Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance was a critical part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, a lifesaver during a period defined by economic volatility, depressed wages, and record unemployment.  Beginning in 1935 with the Social Security Act, short-term relief was provided for the unemployed to provide for their basic subsistence and maintain their purchasing power. Unemployment insurance generally lasts up to 26 weeks, although in the wake of the Great Recession the Obama Administation extended benefits to 99 weeks.

Cry Wolf Quotes

Employers pay men, not machines. Can there be any question but that this and similar legislation will drive industry faster and faster toward mechanization? Can there be any question but that its normal tendency will be to depress wages, since the higher the total pay roll, the greater the taxes? Can there be any question but that it will retard reemployment of men and intensify the development of machinery and its substitution for men?

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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

This bill will cause further migration from the farm areas to the industrial areas and will invite the transfer of workers from the class of those not gainfully employed in order to share in the unemployment benefits…Unemployment insurance, which in many instances places a premium on indolence, would unquestionably defeat this proposed plan of the administration to place workers in the areas of lower living costs and keep them gainfully employed.

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Walter D. Allen, President of the National Editorial Association, Testimony, House Committee on Ways and Means.
03/21/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance, which in many instances places a premium on indolence, would unquestionably defeat this proposed plan of the Administration to place workers in the areas of lower living costs and keep them gainfully employed.

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George C. Lucas of the Publishers Association in Associated Press, Washington Post.
03/31/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): Unemployment Insurance

It would result in further and unnecessary intrusion of the Government into the domain of private enterprise, thus aggravating the hardships which have already been caused industry by extensive government regulations, restrictions, and competition.

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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

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.