Making the jobless pay is wrong

Jun. 28, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

It’s a bad decision that will do nothing but hurt the unemployed of Rutherford County.

That is the immediate thought we have regarding the change in unemployment insurance set to go in effect Monday.

Now that we have real numbers, it almost makes it worse.

Of the 4,011 unemployed residents of the county, over 500 will have their unemployment insurance payments stop as of Sunday.

That is thanks to a new law passed by the General Assembly in February aimed at repaying a $2.6 billion debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance payments.

The fact of the matter is that these 515 individuals did nothing wrong but lose their jobs. Now, because the state feels the need to pay debt back sooner they are forced to foot the bill.

All told, figures from the Division of Employment Security indicate that 70,000 North Carolinians will lose their benefits after Sunday and close to 100,000 by the end of the year.

Additionally, other bad provisions of the bill include the amount of weeks unemployed can draw insurance payments and a reduction in the maximum weekly benefit payment that can be drawn.

All of this so the state can pay back the federal government a little earlier than before.

This can be viewed as a veiled attempt at legislative leadership to get people off the unemployment rolls and show an improvement in unemployment numbers. If you don’t draw benefits, you don’t get counted against the state or local jobless rate.

Whatever the case is, the jobless in Rutherford County will be left footing the bill.

And, these are traditionally not people that are just milking the system. They are good, hard-working people in the county that simply lost their job and want to find work.

Now the state, which is supposed to protect its citizens, is doing nothing by telling these people that they are on their own.

We are all for the state paying its debts.

But, this aggressive provision cuts unemployment taxes for businesses and shifts the burden of that debt to the unemployed.

The people that struggle day in and day out to put food on the table and provide for their families are now tasked with forfeiting their unemployment assistance so the state can pay its bills early.

This is a bad idea with bad repercussions and it is shameful that the jobless in Rutherford County are left holding the bag.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.