Getting the 99 weeks reauthorized was daunting throughout all of 2010, with several gaps in coverage while the Democratic-led Congress tried to hammer out agreements with the Republicans. Finally, however, a bill was passed guaranteeing 99 weeks of coverage through the calendar year of 2011.
And now things have switched gears and we are going backwards.
The TeaParty legacy
The Republicans who were elected (for some unknown reason) by middle class people (while many who would have voted Democratic stayed home) are bound and determined to roll back the number of weeks "those lazy unemployed people keep eating at the public trough". Unfortunately, many Republicans and many of their middle class supporters have somehow bought the story that there are jobs out there, and anyone can get a job if he or she really wants one and is willing to work for minimum wage. (Hey, Unemployed, take any job!)
Many believe that unemployment compensation keeps people from getting jobs, despite overwhelming evidence that many people who run out of unemployment compensation still can't find jobs and that people entering or re-entering the labor force, people who aren't collecting benefits, can't find jobs either!
But along come states like Michigan and Florida, and they are passing laws reducing the number of states' weeks of unemployment. They are crying "broke!" which indeed many are after years of giving tax write-offs to companies who relocate to their states.
Florida's Bill is very punitive.
Florida's House voted two weeks ago. We can complain all we want about the Democrats, but most of these attempts to cut unemployment benefits or avoid extending benefits fall along party lines: Republicans support these kinds of measures, Democrats oppose them.
Republican legislators argued that cuts are necessary to protect Florida's business climate from rising unemployment insurance costs. Doug Holder, a Republican representative from Sarasota said:
"HB 7005 is the first step of many to create an infrastructure that encourages other companies to move to Florida," said Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, who sponsored the bill. "It sends a resounding message to the business that Florida is the place to be and is quickly becoming the most business-friendly state in the country."The really disturbing thing is that Republicans, not just in Florida but in most places, actually believe this, and many have been really effective in convincing middle class people (Tea Party people) that they are right.
The Florida Democrats have made these intelligent comments: