Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance (UI) is an essential part of the American social safety net. UI gives laid-off workers time to find or retrain for a new job while ensuring their purchasing power (this is especially important during economic downturns).  The federal government first established nation wide coverage with the Social Security Act of 1935. Under this system states play a crucial role, jointly financing and administering the program with the federal government. Generally, benefits last a total of 26 weeks. During recessions extensions are typically issued, although conservatives often attempt to block the legislation.

Commentary

Unemployment

Screwing the Jobless: Are Republicans Heartless or Just Playing Hardball Politics?

July 20, 2010

Cry Wolf Quotes

The imposition on industry at this time of the tax burden contemplated by this measure would render business recovery absolutely hopeless.

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James L. Donnelly, executive vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association in Associated Press, Washington Post.
03/31/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

In all probability, however, compulsory unemployment insurance cannot be had without an amendment to the Constitution, probably both state and federal, as such a measure might be attacked on the grounds that it is confiscation of property without due process of law.

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Wall Street Journal editorial against unemployment insurance.
01/13/1933 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

The imposition on industry at this time of the tax burden contemplated by this measure would render business recovery absolutely hopeless. Manufacturing industry is now engaged in a desperate struggle in an effort to continue operations and provide jobs. Most industries have been operating at a loss for several years. Industry is not prepared at this time to accept the added burden as contemplated by this bill.

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James L. Donnelly on Behalf of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, Testimony, House Committee on Ways and Means.
03/21/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

It would undermine the fabric of our economic and social life by destroying initiative, discouraging thrift, and stifling individual responsibility.

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James L. Donnelly on Behalf of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, Testimony, House Committee on Ways and Means.
03/21/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

Related Laws and Rules

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Unemployment Policy Brief: Shermer

By Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, PhD, February 2010

Unemployment insurance benefits – including  their length, eligibility, and expense – are again in the spotlight.  The arguments are hardly new.

Resources

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is a progressive think tank that concentrates on social and economic policy, both domestic and international.

The National Employment Law Project is an organization that promotes economically just public policy in the face of the prevailing trends of the law several decades.