“Both the public and history support extending Unemployment Insurance,” says McCown in an article for the Texas Lone Star Forum. “A recent national survey shows 67 percent of the public are in favor of continuing Unemployment Insurance until the unemployment rate drops.
Congress has never allowed federally funded extensions to lapse when unemployment was over 7.2 percent. With the national unemployment rate well above nine percent for 18 consecutive months, it’s far too soon for Congress to cut off Unemployment Insurance. With the unemployment rate in Texas above eight percent for 14 consecutive months, Texas needs help as much as any state. Texas has almost 125,000 fewer available jobs than when the recession began.”
“On top of everything else, if Congress cuts off federal Unemployment Insurance before it creates a sufficient number of jobs, Texas will face increased enrollment in our public assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Medicaid,” McCown explains.
“Unemployment Insurance plays an important role in helping the economy maintain and create jobs,” he states. “For every dollar spent on benefits, approximately $2 is generated in spending. This spending supports Texas businesses, averting additional job losses and creating more jobs.”
“Nevertheless, some argue that Congress should not continue providing the additional weeks of Unemployment Insurance without spending cuts in some other part of the budget,” he continues. “But extending Unemployment Insurance would have virtually no effect on our long-term national debt because it’s temporary, and requiring offsetting spending cuts would actually be counterproductive because it would take money out of the economy.”
“Congress should provide an extension for a full year,” McCown concludes. “Anything less is too little. And Congress should have acted yesterday — before the Nov. 30 expiration of current benefits. Providing retroactive benefits in December is too late. Children can’t be fed retroactively. Congress needs to act to protect hardworking American families.”