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

…it still is true that the young people of today in this country look to the people who have succeeded in spite of every handicap such as that, as their inspiration for doing things. I think we do not want to kill off that spirit of individualism. I use the term ‘individualism’; I know it is sneered at a lot, but I know if is still a respectable term and I think we ought to cultivate it instead of sneering at it.

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John C. Gall, Associate Counsel National Association of Manufacturers, Testimony, House Committee on Ways and Means.
03/21/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

…to impose this burden at this time, when industry is just struggling to get on its feet, is going to still further retard the very recovery which is necessary to create these reserves. That is the basis of our opposition to these provisions.

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P. H. Gadsden, President Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia, Testimony, House Committee on Ways and Means.
03/21/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

The proposed pay-roll tax is not only a sales tax, but, in addition, is a production tax, a processing tax, and a distribution tax. It has all the vices and none of the virtues of a sales tax. It is selective as to the classes of business against which it is to be assessed, and hence, is discriminatory. It is cumulative; it applies over and over again on every operation from the production of raw materials to and including the final sale of a product to the ultimate consumer…The pay-roll tax is a hidden tax and each successive purchaser of a commodity pays the tax if it can be passed on under the circumstances of the particular transaction.

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John C. Gall, Associate Counsel National Association of Manufacturers, Testimony, House Committee on Ways and Means.
03/21/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

…we cannot consider this bill in a vacuum. Industry today is facing a number of bills here on the Hill, all of which are of the same sort, and we have a right to look at them as a whole; because none of them is going to be destructive of industry in itself, but, taken as a whole, they are going to impose a very serious burden on the industries of the United States, which are now trying to come out of the depression.

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John C. Gall, Associate Counsel National Association of Manufacturers, 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.