Friday, March 2, 2012

Obama, Democrats hail deal to slash unemployment benefits

In the midst of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, with long-term unemployment at record highs, the Obama administration has forged a bipartisan agreement with the Republicans that will sharply reduce the duration of jobless benefits.

The deal reached Tuesday by members of a House-Senate committee would extend through December a payroll tax cut and continue emergency unemployment benefits. It includes provisions that will cut off the financial lifeline for hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers and their families.

Presented by the Obama administration and the media as a boon to hard-pressed working Americans, the measure is in reality a cruel and punitive assault on the working class—in the first instance, those most severely impacted by nearly four years of mass unemployment.

It is expected that the agreement will be finalized, passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Obama by the end of the week. According to press reports, over the course of 2012 it will reduce the maximum duration of extended jobless benefits from the current 99 weeks to 73 weeks in those states with the highest unemployment levels. The 73-week maximum will apply only to states where the official jobless rate is above 9 percent. Read more.....

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