • But the housing meltdown only happened because the government required lenders to make loans to people who could not afford them.
        I think private could work, but a government/private mix will always end in failure.

        • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

          That’s part one of the housing meltdown and even that requires that you, the ultimate authority on what you can afford and pay for are dumb assed enough to buy a house that is too expensive for you. It also assumes that you were too dumb to understand that energy prices may rise again and that prices fall as well as rise.

          Part two are the folks who assumed that they would never be without a job. They could afford the house just fine and then boom, after 20 years the company says goodbye. The replacement Wal-Mart job does not cover the mortgage. Add to that, those folks who now see that their homes value has fallen dramatically. There was something on the news the other night about people bailing out when the house loses 30% of its value. I am among the fortunate few who have been in the same house for over 20 years, accelerated the mortgage payments when years were good and had the white elephant paid off before I got kicked to the curb. Based on the success I have had the last three years in finding a decent paying job (none) and that wonderful good old unmentioned age discrimination thing, I am one lucky dude indeed.

          Put yourself in the place of a homeowner who bought a house that he could afford. The house loses value to the point where he can’t sell it and not still owe the bank money. What to do?

          We get “The Army Times” and “The Air Force Times” around here. Over the past year there have been a number of articles on servicemen being transferred who have to leave their families behind because they can’t sell their house and settle the mortgage. For a career soldier, sailor, airman or marine, walking away is not an option.

          Having been snookered at 23 into buying a piece of desert for about $2,500 in a development that just may be built in the 23rd century, I consider that money to have been well spent, for the life lesson it taught me. I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for those who have been conned. Not for everyone mind you, not for the greedy who were going to use one house to step up to the next and then the next or who wanted to buy to flip but for the young and naive who believed that no one could be that dishonest just to get a lousy commission.

  30. Please see my blog in response: http://www.polital-bull.com/

    • Kyle

      You mistyped your address.

      Welcome to SUFA. I hope you stick around.

      Didn’t see anything on your site re: Unemployment Comp.

      Again, welcome
      JAC

  31. Cyndi P says:

    Off topic question. I need help. My Libtard boyfriend and I were discussing an issue with our employer that I’d rather not get into at the moment, however, it has to do with health insurance. My sugarbear is convinced that insurance companies are not regulated, nor are they required to provide things like marriage counseling, substances abuse counseling/hospitalization, etc. It has to be a source that he can’t argue with by claiming its ‘right-wing hate’, right-wing lies, hearsay, etc. Any suggestion?? Thanks!

    • Cyndi

      Try starting with search for Insurance Commission in the state you want.

      Then perhaps go the State Codes for that state and search for Health Insurance of Insurance Coverage or something like that.

      The States absolutely regulate and in fact dictate requirements for coverage. Montana for example has a large number of requirements while Idaho has something like 14.

      What I am not sure of is whether the States have any say in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan coverage. I know our Blue Cross had to be changed to a Montana office when we moved here from Idaho. But the actual coverage changes every year and was more than Idaho required so can’t tell how it compares to MT law. I suspect the Federal Programs stand alone and separate.

      The states all have Insurance Commissions or agencies that regulate the industry.

      Let me know if you need more help.
      JAC

    • In 1945, Congress enacted the McCarran-Ferguson Act that specifically delegated to the states the regulatory authority over insurers.

      Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), financial services companies, including banking, insurance and securities, may form holding companies and create affiliate companies to conduct business in any of the financial industries.

    • get a new BF !! ;=}

  32. Don’t know if I’m getting into an area where Weapon doesn’t want to go but re-reading the article this morning brought something to mind.

    We are hashing out unemployment as a saftey net. A need to be able to get you through until new employment is secured. If you planned wisely you have a rainy day fund to rely on. You are in better shape than the next guy who has to rely totally on unemployment comp to pay your bills.

    Don’t we also need to bring into the discussion the cost of living to begin with. What if everything was cheaper- housing, autos, food, gas, etc. Then it wouldn’t as hard to provide for yourself during the hard times.

    • Thinking further: Weapon says start from where we are now so this is probably irrelevant.

      • v. Holland says:

        I’ve gotta leave to go to a family lunch and then babysit for all the young ones while their parents go to a wedding but I can’t wait to hear JAC’s response to this. 🙂

    • Anita

      You are correct. It is all related. And INFLATION caused by our fiscal and monetary policy hits the lower income levels harder. Making it ever more difficult for them to SAVE for a rainy day.

      Your question about cost of living is, in my view, tied to the question I raised:

      What is the purpose of Unemployment Compensation.

      The answers to this question must go much deeper than just “provide a safety net”.

      What kind of net? How big a net? For how long? How do we know when to provide a net and when not to?

      How do we address normal times and extraordinary times?

      Lets take your thought and expand.

      If the purpose is to prevent undo catastrophe while finding new work then we must provide enough money for that person to continue covering required expenses. Lets call them operating costs.

      While the “liberals” were haggling about cigaretts and whiskey they ignored the bigger costs. If I am unemployed I need enough money to cover my house payment, car payment, utilities, credit card payments, food, and anything else that if not paid could cause me to suffer forclosure or loss of property. That is a true net.

      Now of course, you have a savings and I don’t. So then the “liberals” decide you should get less than me because you have savings to use. But why is that fair? IT IS NOT. And of course I make a gazillion dollars and you make 30 K. So I need a gazillion in unemployment to make me whole and you need only 30K less what THEY decide you should spend from your savings first.

      The relativity of living standards was, I assume one of the reasons than many states link UI payments to your level of income. This only partly addresses the “make you whole relative to your living standard” concept.

      In the end, long term, the only rational goal is to eliminate UI comp.. That can be done when we have sound fiscal and monetary policies and a regulatory environment that maximized our economic potential. This would limit the corrosive effect of inflation, raising the value of money. But we must also change our mentality as a nation from one of SPENDING to one of SAVING.

      That is why it is important to allow Down Cycles to run the course. They restore the cultural value of saving for a rainy day. By trying to prevent the pain we create a mentality that “it will only last a little while” and “the govt will help us”. Thus we no longer learn the hard lessons of life. The very thing that allowed humanity to expand. Saving our excess for times of want.

      I hope you slept well last night 🙂

      Happy Saturday. Another Big Sky day here.
      JAC

      • Anita

        P.S. I forgot to add the dilemma.

        If UI Comp covers all “operating costs” until you find a job, and we all know it, then what is our incentive to save for a rainy day?

        • Hi JAC: Not avoiding your response. See #36

          Beautiful weekend in Michigan. Sounds like yours is the same. Catch ya at a better hour. 🙂

  33. Cyndi P says:

    Off topic….I just watched Glenn Beck’s show on ‘education’ which is actually Leftist/Communist indoctrination. Has anyone else seen it? I don’t have school age children. I asked my daughter about what’s being taught, a few months ago, and she’s says folks are pretty conservative at Old Miss where she attends classes. Have any of ya’ll seen or heard anything from you kids? Its pretty scary what’s going on……

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hi Cyndi

      I don’t have school age kids either, Oldest is 27, in the Army, youngest, 24, is college, med school, but would be interested in hearing or watching if you by any chance have a link to it.

      Hope you’re doing well for a Saturday.

      Judy

      • Cyndi P says:

        Hi Judy,

        No link because it was on TV! I thought I’d turn on the old boob-tube to see if Glenn was on. He was!

        Its Sunday here. I got a little too much sun yesterday and am paying the price today. Its a nice day out, but I don’t dare head out onto the beach or the boat. It sucks to ‘be white'(in more ways than one). I wish I’d got a little more of my mother’s pigmenting instead of my dad’s. He’s even whiter than me!

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          Hey Back

          Well, it was worth a shot. Boy do I know about being sunburned too. Back in 1968, I went to Oceanside with Jim and his family, was an overcast day, didn’t think anything about it until that night. We were out there on the beach for 8 to 9 hours, need I say more. Then the next day, we had to go to church while we were there. Ever see Frankenstein wear a dress and nylons? I couldn’t not bend my arms, or legs because I was so burned. BTW, never did that again. I too have fair skin, got it from my dad. Live and learn, hey girl. Feel better soon Cyndi.

    • Cyndi: Lack o sleep the other night caused me to get my days & nights confused so I’m awake and I’m watching Glenn….whoa…We are so screwed.

      USW: Did you catch our request to swap e-mail addresses?

      • I spoke to a friend of mine here, who is a teacher. She came here from Polk county Florida ast summer. I asked her if she’d ever seen anything like that. She said she hadn’t that that she’d be shocked if somethinlg like that was going in in Polk county schools. So hopefully, its not happening throughout the country but only in areas of a certain political persuasion? I haven’t heard of it happening at the locl school here.

        • I continue to tell my daughter to think for herself- don’t let yourself get sucked in.

          My son will be starting 7th grade this fall. The middle school is having a Q&A this week. Trust me they are gonna think I’m a nut case before the meeting ends. Feel sorry for my son. “Mom, be quiet. You’re embarrasing me.”

      • Did not catch Beck on Friday but meant to. Did just see this on Atlas Shrugs….

        http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/03/its-2010-do-you-know-where-you-children-are-ofa-does.html

        Indoctrination at its finest. What will it take for all people to get with it and realize what is happening?

  34. Coming soon to America…

    Neglected by ‘lazy’ nurses, man, 22, dying of thirst rang the police to beg for water</b.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255858/Neglected-lazy-nurses-Kane-Gorny-22-dying-thirst-rang-police-beg-water.html#ixzz0hRItwsmv

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      No excuse what so ever to ignore him even if they thought he was acting up, none. Sure, after it gets released at what happened there after being investigated, then they write a letter of apology and proceed to say things will change, and everyone will be treated when they come in.

      Excuse me, but shouldn’t this have been done in the first place? Maybe if they have treated him better and not ignore his pleas, this young man would still be alive today. What a shame that this had to happen in the first place. Those nurses and doctor should have been put on leave until further investigation was completed.

    • v. Holland says:

      Have to wonder if the nurses are really lazy or if they are convenient scape coats for the doctors. I’ve never been in a hospital where the nurses didn’t follow the orders written in a patients file but I’ve certainly had to wait for the nurses to get a hold of the doctor to report any changes or problems that the patient was having in order to get new orders. One of the reasons you shouldn’t leave a friend or family member alone at any hospital.

  35. TexasChem says:

    Hey guys I just wanted to point out that EMPLOYERS pay the brunt of unemployment benefits not the feds.The arguement that “I paid into it I deserve it does not hold water!”

    Who pays for unemployment benefits?

    Private employers pay a tax to finance the unemployment benefits paid to their former employees. For most employers, this tax rate goes up or down depending upon how much their former workers collect. Some organizations (usually non-profit or government agencies) reimburse the state, dollar for dollar, for any unemployment benefits paid by the state, in lieu of paying the tax.

    In order to control your organization’s unemployment costs, it is ordinarily not essential for you to know whether your employer repays the state for unemployment benefits through a quarterly payroll tax or through reimbursement to the state for benefits paid. However, reimbursing employers should be aware that they may not have the right to protest benefit charges, even in those situations where they were not the last employer at the time the claim was filed.

    It is important to understand that it is in the employer’s best interests to limit the payment of benefits to former employees. Failure to limit unnecessary unemployment benefit payments will immediately impact the charges made to a reimbursing employer. Taxpaying employers will eventually pay a higher rate based upon unnecessary charges, but the increase may not come during the next tax year. Eventually, cumulative unnecessary unemployment claim charges will push the organization’s tax rate up into the next higher tax bracket.

    Q: If reimbursable financing has the disadvantage of not being able to protest all claim charges, why shouldn’t governmental or non profit employers elect to pay the tax instead?

    A: Reimbursing employers must reimburse the state dollar-for-dollar for the benefits paid to their former workers. Tax-paying employers, on the other hand, may pay a “social” penalty which exceeds the state’s actual costs. In other words, the employers at higher tax rates subsidize those at lower tax rates.

    • So government and nonprofits do not pay UI unless someone is laid off in which case they reimburse the state for the UI paid to the former employee. Is there any overhead attached to this?

  36. Looks like we’re stuck.

    WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?

  37. v. Holland says:

    In theory I see UI as a good idea-a temporary helping hand for people who through no fault of their own lose their job. Obviously, in reality it’s not working that way. People on here have done a good job of pointing out the problems with the system and some good ideas to tweak the system. Others have pointed out the psychological pitfalls of supplying a security net.

    Since I don’t see the government getting rid of UI, I suspect we need to tighten the regulations to get rid of some of the outright stealing from the system-example people who consistently use the system because they have seasonal work or others because they simply have figured out a way to game the system. Shouldn’t be too hard to identify these people since they will constantly be on the program. So a regulation about how often the same person can use the system in say a 5 year time period I think would fix the problem. As far as making sure people are actively looking for a job-sounds like a good idea but the cost to do it, is probably prohibitive. Although I still think people using private local employment agencies might work to keep tabs on their actually looking for work and increase their changes of finding a job sooner but obviously no one else on here does 🙂

    JAC talked about a true net, I think his point was(please correct me If I’m wrong-don’t want to put words in your mouth) that it’s impossible to provide a true net to people-seems that the fact that people will lose everything they have if they don’t get a job as soon as possible would mitigate some of the psychological damage caused by supplying a net and the knowledge that the help is temporary would also help to motivate people to just get a job- add in the limit on how often a person can receive unemployment spread over a number of years and I think it would help if not fix the problems. I especially liked JB’s ideas about how the terms of benefits would be handled. The main problem I see, is that once a “crisis” hits which was pointed out -all the regulations go out the window.

    • v. Holland says:

      Oh, one more thing-companies having to pay for the system and all the cost of the endless paperwork-have no idea how to fix that.

      • I liked your idea of working with an employment agency. 🙂

        I spent a good hour early this am compiling a list of all solutions presented so far.
        Got to the last line of the long post and tripped over my keyboard somehow and lost the whole post. 😦 Gave up after cursing at myself but your idea was on it.

        • v. Holland says:

          Oh man, that had to hurt after all that work! I’ll say a curse word too but, for you, not at you. 🙂

          I wasn’t compiling a list but I was trying to summarize some of the ideas that had been presented in one place.

  38. Hey, you crazies on the right, I’m back for a brief visit (been busy with the new book stuff–good reviews so far). I took the Libertarian quiz and came out a Libertarian but … big but … I’m all for socialized medicine so …

    Anyway, here’s one way to put some back to work. I can’t stand the waste and fraud going on in medicare and welfare … so how about putting some of the unemployed to work investigating (whether by phone or otherwise) exposing some of the fraud? It is insane to me that because Medicaid claims has to be paid within 30 days, fugazy (fake) prosthetic claim checks are mailed with almost zero invesigation. In some ares of Florida the fraud has reached hundreds of millions of dollars. How is that possible? The excuse was we’re “understaffed”. Like I said, INSANE.

    I still say vote for Nader or the Libertarian party but whatever you(s) do, vote the two major parties OUT OF OFFICE. The joke has been on all of us long enough.

    Peace.

    • v. Holland says:

      Pretty big jump there Charlie from believing in socialism to voting for a libertarian. 🙂 I guess your point is anythings better than what we have.

      • Is is, indeed, V. I totally understand the mistrust of government but still have reservations about a totally free society (regarding business without regulation). That said, ANYTHING would be better than this joke we’re suffering under now.

        Patterson in NY … Rengal … the moron Republicans determined to keep gays from ever having true equal rights (then get caught in their own sex scandals) … it’s all pathetic … and worse is some of them get re-elected.

        I’m totally frustrated and last blog at my site stated I’m done discussing it at my place. DOC gets to handle the politics now … I can’t get myself excited one way or the other anymore. I just know both parties need to be shoved out the door; they’re both useless.

        • v. Holland says:

          Sounds like you are in burn out mode when it comes to the reality of politics-been there-will be there again I’m sure. I can’t agree that anything is better than what we have but I certainly understand the reasoning behind the idea.

    • Birdman says:

      I don’t see a really big problem with fraud in UI. Yes, I know there is some fraud. However, to get UI, you have to be layed off or fired without good cause (there are other reasons as D13 pointed out). If I employ someone cutting trees for 9 months out of the year and layoff for 3 months, then I have no problem with you collecting UI if you can afford to live on UI. I’ve fired employees who I felt should not collect UI, contested the claim, and lost. The state takes a liberal interpretation.

      I think there is greater fraud in Welfare and Medicaid. From an employer perspective, I think that Workers Compensation is abused and there is fraud. From my perspective, workers compensation is a big scam and costs the Company a lot of money. The law is applied very liberally and many employers will settle claims for thousands of dollars even if the claim isn’t legitimate. Again, much depends on how the state laws are written. Some states allow the employer to control medical assistance to the employee for the entire period of time they are off work while other states allow the employee to choose their doctor and there are doctors out there that take advantage of this and will keep the employee off work for long periods of time. Workers compensation is an issue all by itself but it is one area that should be reformed. Perhaps a topic for another day.

      • v. Holland says:

        Personally, I do think having a seasonal job and using unemployment benefits to finance the rest of your year is stealing-If you’re gonna work only part of the year than you should be able to support your self for the rest of the year or get another job to fill in. Should all the teachers get unemployment during the summer months.

        • Réfugiée says:

          A resounding “non!” We teachers should NOT get UI during the summer. Thankfully, we can get our pay spread out over 12 months.

          BTW, 55 hours/week during the school year is the average for me. Fifteen-twenty is average for the summer months.

          • v. Holland says:

            I am aware and very thankful for the long hours that teachers work, most of my husbands family are either teachers or principals. I in no way meant this as a criticism of teachers-The teachers I know either take summer work or they plan their budgets based on what they make during the school year-they do not think they should receive benefits to finance the rest of their year. I was simply using teachers as an example to hopefully make my point. 🙂

            • Réfugiée says:

              Point well made, and my response was not meant as a criticism of your post, V! Unfortunately, there is a lot of vocal criticism of teachers and I may be over-sensitive. 🙂

              I agree that teachers appear to accept their “seasonal” schedule and plan accordingly, while apparently some people in other lines of work do not.

              Is the common thread here “predictable” time away from work? I know people who plow snow in the winter, mow grass spring, summer, and fall, and take care of leaves until it’s snow season again. They’ve adapted to the reality of the seasons.

              • v. Holland says:

                You have managed to make my point better than I did-I will add that the teachers I know also pay for school supplies out of their own money because they care about their students-I also have to say I love the word “non” may have to start using it instead of no. 🙂

              • Réfugiée says:

                At my building many teachers also do that, and for the same reason. I have to say that I don’t know any (stereotypical) jaded, cynical teachers who despise kids and only do the minimum required to stay employed. But I am in a very good district.

                The same was true when I was a private-school teacher in Michigan. We were all there because we loved the kids and our subject matter. At my academy we made about 20K/year.

                I found out about UI when laid off in August 2007. Yes, August! After spending the summer preparing stuff for the coming year . . . .

                I thought that UI would help us to get by until jobs became available in February or March. Much to my surprise, my school was not a contributor to UI and those of us who were laid off received nothing.

                My husband’s company had closed three weeks prior. God was very gracious, although I did not see it that way at the time. We were able to relocate out-of-state and became some of Michigan’s first economic refugees in this super-recession.

                The lack of a safety net played a big part in our willingness to do whatever was necessary to pay the bills. Don’t get me wrong . . . both of us HATED being unemployed. But, if there were no jobs in Michigan, we accepted the reality that we had to leave and go where the jobs were. No one else was responsible for paying our bills.

                Due to my experiences, I tend to believe that safety nets paid for (involuntarily) by other people are not the best option.

              • v. Holland says:

                If one door closes the Lord opens another one-have found that to be true in my life as well-I find myself full of conflict when I talk about our safety nets-I don’t deny that they take away freedoms so we are better off to always do things without governmental intrusion but I also find that I don’t wish to live in a society that allows people to starve or die in the street-so use charity whenever possible and private business if possible but can’t completely get past the possibility that these avenues might not always work. But today we are talking about from where we are-so tighter regulation seems the right beginning point.

              • Last one out of Michigan please turn off the lights

              • Birdman says:

                I hope to be out of MI soon! Although I love where I live, there is no work and I will go to any other location for work. I have an interview Tuesday out of state and had one last week out of state so it’s only a matter of time for me before I leave. I just hope I get an offer from one of the two companies.

              • Think I remember you said you are near Cadillac? My sister has 20 in Bellaire

  39. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hi All

    Hope your Sunday is going good for you. Have a pleasant day.

    Take Care

    Judy

  40. Maybe we are thinking too small. We have all these separate programs to help with personal disasters, SS, Medicare, Medicaid, UI, HSA, FSA, IRA, 401K, long term disability, short term disability, …. Could we make make one savings plan that could be used for all? The employee and the employer would both contribute. Currently 15% goes to SS and the medi’s plus any retirement monies due the employee (401K matching, ESOP, etc). We learned above that an average $430/yr goes to UI, for this in seasonal businesses, contributions would be higher. The employee can contribute to 401K, IRA, HSA, and FSA. Often the employer contributes (or is forced to contribute) to long and short term disability. If all of these monies were pooled into one individual private (and privately managed and invested) fund would we not all be the richer for it. This would get government totally out of the picture. It would also mean that individuals have ownership and thus personal responsibility. There might still be a need for a catastrophic insurance plan but again it could be one plan to cover health, long term disability, workman’s comp., etc. The fund should be private and portable. Having one fund, reduces overhead. Having it private takes the politicians out of the picture and prevents the funds from being spent by government for other purposes.

    There will still be people who fall through the cracks, cannot work for health or other reasons. These would be left to welfare. There would be limits on how much you can withdraw from the fund such as X weeks and % for unemployment. The employee should have the option of replacing the funds once re-employed. (Actually, what is wrong with current people on UI refunding some of the money after they get a new job?)

    As BF noted, this could not be started overnight. It would take years to phase in such a program based on age. One could start with healthcare (HSA, FSA, and 401Ks) and gradually add in UI, SS, Medicaid, etc. Let me know what everyone thinks about this.

  41. Sounds good except for the small business owner like me. At one point I had 18 employees. I matched SS and Medicare- Workman’s Comp 12k/yr- Unemployment comp 18k/yr. Now you want me to supply HSA, FSA, IRA and disability? A small business owner is in business for his own wealth not to make the employees richer than him/herself.

    • Reply for T-Ray @40

    • No Anita, HSA, FSA, & 401K are the employee contributions. The employer would put in no more than is currently going into the various funds. The advantage is the that the employee could tap into the fund when he has one of the predefined emergencies, i.e. medical expenses, unemployment, retirement, etc. Right now, we have all these separate funds. Some that are controlled by the government and put into the general fund. This money is spent on whatever the pols want to spend it on and then must be made up when needed by borrowing, printing or taxing. This would stop as the pols don’t get access to the money. The money could be invested, so would build over the years into a nice retirement nest egg assuming the individual does not tap into it too often.

      Example: If you have 6 bank accounts, all with a minimum deposit of $1000, you have $5000 of unusable money.

      For young people, the fund will be small to begin with. So they will need to be careful to remain employed. Being young, the odds of them using the HSA & FSA protion would be low. Their retirement is also a long way off so the portion could be available in the short term for unemployment.

      There will need to some regulation of the management fees associated with this fund but it should be less than that associated with managing individual funds for each program. Plus, the government overhead is gone as are all the various alphabet soup departments that now perform those functions. So overall, our taxes (printing) should go down. If the adminsitrative cost are buried in the current taxes, then the employer/ee contributions could also be reduced. Since the money can be invested, it serves as a pool for capital markets, thus improving our economic power.

      The big losers in this scheme are the pols and the scammers but then I have no sympathy for either group.

      • Réfugiée says:

        I think I like this idea.

        Now, would any in the Congress ever vote for it?

        • No, they are talking about taxing or taking over 401K’s. If you have done too good a job putting away for your retirement, its not fair to those who spent all their money on beer and lotto tickets.

      • v. Holland says:

        Isn’t this close to Bush’s plan for S.S.

        • Not quite, Bush wanted to privatize a percentage of SS I think with the eventuality of making it all private. This is one huge step beyond that, combining and privatizing all of the tax deferred benefits and safety net items. For those truly needed, there may still be a need for public/private welfare. I am not proposing anything yet to attack that.

          I have been thinking for sometime about privatizing SS as Bush started. I was keeping my ammo dry waiting for USW but this topic triggered these thoughts on fixing it all at once. The phase in would be difficult as those over 55 probably would need to stay in the current system. Enough funds would be needed to carry them through. I would stage the rest by decades, 45-55 would see partial implementation, 35-45 more and 20-35 full implementation immediately. You might have to keep the employer half of SS/Medi’s going to the “trust” fund until the 55 crowd moves through the system. This would take some sharp pencils to work out. But the whole plan should be implemented in less than 20 years.

          It changes the healthcare debate as it puts catastrophic insurance as the primary method of coverage. Most people would fund healthcare via the HSA/FSA approach. This puts the consumer in control and if done right would cut down on some of the paper work overhead for the insurance companies.

      • Now that you’ve set me straight I like it! Alot ! Just stay outta my pocket 🙂

  42. So reading the posts I notice this tendency of misusing terms.

    Are you guys trying to create an Unemployment Insurance scheme

    or

    an Unemployment Subsidy scheme?

    I see many of you saying Insurance but demonstrating Subsidy…

    Trust me, you will get the terrible wrong answer if you get these two – distinct – concepts confused.

    • We don’t have a clue what we’re doing

      • Yes we do Anita!

        We let ourselves get led astray, by many things. I’m writing an article to address this problem.

        Hope you are well tonight my freind!

        G!

        • Doin fine G-man. You’ve missed some fun. I like your ideas below.I’ve been wondering if you are more on the right track than the rest of us. But the topic is unemployment and we were warned to stay on task…we ran astray a few times 🙂

          • Why Anita! I’m straight on task! 🙂

            To deal with unemployment and all the mess that goes with it, one must fix the problem that’s causing the problem that we discuss. We can’t fix what’s wrong with unemployment benefits, as they have become, until we fix the cause of unemployment.

            To attempt fixing unemployment benefits without trying to fix the cause of the unemployment is like trying to nail jelly to a tree! 😆

            So, let’s get on task!

            G!

            • v. Holland says:

              But G, doesn’t fixing the causes include fixing the programs themselves. Not sure how you can do one without the other.

              • V!

                The program has problems? yes. If we can fix the problems that have led to the program, then the program would not have the problems that it has. The program is a result of the real problem, not the cause of the problem with the program.

              • v. Holland says:

                That’s true G to a point, but most of these programs started out small and have grown into huge money eating monsters-Seems reasonable that we would need to trim their size to even begin addressing our economic problems.

              • If you trim a shrub, it will continue to grow. If you pull the shrub out by it’s roots, the shrub is no longer. Think of it that way! Hope you are well today my freind! 🙂

              • v. Holland says:

                Have to say that pulling it out by it’s roots will definitely trim the cost. 🙂 Doing good today-just wish it was Saturday, would really like one more day off this weekend-Hope you are doing well.

            • Here,Here! Since this is a series we should be able to find our way out of trouble.. I think JAC may be festering up a way to pull this particular discussion together.

  43. Hi Ya’ll 🙂

    Read most of what’s been posted. I have no problem with an unemployment insurance program, for it’s intent. Beyond that, there needs to be far reaching changes. Here’s where I would begin:

    1. To American businessmen. You will not sell your product in the U.S. unless 75% is manufactured within the country, no exceptions.

    2. Foreign imports: We will not accept imports , other than food, if your country does not import from the U.S. of equal valuation, regardless of the product.

    3. Recind all free trade agreements with foreign countries, see #2.

    4. The government will provide sustantial tax incentives to rebuild the the industrial nation that they have all but destroyed, and will be denied permission by the people to interfere ever again.

    5. Management income cannot surpass non-management income, in the manufacture of any product. eg. The entire management staff compensation, cannot exceed the total compensation of the companies workforce.

    That’s a start, that needs tweeked a lot, but it’s a start.

    Peace!

    G!

    • Thought for the Day!

      I don’t mind going to work. But that 8 hour wait to go home is bullshit!

    • G-man: While you’re writing your article don’t forget the Builderbergs. The problem is bigger than us. I know you know that.

      • Thanks for the advice Anita! 🙂

        This article will not deal with conspiracy theories. I have a ton of true documents that have been declassified, as well as a college study that will be the basis of this article. While the group you speak could be implicated in what I’m writing, I will make no mention of any group or organization that is the subject of any conspiracy theory. I want to present facts and solutions. My first article was fun, my second was real, my next will be be facts and how we can turn the tables! 👿

        G!

        • go get em G! Looking forward to it.

          • Anita,

            Checking in for a few, had a busy day. You asked about Fredbob and Chester. They are real people, real situation. I have never met Fredbob, but know Chester well, and his daughter from a distance, she is a looker, but either lazy or not bright, struggles in school. Needless to say, it’s complicated, and there is more to it than I have shared, but don’t want to violate confidences. Hope it gets resolved soon, has cost me several six-packs already.

            • Wow! You have a mess! Maybe you better set up some bets where you can win your six packs back 🙂 Poor Chester.

  44. Down here VH!

    Had a good weekend! Went up to the mountains to continue preparations. Me and dad had to build some shelves for the canning jars we have accumulated and the weather was good for that. Suuny, around 40 or so, only had to walk on the ice and snow, but the job got done. 27+ cases on the shelves for this fall. Garden gets tilled in a few weeks, apply weed killer, retill in late May, plant in early June. I like gardening, now I have a cause, LOL 😆

    G!

    • v. Holland says:

      Sounds like you put your time to better use than I have this weekend-except for spending time with my family which is always worthwhile I have purposely been taking it easy. Work has been crazy, had to hire a woman to work full time to help out. She has so far been great but having to get used to having someone around 9 hours a day. I guess that sounds weird but I work out of my home so I’m used to having flexible hours, that isn’t really possible with an employee here-Reading and talking on the computer all day 🙂 might not be a good example, course haven’t had time lately anyway.

  45. I know I am late to the table, but I wanted to input my thoughts. I hope you are all well, I have missed you, fortunately it has been mostly due to having a lot of billable hours. Hopefully I can find a balance soon.

    Philosophically I agree with those in the “insure yourself” camp. Ultimately, taking care of yourself is up to, well, yourself. I do, however, agree with USW’s premise that you cannot just remove the current safety nets overnight without causing a lot of negative repercussions. People are not acclimated to personal responsibility and I would prefer an option that gave them the opportunity to adjust to losing the net, rather than simply yanking it out from under them. More importantly, our governmental system is designed to prevent sudden changes, anyone wielding the power to make massive and sudden changes has consolidated too much power and is in violation of our checks and balances. As such, a transition must be devised that is both compassionate to those who currently depend on the safety net and, more importantly, could actually be passed by an intelligent group of representatives (I state it that way because there is no solution to this issue that would ever be passed by our current elected officials, since they are actively seeking the opposite of what we all seek. Any “realism” I refer to in my solutions assumes that actual representative government returns, or the solution is one which I think would be permissible on a campaign platform).

    I have been unemployed a few times in the last decade. I am in the IT industry, and that industry has become more and more competitive, as well as increasingly inclined towards temporary and contract work rather than full time or long term employment. That is fine with me, I prefer working for myself anyway. During periods of unemployment I have done everything from moving pianos to just surviving on freelance work, which I am now doing full time. I do know that deviating form your industry for too long can hurt your chances getting back into your field, especially in a fast changing industry like mine. I also know that in most cases, not working for a long time is worse than working in another field. As such, I think unemployment benefits that motivate one to wait till they get a job in their field or an “equivalent job” is potentially damaging to someone’s career. Still, I get the motivation not to just take another job that is outside of their career path. Its all about what you can afford to do. I have never drawn unemployment, even when I could have, but I have no family or dependents, and I have a good circle of friends and family that I could crash with when I had to on a couple of occasions. Overall tho, while I cannot fault those who have used unemployment to ease the impact of a job loss and effectively transition to a new job, I personally would not do that because my personal philosophy will not allow it. I think Mrs. Weapon is one of many who have used the safety net as it was intended: softened the blow of the job loss and got back off as soon as possible. Still, I would prefer a world where no such safety net existed, since it is so easy to abuse such a system, and so many people get sucked into the false sense of security and fail to put out the effort they are capable of, thus costing the employed people of the country.

    I tend to agree closest with Matthius’s proposal, with the exception of the budgetary controls and a few other details. My proposal would be thus:

    Stage One:
    1) Put a single,unchanging limit on the time for benefits, with a strict extension process, the extension would also have a fixed limit.

    2) Require some hours of work for monies received. Full time work may be unrealistic, as job hunting can take a lot of time. Certainly flexibility to permit time for appointments for interviews, job fairs, etc. Work would include a range of things and would be as close to the person’s skill set as possible, depending on what work needs to be done.

    3) Benefits should be less than the person would make if they found work. If short term or part time work is found that brings in less income than the government program, a part time version of the government program can still be used so that there is incentive to accept the part time work, partially removing the load from the government program.

    4) To help with budgeting, persons would have a way to put on hold or get out of contractual obligations to luxuries. Cable bills, Gym memberships, cell phones, and other non-essentials should be able to be gotten out of without penalties in the event of a job loss. This is similar to bankruptcy protection, but would happen before someone is at that point financially. This does not apply to all debts per se. Many companies will work with you voluntarily on in the event of unemployment and other emergency financial situations. Much of people’s dependency on safety nets like unemployment is based on their bills. The ability to remove some of the bills is a key aspect. Certainly this program would not be immediate, but it may be a part of the appeals process at the end of the initial benefit period.

    5) One of the first things that should be suspended are government fees and taxes. I recently got into a severe bind due to a combination of property taxes and vehicle registration fees. I was unable to even look for work without driving illegally, and I was unable to get my vehicle licenses because of property taxes, etc. The county and state were not even willing to work out a payment plan that would allow me to drive legally in the mean time and make payments on the total. This made job hunting nearly impossible. In the end, I just have to add to my risks and drive illegally, and by the time I finally made enough to pay things off, I had incurred an additional $1,200 in fees and traffic tickets that also have to be paid off. Ridiculous. Obstacles to employment CREATED by the government should be the first things to go.

    6) Restrictions on personal usage of unemployment payments, especially since the person is working for them, at least partially, I do not agree with. In my industry, a cell phone is not a luxury, I do a lot of work by phone. Internet is even less of a luxury, it is essential to finding, training for, and performing IT related jobs. Purchasing nice carpentry tools, however, would be a luxury for me, but not for a carpenter. Smoking and drinking may be luxuries for anyone in any industry, but I don’t support restricting the purchase of it. Once the money is yours, its yours. If you show up for work drunk, however, or you smoke on the job and it affects your productivity, then you are out of the program.

    7) Those with large savings assets, something over a few thousand, should not qualify for the program.

    Phase Two:
    1) Privatize the unemployment insurance game. Make it an option for individuals or businesses to purchase, but get the government out of it entirely. Even if it is not privatized, it should be an optional benefit provided by employers or a privately funded thing that people can purchase if they do not trust their own ability to save. If someone opts out of the program, they do not qualify for any benefit. Its just like any other insurance at that point.

    2) Remove the government from the payout and work side of the program, but they can still be a part of it in the following ways:
    A) They can contract work to the private firms for the “workfare” parts of the private programs, using labor from employment seekers to cover labor needs of various government programs that might still exist once we are at a phase two point.
    B) The removal of government taxes and fees and other potential barriers to employment or job searching.
    C) The legal support for escape from contractual obligations (other than debts) to luxury items.

    Phase Three:
    1) People learn to take care of themselves and the government is no longer in anyone way…..What, too utopian???

  46. I know I am late to the table, but I wanted to input my thoughts. I hope you are all well, I have missed you, fortunately it has been mostly due to having a lot of billable hours. Hopefully I can find a balance soon.

    Philosophically I agree with those in the “insure yourself” camp. Ultimately, taking care of yourself is up to, well, yourself. I do, however, agree with USW’s premise that you cannot just remove the current safety nets overnight without causing a lot of negative repercussions. People are not acclimated to personal responsibility and I would prefer an option that gave them the opportunity to adjust to losing the net, rather than simply yanking it out from under them. More importantly, our governmental system is designed to prevent sudden changes, anyone wielding the power to make massive and sudden changes has consolidated too much power and is in violation of our checks and balances. As such, a transition must be devised that is both compassionate to those who currently depend on the safety net and, more importantly, could actually be passed by an intelligent group of representatives (I state it that way because there is no solution to this issue that would ever be passed by our current elected officials, since they are actively seeking the opposite of what we all seek. Any “realism” I refer to in my solutions assumes that actual representative government returns, or the solution is one which I think would be permissible on a campaign platform).

    I have been unemployed a few times in the last decade. I am in the IT industry, and that industry has become more and more competitive, as well as increasingly inclined towards temporary and contract work rather than full time or long term employment. That is fine with me, I prefer working for myself anyway. During periods of unemployment I have done everything from moving pianos to just surviving on freelance work, which I am now doing full time. I do know that deviating form your industry for too long can hurt your chances getting back into your field, especially in a fast changing industry like mine. I also know that in most cases, not working for a long time is worse than working in another field. As such, I think unemployment benefits that motivate one to wait till they get a job in their field or an “equivalent job” is potentially damaging to someone’s career. Still, I get the motivation not to just take another job that is outside of their career path. Its all about what you can afford to do. I have never drawn unemployment, even when I could have, but I have no family or dependents, and I have a good circle of friends and family that I could crash with when I had to on a couple of occasions. Overall tho, while I cannot fault those who have used unemployment to ease the impact of a job loss and effectively transition to a new job, I personally would not do that because my personal philosophy will not allow it. I think Mrs. Weapon is one of many who have used the safety net as it was intended: softened the blow of the job loss and got back off as soon as possible. Still, I would prefer a world where no such safety net existed, since it is so easy to abuse such a system, and so many people get sucked into the false sense of security and fail to put out the effort they are capable of, thus costing the employed people of the country.

    I tend to agree closest with Matthius’s proposal, with the exception of the budgetary controls and a few other details. My proposal would be thus:

    Stage One:
    1) Put a single,unchanging limit on the time for benefits, with a strict extension process, the extension would also have a fixed limit.

    2) Require some hours of work for monies received. Full time work may be unrealistic, as job hunting can take a lot of time. Certainly flexibility to permit time for appointments for interviews, job fairs, etc. Work would include a range of things and would be as close to the person’s skill set as possible, depending on what work needs to be done.

    3) Benefits should be less than the person would make if they found work. If short term or part time work is found that brings in less income than the government program, a part time version of the government program can still be used so that there is incentive to accept the part time work, partially removing the load from the government program.

    4) To help with budgeting, persons would have a way to put on hold or get out of contractual obligations to luxuries. Cable bills, Gym memberships, cell phones, and other non-essentials should be able to be gotten out of without penalties in the event of a job loss. This is similar to bankruptcy protection, but would happen before someone is at that point financially. This does not apply to all debts per se. Many companies will work with you voluntarily on in the event of unemployment and other emergency financial situations. Much of people’s dependency on safety nets like unemployment is based on their bills. The ability to remove some of the bills is a key aspect. Certainly this program would not be immediate, but it may be a part of the appeals process at the end of the initial benefit period.

    5) One of the first things that should be suspended are government fees and taxes. I recently got into a severe bind due to a combination of property taxes and vehicle registration fees. I was unable to even look for work without driving illegally, and I was unable to get my vehicle licenses because of property taxes, etc. The county and state were not even willing to work out a payment plan that would allow me to drive legally in the mean time and make payments on the total. This made job hunting nearly impossible. In the end, I just have to add to my risks and drive illegally, and by the time I finally made enough to pay things off, I had incurred an additional $1,200 in fees and traffic tickets that also have to be paid off. Ridiculous. Obstacles to employment CREATED by the government should be the first things to go.

    6) Restrictions on personal usage of unemployment payments, especially since the person is working for them, at least partially, I do not agree with. In my industry, a cell phone is not a luxury, I do a lot of work by phone. Internet is even less of a luxury, it is essential to finding, training for, and performing IT related jobs. Purchasing nice carpentry tools, however, would be a luxury for me, but not for a carpenter. Smoking and drinking may be luxuries for anyone in any industry, but I don’t support restricting the purchase of it. Once the money is yours, its yours. If you show up for work drunk, however, or you smoke on the job and it affects your productivity, then you are out of the program.

    7) Those with large savings assets, something over a few thousand, should not qualify for the program.

    Phase Two:
    1) Privatize the unemployment insurance game. Make it an option for individuals or businesses to purchase, but get the government out of it entirely. Even if it is not privatized, it should be an optional benefit provided by employers or a privately funded thing that people can purchase if they do not trust their own ability to save. If someone opts out of the program, they do not qualify for any benefit. Its just like any other insurance at that point.

    2) Remove the government from the payout and work side of the program, but they can still be a part of it in the following ways:
    A) They can contract work to the private firms for the “workfare” parts of the private programs, using labor from employment seekers to cover labor needs of various government programs that might still exist once we are at a phase two point.
    B) The removal of government taxes and fees and other potential barriers to employment or job searching.
    C) The legal support for escape from contractual obligations (other than debts) to luxury items.

    Phase Three:
    1) People learn to take care of themselves and the government is no longer in anyone way…..What, too utopian???

  47. Hoo boy four months behind now.

    Privatizing has already been covered – won’t work in the traditional “insurance” sense. An HSA type model may work better – but in the end the individual would have to be responsible for building their own safety net, or otherwise having to rely on the charity of others.

    Short-term patch – instead of paying weekly benefits, give everyone who qualifies an up-front lump sum, no strings attached. Make the $X amount dependent on whatever factors you like (time in workforce, salary, savings, unemployment rate, whatever). Solves two problems – people won’t be putting off finding a job in hopes of maximizing the benefits, as they always get the same amount regardless (and in fact would be motivated to find a job more quickly as they get to keep the difference) and people can use the lump sum for large expenses like moving to another state to find a job. Irresponsible people are still free to be irresponsible and blow their money on drugs and lottery tickets (like you’re going to really stop them anyway). Administration costs plummet. Hurrah.

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