The CBC editorial board today called on Senators Tillis and Burr to support more federal relief for North Carolinians out of work, echoing calls from economists that extending benefits “would be good for those workers, but also for the economic recovery.”
Tillis and Burr, the editorial board writes, should take that advice “to heart and take to the Senate’s leadership” and must “speak up and support extension of the $600 weekly benefit.”
Unemployment claims in North Carolina “are not slowing down” even as federal benefits dry up at the end of the month. According to the editorial, “the average weekly unemployment benefit being paid to the 777,000 qualified claimants will go from $877 to $277” if federal benefits end.
North Carolina stands to lose out more than other states if the federal benefits expire. At the end of this month, jobless workers in North Carolina “will see even greater losses” than those in other states, according to a report in Politico, putting a “financial squeeze” on families and acting as “a drag on the recovery.”
Senator Tillis, though, has already opposed extending benefits, arguing that additional relief “may make the problem worse.” It’s a double-whammy from Tillis — he was an “architect of one of the stingiest state unemployment programs in the country” and now is threatening ending federal relief too.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
CBC: Editorial: Help North Carolina get back to work
By the Editorial Board
July 9, 2020
- At the end of July an average weekly injection of about $200 million will disappear from North Carolina’s economy.
- In North Carolina, which is branded as the “worst state to be unemployed (in),” this money has been especially critical. After making it through the antiquated and aggravating application process, those who do qualify receive the lowest benefits for the shortest time in the nation. Without the boost from the federal CARES Act, the maximum number of weeks the state’s unemployed can collect benefits is 12 while most other states offer 26 weeks. And payments are less – over the last decade the portion of a worker’s salary replaced dropped from 53% to 38%.
- Still, come the end of July the average weekly unemployment benefit being paid to the 777,000 qualified claimants will go from $877 to $277.
- In Congress, the House-passed “Heroes Act” extends the $600 weekly federal benefit through January 2021. But there are those in Washington who reject, out of hand, continuing the payment. It is, they contend, a disincentive for people to go back to work. Senate leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, says the extension will not be a part of the Senate’s version of the legislation.
- Economists say that’s short-sighted. “There will be a huge drop in income when those benefits expire at the end of this month that will weigh on consumer spending and slow the recovery,” Gus Faucher, senior economist with PNC Financial Services Corp, recently told the Winston-Salem Journal. “So, I think some sort of extension of the expanded unemployment insurance benefits beyond July 31 would be good for those workers, but also for the economic recovery.”
- That is advice that North Carolina’s two senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis should both take to heart and take to the Senate’s leadership. They need to speak up and support extension of the $600 weekly benefit.
- It is no point of pride to be worst-in-the-nation for unemployment benefits. It doesn’t take much more than simply the will to do the right thing to fix it.