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Jobless benefits: Delayed

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Jobless benefits will likely be delayed again, according to an NPR report on Wednesday. Jobless benefits were halted for 1.3 million unemployed Americans at the end of last month and are predicted not to resume for some time.

The prediction is made because there was little, if any, progress in the United States Senate on Tuesday regarding the extension of jobless benefits for the nation’s unemployed which ran dry on Dec. 28, 2013. The unemployed workers in the nation went through all of their state’s unemployment benefits which normally last for a half-a-year, 26 weeks.

The concern in Congress over the issue, since it arose, is two-fold. First and foremost, there is grave concern over how extended benefits, should they be given, be paid for by the federal government. Secondly, there is the question as to how long those benefits would be extended.

The Democrats are pushing for an 11-month plan that would pay for extending the benefits and planning to pay for it mostly by extending cuts to Medicare providers in ten years. The Republicans, much more cost-conservatively, assert that the government wouldn’t be actually cutting costs if they spend money now and the cost cuts don’t come for another decade.

President Barack Obama is expected to urge Congress to extend unemployment benefits again, as he has in the past – with no report as to how he expects Americans and Congress to pay for it.

In a related topic, there is also concern over the reportedly-misleading unemployment rate reported last Friday. While the drop of three-tenths of a percent to 6.7 percent looks good in headlines, the fact is that the rate dropped because Americans, in droves, have quit looking for work - and, unfortunately, the unemployed Americans not even looking for work are not tallied into the data. Additionally, many of the so-called employed are extremely part-time or under-employed. While the data looks better, the unemployment situation in the nation is likely not improving.

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