Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Legislature asks, "Who haven't we screwed lately?"

by Kyle Michaelis
Answer: The Unemployed.

In the spirit of Jesus, going squarely after the most desperate among us (and their families), LB739 will freeze unemployment checks while extending the period a worker who quits must wait before receiving unemployment from approximately seven or 10 weeks to a full thirteen.

On the other hand, the AP tells us:
Since 1983 employers have only paid taxes on the first $7,000 a worker earns. The bill (LB739) would increase that to $8,000 next year and $9,000 starting in 2007.

The current $7,000 threshold is the lowest allowed under federal law.

Victory? A bill that only partially sells working people down the river and at least has some expectation of employers. No, that doesn't make it right.

All this is intended to address the solvency of the unemployment insurance fund. Freezing benefits for a year or two...that may be necessary, but cutting people off from the only lifeline available for an extra month reeks of discrimination against anyone trying to make the difficult transition to more gainful employment - which many can attest to being a full-time job in itself.

Unemployment compensation should either be there for the people who need it, especially those who need it only temporarily while they try to better themselves, or not at all. Sadly, I think we all know which of these sentiments truly lies at the heart of a bill such as this. Need a hint?


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