There’s never a good time of year to be without unemployment benefits, but winter is one of the worst because of the cold weather and holiday season. Unemployment checks don’t replace a living wage, but they still go toward paying for food, utilities, clothes and housing. Unfortunately, 2 million Americans are at risk of losing their benefits at the end of the month.
Some conservatives object to extending benefits because of a misguided notion that the benefits discourage people from finding gainful employment, or because it will add to the deficit and further depress the economy. You know what else is bad for the economy? Millions of people, including children, falling into poverty because they can’t pay their bills. Do they think withholding money from the economy is magically going to stimulate anything?
I know people whose only fault in being laid off was working in an industry vulnerable to the recession–which is most industries. They depend on unemployment benefits to get by, and there’s not a one of them who wouldn’t rather be back working at their old job or a similar one. The problem is, those jobs don’t exist anymore. According to UnemployedWorkers.org, there is still only one job opening for every five jobless workers.
Don’t let your friends, family and neighbors be out in the cold this holiday. There’s still time to call your representatives in Congress to let them know how you feel. Dial toll-free 1-866-606-1189 or 1-877-662-2889. I was on hold for a long time when I called this afternoon. I hope that means lots of voters are making their voices heard.