The federal government partners with the states in providing unemployment benefits, a system that has been strained since the recession began in 2007, especially since it was not adequately buttressed by the heady days of the 1990s or the mid 2000s. These benefits are highly stimulative, in that they tend to be spent immediately, injecting money into the economy. But the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has a report out on Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Michigan Rep. Dave Camp’s bill to essentially end the federal government’s responsibility to provide these benefits through 2011 to the long-term jobless:
Unfortunately, the Camp-Hatch legislation (the Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services Act of 2011, HR 1745) follows a misguided course…As noted, it would renege on the federal government’s commitment to provide UI benefits for the long-term unemployed through 2011 and would instead transfer $31 billion — the amount the federal government is currently estimated to spend on these benefits through the rest of the year — to the states, which would be free to use the funds for a range of purposes. States could elect to use the funds to continue providing benefits for the long-term unemployed, but they would be under no requirement to do so.
Rather than passing actual stimulus legislation, providing Social Security recipients with extra help, or boosting unemployment benefits, the Congressional GOP seems only able to think of ways to shift social safety net spending to states, where right-wing governors would likely do just about anything possible before appropriating the funds for the unemployed. [CBPP]