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October 8th, 2009
05:55 PM ET

Limiting how long people can collect unemployment?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Senate Democrats now say they've reached a deal to extend unemployment benefits to almost two million Americans who could stop getting checks by the end of this year.

The plan would give an extra 14 weeks of benefits to unemployed people in all 50 states. Those in states with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent would get another six weeks on top of that.

Senate Democrats may bring the measure to a floor vote as soon as tonight. The House passed its own bill last month that would extend benefits for people only in states with unemployment above 8.5 percent.

The bills would be paid for by extending a tax on employers for another two years... so that all these extra benefit payments don't wind up adding to the deficit. Instead the money will come from the people we are counting on to create the new jobs, employers. Makes no sense.

And time is of the essence here - more than 400,000 Americans ran out of their unemployment benefits in September.

Benefits vary from state to state… starting at 26 weeks and going up to 79 weeks in those hit hardest by the recession. The average payment is about $300 a week.

The national employment rate hit 9.8 percent last month. That's a 26 year high. And it's expected to go higher into next year - even as the economy starts to recover. Estimates are there are now six workers for every available job opening.

Here’s my question to you: Should there be a limit on how long people can collect unemployment benefits?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Robert from Bowie, Texas writes:
We helped the car dealers, the banks, and many other countries, I think we can help the people that have worked and paid taxes for years, and now can not find a job. I think we should help them until they find a job. There are good, hard-working people in my town. They can not help their situation.

C. from San Angelo, Texas writes:
There should definitely be a cap on how long somebody can be on unemployment. I personally know 3 people on unemployment. They are milking it as long as possible. They have no reason not to. It's free money! If you don't have many bills, what is your motivation to work when you can just wait 6 months, and get paid while waiting?!

Jennifer from Cincinnati writes:
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Watching the news reports out of Detroit today, where thousands lined up for energy bill assistance, really drives the point home. I can't think of a better investment than extending unemployment benefits for struggling Americans right now; keeping money in their pockets works as a short-term, immediate economic stimulus, as well.

Monique writes:
Jack, Hell yes! I have had it with hearing how many people are collecting unemployment benefits, it is disgusting. There should be a three month limit only; if you are out of work for longer than that, it’s your choice. There are jobs out there but people think that they're too good for them and that is why they are unemployed. People complain to high heaven that they "can't" find work but their kids still have cell phones and cable TV.

R.E. writes:
Jack, What do you say we extend unemployment payments until all the jobs that have been sent overseas are brought back to the U.S.? And, the money that will pay all of the out-of-work American workers will be charged to the same companies that outsourced those jobs?

Barb writes:
My husband here in Silicon Valley, Ca. would greatly benefit from this! He is about to lose benefits this month. I am exhausted being the only breadwinner and hopes of a job are grim for him.


Filed under: Unemployment
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. John from Long Island

    No Jack- If The Congress sees fit to give Wall Street 700 Million to tide them over while they go through a rough patch, then giving someone whose job has been outsourced to India a couple of extra weeks to find something else, at a time when unemployment nationally is 10% the moral and just thing to do is help them.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  2. Rob of Brooklyn

    Yes the whole GOP

    October 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  3. Mark... Voorhees, New Jersey

    Sure, Jack. Republican and Bluedog Democrat Senators and Congress people. Their salaries amount to unemployment benefits, because they do as much representation of their constituents and legislating as say, health insurance companies do for actual health care, that is NOTHING. Health insurance companies should be nationalized, and their running dog lackey legislators should be voted out. See? I learned something from politicians. I answered the question I wanted to, regardless of the question asked.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Jerry B. Oklahoma City, OK

    Jack every day I see signs saying, "Help Wanted". The local gas station/convinent stores are hiring at $11.43/hr, fast food joints (McDonalds, Burger King, etc) are hiring. Most trucking companies (CR England, US Xpress, TMC, Schneider. etc) are hiring and will assist with paying for training. I can go online and find plenty of EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) jobs.

    People that tell me they can't find a job, aren't looking. Their excuse, "Oh it doesn't pay enough." Well get two darn jobs and live within your means then. I want a job paying $200/hr but I'm not going to get it. I work a full time job and 2 part time jobs to pay for the things I want. I live within my means, I use the extra money for things I really want, but don't NEED. If I can find 3 jobs then so can other people.

    NO, don't extend their unemployment and while your at it we need to max out welfare. 6 month life time amount. After that, find a job, get your family to help out or starve. I don't care how many kids you have or sick family members. My tax money shouldn't go to support their lazy butts.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Willow, Iowa

    Who? the people who got a job? Other than that, people are depending on those benefits before they lose their house, their car, etc. How can someone get a job if they lost their car? Or can't afford to feed their family anymore? They qualified for the original unemployment benefits. They should receive some help.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  6. Sigarelli

    From Davenport IA.: I don't think the gov't should exclude anyone from unemployment. I think they will just end up either taking care of the person in another way or getting sued. I think the unemployment offices of each state should work to get people a job. I've NEVER seen this happen. Have you seen the movie "Dave"? That guy worked to get people working.

    I used to think harshly about those on unemployment (slackers) until I got laid off this year. We don't need an employment czar, we need to stimulate the economy so jobs are created.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  7. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    No why Jack. It was our government that outsourced millions of jobs, brought in millions of immigrants, and they did not create any jobs over the last 8 years. We gave money banks, car makers and insurers why not to the unemployed?

    October 8, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Don (NH)

    People are excluded from getting health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition that might make an unemployed person ineligable for extended benefits might be lack of education, ethnic origins or reputation for laziness. Why not!

    October 8, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  9. SCOTT ROSE --- PANAMA CITY, FL

    Jack, yes certain people should be excluded from extentions on their unemployment benefits. All bleeding heart liberal democrats and anyone who voted for Barak Hussein Obama.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  10. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: How does it sound, that you and CNN are asking the question that certian people should be excluded from an unemployment extension???

    October 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  11. Joe CE

    Until an extension is approved, all are ecluded. If extension are passed maybe Republicans should be excluded – it violates their beliefs.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  12. Melissa

    People who haven't shown any effort to find a job, yes. Everyone else, no.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  13. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Yes Jack, as soon as Congress exludes bailed-out CEOs from getting their paychecks.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  14. Lucy

    A friend explained it to me like this: if 50% in Congress are there because they want to serve this country and its people, and focus solely on the issues; and the other 50% just like the power and focus entirely on getting re-elected, the power-hungry 50% will get re-elected b/c that's what they were focusing on. This trend will happen until it's full of people running smear campaigns and bloated with campaign money; probably not the most savory characters out there. And thus, you have why this guy is being supported by other Democratic politicians.
    Lucy
    SF, CA

    October 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  15. Mike from Denver

    Absolutely! If you are one of the people that caused this global financial crisis, you should start getting a bill instead of a check.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  16. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    It would be nice if it were possible to know who isn't deserving (didn't really want a job, didn't look for a job) but it is as irrelevant as someone who spends it on alchohol or cigarettes or vacations because their spouse still has a great job. There isn't a way to police personal morality and no one should try, just because you want to punish the 2% that are abusing it. The 98% that desperately need it and shouldn't be put at risk by a system that would have to be based on the vagaries of neighborhood busy-bodies. Nor would the cost ever justifiy the savings.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  17. Jayne

    Everyone needs a roof over their head. Everyone must eat. Clothing is necessary. Having utilities turned on, especially in the winter months, isn't exactly a luxury. Unless someone can explain how people who can't find jobs can fulfill their basic needs without money, they should get benefits. STOP OUTSOURCING OUR JOBS!!!

    October 8, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  18. Kim - Blair, NE

    If, by certain people you mean those who have not been actively looking for a job, then yes they should be excluded from an extension.

    Otherwise, an extension of benefits is needed along with prayer that this economy will improve a little more quickly than is anticipated.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  19. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida

    Jack

    Folks who have depleted their unemployment benfit in the private sector should automatically be hired by the government at a wage similar to unemployment. This is a small sacrifice from the taxpayers in light of the corporate welfare handed out to AIG ,Citi ,BAC ,GM , ACORN, and Fiat. Infrastructure projects such as road bridge repair wastewater treatment or even solar energy projects could benefit from a fast moving WPA type department. (probably hurt the bar business) It's amazing that when Wall Streets too big to fail is on the table, congress can appropriate a trillion dollars at lightning speed, a ltttle longer for GM and Fiat. When it comes to employment stimulus the large corporations slowly line in the government bureaus to skim the fat off the top with phony contracts or even worse no- bid contracts and kick backs to the party before any money gets to the American workers. This system is costing us precious time to suffering people.......

    October 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Conor in Chicago

    If civil unrest is your aim then by all means, cancel unemployment benefits.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  21. Tom from Philly

    Well gee whiz jack, if we dont drop people off the rolls however will we get that number to come down............................

    October 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  22. Frank from Peterborough

    Sure Jack it's the American way. Exclude people from living whether it be no health care coverage or no financial means of surviving.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  23. Teru Kensington CA

    Illegal immigrants, of course.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  24. Robert, New Orleans

    If it didn't excluse somebody, it wouldn't be Republican, would it?

    October 8, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  25. David, Natchez MS

    When 7 million people plus those that depend on them for support have lost their homes and have nothing to eat, what do you think is going to happen? An unemployment benefit extension only adds time until government can establish guidelines for implementing martial law. Check out the states that have passed new bills or amended old ones to address this.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  26. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Yes! Where there is clear evidence and a history that certain people/individuals (emphasis added) have violated or abused the privilege of unemployment benefits.

    Steve

    October 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  27. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Yes Jack, illegal aliens. I bet they're collecting it now.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  28. JENNA

    Should certain people be excluded from getting an extension in their unemployment benefits?

    Who would those "certain" persons be Jack? Minorities? Liberals?

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    October 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  29. Jackie in Dallas

    A lot of people already ARE excluded, Jack.

    Depending on the state you live in, to receive unemployment insurance benefits, you have to have worked at an employer who paid into the plan, and you have to have worked for so many quarters to receive benefits. You also have to maintain an active work search, must accept an offer or face investigation and possible loss of benefits, and must be registered with your state's employment service.

    This is NOT welfare and I wish that pundits and readers/listeners alike would understand that!

    October 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  30. ken jefferson city mo

    Jack it depends if your a democrat yes they will extend benefits but if
    your a republican rush limbaugh will not let you.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  31. Linda from Kentucky

    Absolutely, Jack!
    My friend's ex- husband had his unemployment extended for a year. He has made NO effort to find another job, pops pain pills and drinks all day, pays no child support, and just got his 3rd DUI (with his child in the car). If we continue to fund his sorry ways, he's going to end up hurting someone. Unemployment should come with restrictions such as drug/alcohol tests and proof that the recipient is actively seeking employment or furthering their education.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  32. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    While misery may love company, this special type of misery, unemployment, is more complex. It doesn’t matter if all of your neighbors are unemployed or if none of them are. You still have to feed your family. No income means no income regardless of how many others in your state are or are not in the same boat. So the answer is no. How to pay for it is a different story and arguments can be made for an against the different options.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  33. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    I spent Sunday afternoon with my grand-daughter watching the remastered version of the Wizard of Oz. She is six years old and was thrilled. I enjoyed it, but I caught myself day-dreaming and associating the characters with current politicians. (Enough said!)

    I don't think an army of accountants could explain unemployment tax law to me. I am effectively self-employed, and have paid the taxes on myself and employees for nearly 20 years. Since I cannot 'lay-off' myself, I can never collect. In all that time, we've never laid off anyone, but we saw a rate increase last year. Go figure!

    So, I don't feel a lot of sympathy for those who have collected to the legal limit, and still want more. But, I will say this ... if they extend it to anyone, they need to extend it to everyone. And I will be paying close attention to my own Congressman's vote.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    October 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  34. John, Cleveland, Ohio

    Just the tea-baggers. They're against bail-outs anyway.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  35. Jane (Minnesota)

    NO!!!!

    If congress can't act in a manner that actually puts people back to work instead of aloowing a climate for jobs to leave this country, then the least they can do is continue to help their unemployed constituients. ;Is it really that hard for Congress to see what they need to fix???? It makes me mad!

    October 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  36. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    What right do they have to say what hard working unemployed workers should or should not get benefits? They got us into this mess and they sure are not trying hard to get us out of it. They should all remember that they are not the only ones with job security and what the voters giveth they can also taketh away.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  37. John from Alabama

    Jack: It is simple, the Democrats need to pass an extension of unemployment for all states, which should have been done yesterday. Those who vote against extension can face the angery mob back at home. The House has done the right thing, but the Senate Ego's want to delay while people lose power in their homes an freeze this winter or lose their homes.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  38. Jackie in Dallas

    A lot of people already ARE excluded, Jack. Those who work 1099, like me, currently, those who work for smaller companies that do not pay unemployment insurance, and those who work for themselves (single owner-employee business).

    Depending on the state you live in, to receive unemployment insurance benefits, you have to have worked at an employer who paid into the plan, and you have to have worked for so many quarters to receive benefits. You also have to maintain an active work search, must accept an offer or face investigation and possible loss of benefits, and must be registered with your state’s employment service.

    This is NOT welfare and I wish that pundits and readers/listeners alike would understand that! Yes, increasing the tax on the employers who pay into the plan is seemingly unfair, but many are dumping employees here to hire offshore, where they don't have to pay any unemployment benefits. I'm all for giving those companies a break that are not off-shoring, but I'm totally FOR hitting those companies that are bleeding our jobs offshore where it hurts!

    October 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  39. Jackie in Dallas

    Where are you getting the numbers of six possibles for every job opening? I can tell you that in Dallas, especially in the high-tech industries, those numbers are closer to 200 for every opening!

    October 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  40. Carla Martin-Wood, AL

    I think benefits should be extended in all 50 states. People who are unemployed in states that have lower unemployment rates get just as hungry as those who are in the states with high unemployment rates. Having said that, I think those who are jobless should provide evidence that they are actively looking for work. In the early 90s, when I lost my job, unemployment laws here in Alabama demanded that you document several job interviews per week. I think that's reasonable and eliminates some abuse of the system.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  41. Denis Duffy

    Obama and the social democrats will do anything to keep themselves in office. Why not extend benefits forever?
    I'm retired. I worked my whole life. I've been unemployed and received benefits for a SHORT period of time. Take enough people off the unemployement stipend and they sure as hell will vote for elected officials who create jobs, not give us smoke and mirror rhetoric.
    I'm happy to help my neighbor, but not because of elected idiots who are sure in their sinecure.

    Denis Duffy
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  42. Richard Green

    Jack,
    No one should be excluded if a benefits extension is called for. You pay for it by taxing something that I don't think we have ever taxed....
    tax all "shorting", derivative, and speculative financial transactions .1%. ( buy anything in Cal. and you'll pay over 8%)The gov't will take in billions [the dark markets measure in the tens of trillions], it will only have a real affect on the huge transactions by speculators that happen multiple times a day. A sin tax on Wall Street for blowing up the economy. .1% vs 8% that's about equal, right?

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal

    October 8, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  43. C.K. of Colorado

    If an extension is granted for benefits, it should apply to everyone, not just states with high unemployment rates. A family without money is in trouble, no matter if unemployment is high or not.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  44. John, Cleveland, Ohio

    Since a good Republican would rather dig ditches all day in 100 degree weather for $1 an hour than accept a hand-out, I think they should be excluded from getting unemployment. Just so we don't insult them.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  45. pat in lexington, Ky.

    No! There should be no exclusions! If you're unemployed, you're unemployed – no matter where you live! Jeez Louise! Who comes up with these crazy notions to pick and choose people? Who are they to judge who gets money and who doesn't??

    October 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  46. Pugas-AZ

    Let's exclude those people that aren't actually looking for work. We could pay for any added benefits with the "surplus" that the budget office has forecasted in latest iteration of the healthcare bill!!!!!

    October 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  47. Tom - Newark, DE

    The FACT is that people are being laid off of jobs that are GONE FOREVER. The jobs are not coming back. They are either going overseas, down south of the border, or the remaining workers are picking up more work for less pay.

    Temporary extensions of unemployment benefits is a losing proposition as people are going to be hitting the wall sooner or later. You can't extend them forever.

    However, there should be NO EXCLUSIONS. If someone is out of work and running out of benefits, the last thing he / she cares about is what his state's overall unemployment rate is compared to his neighboring state.

    He / she still can't find a job because there are NONE !!

    October 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  48. Lori - PA

    No. What I would like to know is why employers should foot the bill if the extension is passed? Shouldn't the Senate and congress be working with employers so that they can budget for new employees instead of having to budget for more taxes?

    October 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  49. Mark

    How about kicking out all the "MIGRANTS" who aren't supposed to be here anyway, and opening up some low level jobs. If Americans don't want to pick lettuce or peaches then that's just too damn bad. They can learn to do some hard manual labor for a change. Suck it up and go to work. Work or starve....that's the way it should be.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  50. Steve Canada

    There is a need to extend to some due to very tough circumstances, that is a known fact. There are also chronic abusers, who should not be extended. I think the big issue is who is going to decide it. Your senate does nothing to show that this is something they are capable of deciding

    October 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  51. Paul from Canada

    While I am not expert in labor policies, in Canada there are different unemployment benefit standards for each province. It respects the varying difficulties in finding work in different areas and helps deter mass migration to more prosperous regions. I only wonder if it promotes loafing amongst our less than ambitious citizens. Something to consider.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  52. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    No one should be excluded, period.

    And, the money for unemployment should come from those financial institutions that created this mess, remember the unbridled greed of the mortgage fiasco. The money should also come from auto execs who knew years ago that they were just to large and let false pride and arrogance send their companies crumbling. And the money should come from the pockets of Bush and Cheney and their stooges who knowingly got us into a misguided war in Iraq because of their thirst for vengeance and power.

    Wouldn't this fit the current definition of accountability?

    October 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  53. Mike Armstrong TX.

    You damed right Jack the insurance companys the banks and the human rights activist.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  54. Dawn in Vermont

    Jack,

    If unemployment benefits are extended, it should apply to all the states. The unemployed in North Dakota are just as unemployed as the unemployed in Michigan.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  55. Talitha

    Absolutely not. I don't see the House of Reps. cutting down on their pay when then intend to work only 2 1/2 days a week. If this administration doesn't start creating jobs, they should continue to extend the unemployment benefits for everyone. People are just trying to survive. We have to "eat".

    Talitha
    Walnut, CA.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  56. Raoul New Orleans, La

    Just because one is an employer doesn't obligate them to hire anyone. Extending unemployment benefits will go to more American goods than untaxed business profit will go to hiring American workers.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  57. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    That's silly, Jack. Being rewarded for losing your job is only for the rich in this country. The rest of the population is told to just suck it up.
    There are only so many golden parachutes to go around, you know.

    October 8, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  58. Julia, Newton NJ

    I don't think so, as long as the individual is actively seeking employment. One of my best friend's mother has lost her job, and it would be wrong of someone to tell her, "You haven't found a job in three months because there is no employment for you, but we're taking away your only source of income anyway."

    On the other hand, if the individual is sitting on the couch all day eating ice cream and watching movies... Why give them unemployment at all? There should be regulations put in place as to who gathers unemployment in the first place, not on the people who already have it and who have families to feed and care for.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  59. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    Being unemployed, my answer is, "NO!"

    October 8, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  60. Joseph

    Yes. The unemployment benefits should continue as long as senior corporation officers get multi-million compensation packages, and then retire with tens, or hundreds, of millions of dollars. Also, it's time for Congress to stop increasing its own pay packages as long as there are millions of unemployed people, and those receiving Social Security payments get no increase. Joe in Florida

    October 8, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  61. Chris

    Should there be a limit on unemployment benefits? Isn't there already a limit on them, which is why the Congress has to continue to step in to extend them?

    October 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  62. Albert

    There should be no limit to those actively looking for work.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  63. kenya ATL, GA

    No. If the gov't limits the amount of months they'll collect FUTA/SUTA tax then I'll change my mind. Some of us pays these taxes our entire lives and never collect on it.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  64. Michael

    Yes! It's not the State's duty to provide citizens with jobs. It's the obligation of citizens.

    Michael, Stettin

    October 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  65. Mark

    I don't think so at all. Those on unemployment help the economy and since many have worked for an extended number of years, paying taxes, and whatnot, to ignore those workers while those in Congress have consistently sent American jobs overseas, it's time that the government protect its own citizens who can't find employment because of the mismanagement by Wall Street and the bank execs who caused this economic mess last year on account of the housing mess.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  66. CK Honolulu

    Unemployment Insurance pays way less than most jobs. It is in the interest of the unemployed to seek employment. Limiting benefits does not offer a disincentive by encouraging people to look for jobs that do not exist in the worst economy in decades.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  67. Bob In Florida

    I dunno Jack. Tell ya what, you get laid off for longer than a year and a half, and then you TELL me how your opinion has changed.

    It is EASY to say there should be a limit WHEN YOU ARE EMPLOYED, it is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT story when you cannot find a job.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  68. Kerry

    No, there should not be a limit on how long individuals can collect unemployments benefits, as long as a true "effort" has been made to secure employment. I've been unemployed now since Jan, 2009, and have made every effort to find emploment that was similiar in nature (salary, benefits, etc.,) to what I had. Impossible in the professional fields that I was trained for – which has also been the hardest hit by the economy. Where is my "bail-out" plan?

    San Diego CA

    October 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  69. Bill Lang

    Until unemployment gets down to the normal 4%, there should be no limit on unemployment. It is consumer demand that causes business to react by creating jobs. Jobs just don't magically appear when there’s no demand for products/services like the idiot supply siders believe. Keep up the good work.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  70. Ann Perry Garland Tx

    Yes Jack. If you are drawing S S and a pension check you don't need unemployment check.I no some that do and I call it double dipping.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  71. Jasmine in Germany

    Yes, there should be a time limit on collecting unemployment benefits (with possible exceptions). Without a limit, the system will be abused by many, and unemployment will be a lifestyle of choice for some. That's human nature, Jack. I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that statistics show that many unemployed miraculously become employed about the same time their benefits run out. People make more money being unemployed, working under the table, and not paying taxes than they do having an honest job.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  72. Jim Schroeder

    A person's first inclination is to say yes, but if we take a second to think, we might not be so quick with our answer. There is nothing more dangerous than a person with nothing to lose. The day may come when our government officials see that happen.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  73. Korey St. Louis

    Of course benefits should be limited. As a matter of fact, the length of time should probably be shortened, not lengthened. If you want to get people out looking for a job and back to work which would make it happen faster? Cutting off the funds or continuing to send them a check to stay home?

    October 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  74. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack this is all a mater of perception. If a conservative is down-and-out, he or she thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
    Extending unemployment benifits even longer is not the answer other tax payers have to pay for that. Creating jobs and putting people to work is. Obama needs to start keeping the promises he got elected on.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  75. Jerald from Montana

    Jack,
    A fried of mine in Hawaii says his unemployment assesment just went up from $91 per employee per month to $1,100. That's because unemployment compensation now lasts a year in Hawaii. Employers have to refill the kitty. He finds that he has to lay off unessential employees and not hire more.
    Extending enemployment benefits is counter productive.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  76. Nick Longmont, CO

    Jack,

    Absolutely not. Remember, people who are out of work are there because of the action of Congress, previous Presidents and Corporate America. Millions of jobs have been sent over seas, millions more are occupied by foreign guest workers. The deck is stacked against the older worker with years of experience (people like me with 30 years in IT).

    Unemployment compensation has made a difference between me surviving or ending up on teh street. I have been looking for work fro 22 months and the clock is still ticking. I do not site here all day doing nothing; I spend my days looking for work. Trying to contact employers and never hear back. Contacting recruiters and never ehar back. Go on interviews, only to find that 10 other people interviewed fro the job. I deal with employers who are so pucky that they are looking for a tempest in a teapot. I deal with results like "you were not teh proper fit". It is nasty out there Jack; maybe you and your co-workers at CNN should try it sometime.

    By the way, what you forget to mention; people who receive unemployment pay income taxes on what they receive; it is certainly not a free ride. Finally, I hope and pray everyday for a job.

    Nick

    October 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  77. Matt, Washington DC

    OK Conservatives... Should their be a limit on Socialism, I mean Unemployment Benefits?

    Of course there should be a limit. What's the point in prolonging the inevitable. What happens in four months when people still haven't found jobs? Should we extend it again? Then what?

    Most of the jobs that were lost are not coming back, until the dollar is sound, employers (especially small businesses) can curb their health insurance costs and America starts making things again.

    I hate to brake it to you, but Wall Street ate the whole cake that we all chipped in on. And, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Oh, you didn't get a slice? Not fair you say? Welcome to The New World Order!

    October 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  78. Carole Fishman

    I happen to be one of the unlucky ones living in the State of nevada, who has been looking for work for almost two years. What I have spent on stationery, stamps, telephone calls, time at the computer cannot be compensated by unemployment checks. HOWEVER, they certainly paid for food, gas, and even a bill or two. When the experts tell you to save for at least six months worth,...okay now I've used the six months and then some. I very much need that check and YES I am still looking for part time, full time, anytime...I have paid into the system for more than thirty years...getting financial help is not pleasant, but so what are the choices.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  79. Richard Steiner

    Its a double edged sword.
    Working a state Employment Security Commission which provides the unemployment benefits, there is ample rational to argue both sides. I don't think people are willing to change or go to where the jobs are and have become complacent in just recieving a check and I don't think that agencies take the time to see that people receiving checks are actually looking for work. I think all the extentions the government continues to give will ultimantly backfire on us and our future generations and there isn"t enough being done to create new jobs or keep the jobs we have from being outsource. Were damned if we do and damned if we don't.

    Rick

    October 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  80. Annie, Atlanta

    Well, if they're not extended we'll be dying in the streets, and there will no longer be 6 people for every available job. Ok, I'm going to stop before I go where this is headed.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  81. Ken in NC

    Yes Jack. Unemployed people should not be allowed to draw unemployment benefits after they get jobs. Dumb question Jack. You try explaining to someone unemployed that they no longer qualify but someone else just as unemployed as they are is still qualified.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  82. Nancy, Tennessee

    It these weren't such extraordinary times, we wouldn't need to extend unemployment benefits. So here we go down that path of creating a new set of people that used to provide their own way who now will rely on the system. Yes, we have to extend unemployment benefits. Its the only humane thing to do and all we can think of right now. God help us if someone found a way to create jobs using the stimulus billions. It might cause a wave of new thinking.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  83. Monique

    Jack,

    Hell yes! I have had it with hearing how many people are collecting unemployment benefits, it is disgusting. There should be a three month limit only, if you are out of work for longer than that that is your choice. There are jobs out there but people think that they're too good for them and that is why they are unemployed. People complain to high heaven that they "can't" find work but their kids still have their cell phones and cable. Maybe where they are living is tough in terms of jobs – then move! Jack a year ago I had a really great job, the best I have ever had and then everything changed. I had to go back to work at a restaurant and I was making $7.50 an hour, 24 cents over minimum wage. It wasn't fun but it had to be done. I just recently got employed with a good company and it was through perserverance and determination I am proud to say that I did not apply for unemployment benefits. Unemployment if a crutch, nothing more nothing less. It would be amazing to see how many people would be employed if we stopped this crutch. I'm disgusted by these people who take them for a long time and the Congress and President who allow them too.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  84. Harry - Baltimore, MD

    Hi Jack,

    I think unemployment benefits should be extended as long as needed to support those who are unable to find work. This is NOT normal times, where jobs are readily available. Jobs are scarce! I think employers are taking advantage of the "perceived" economic conditions to create a higher jobless rate – especially those who are Republicans. They (Republicans) want President Obama to fail – at any cost! Unfortunately, the Republicans do not care how much harm it causes. They (Republicans) just want President Obama not to be successful because they recognize that if he (Obama) is successful, he will be re-elected – without a doubt!

    Furthermore, only someone who has a job (in this economy) could even consider limiting unemployment insurance benefits to those who remain jobless.

    Harry – Baltimore, MD

    October 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  85. Joseph Arthur

    There should be no limit on collecting unemployment...I mean most people are not unemployed by choice (cannot collect if you quit your job anyway)...also what can $300/wk do for you anyway, considering the fact that we are the richest country in the world and we take care of other nations even when we have no business to, e.g. Iraq, Afganistan...and fill the pockets of corrupt politicians in 3rd world countries, when the people who paid taxes cannot put food on the table...

    October 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  86. Eddy

    why it shouldn't be Jack? if you can put yourself in my shoes by staying home for 22 months without a penny comming in after 12 months. just figure it out!

    October 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  87. Russell.. Rockford,illinois

    No, You work basically all your life and pay taxes and all your worth is six months of unemployment. Where is our bail out from the government?

    October 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  88. Prabs, IL

    Absolutely. Everything in this country is tied to employment. From immigration to health care. When big businesses create financial crisis, government bails them out. When they lay-off people, government bails them out. In this country , historically, entrepreneurs create new jobs and fuel new industries. Yet, entrepreneurs and family businesses do not find any incentives from the government to stay in the business. Particularly, during recession.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  89. jose

    Benefits should have no limits
    We should get the companies that have taken
    Jobs overseas and tax them. This will
    Pay for more benifits.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  90. Scott Stodden

    Actually no I don't think there should be a limit on how long a person can collect umemployment but these people should be out looking for a job each and everyday until they find one while on umemployment. To many people just sit and collect the check and never go looking for work until there benefits run out and then its to late. Times is harder now than they ever were before and we all need money so type of way shape or form. I just don't think there should be a limit but people if your on unemployment make sure your looking for a job every day, I work at Sonic making $8.00 but hey its a job, Hope you read this Jack cuz I love your books and I love and watch you and Wolf on The Situation Room each and everyday.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    October 8, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  91. Matt Ford

    Jack,

    No there should not be a time limit on people collecting unemployment benefits.

    These are extraordinary times and that calls for extraordinary measures. We give giant bonuses to those on Wall Street and untold billions in foreign aid. Think of unemployment benefits as an investment in our own oeople because it is.

    My wife and I are now both retired but were once laid off and unemployed.

    I speak from experience.

    Matt Ford, M.P.A.
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    October 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  92. Gigi

    Right from the start the unemployed should have been bailed out with stimulus money . And the fat cats that got in trouble given a year to put back the bonus money they received to put the company back in the black. When companies pay huge salaries and bonuses to themselves that bankrupt their companies then get bailed out by our government it makes me think...we live in a very corrupt country.

    Oregon

    October 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  93. Barb

    My husband here in Sillicon Valley, Ca. would greatly benefit from this! He is about to lose benefits this month...Iam exhausted being the only breadwinner and hopes of a job are grim for him....

    October 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  94. MA

    Dear Jack,

    If our economists are saying that the US economy is in the process of "re-balancing" itself after being on the brink of coming completely unraveled and they don't even know how long it is going to take to come out of this situation we're in, how could we even consider denying unemployment benefits to people and families who are depending on those benefits to survive?

    How about putting our government to work by creating gainful employment for so many unemployed Americans and helping everyone to keep their homes?

    Why aren't we putting all of the onus on those responsible for our economic disaster?

    To consider punishing the unemployed and their families by cutting off benefits makes our country look cynical and blind to what has happened to our economy. We are becoming a beggar nation through the incredible exploitation of our economic system by those that gamed it. We'd better start correcting things and not make them worse because we middle class Americans have had enough.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  95. Nancy of California

    Yes, unemployment should be extended, unless Congress is ok with the thousands who would become homeless when their benefits expire. Congress wouldn't mind people setting up tents on their lawns, would they? I've been looking for a job for some time now. I'm educated and certified in my field with 10 years of experience. One problem is that employers are taking what seems like forever to make any hiring decision. I've been interviewed for one company's job on the phone twice, had two face-to-face interviews with them and after two months, still no hiring decision. This is not the first time I've dealt with this in my job search. I continue looking, while I wait and hope I get that job. All the while, praying that I get something before my benefits expire at the end of the year.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  96. LUCI - ILLINOIS

    Have you ever been laid off Jack? My husband was and we had three kids, it was very tough. I would hate to have to live today on $300 a week.
    Would you rather see the welfare for the rich program? They don't like to hear it but that is exactly what it is.
    Give me a break, yes give the laid off workers the extra extension.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  97. Bob - Rawson Argentina

    It's sad to say but "Yes." And this comes from a man who once drew unemployment.

    Sorry but there DOES have to be limits on many things and this is a sorry but true statement here.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  98. Gary

    Jack, Those people that lost thier jobs and are actually looking for jobs should get unemployment until they can get a job that pays within say 75 % of the hourly / salery that they were getting.
    This could all be paid for by passing a law that insists those that are on welfare and have been for years must take and pass a drug test before they get thier monthly check.
    I live in a small town that has a large percentage of people on welfare and they spend it all on drugs and then expect the government to take care of thier children.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  99. lynne from NC

    Nope, no way. If you're going to do that, you need to forgive whatever debts they have. You can't just throw folk away. Either give folk a job, help them out in some way or send them back to school to retrain for some of these jobs that are out there that go unfilled with a stipend to pay their bills.

    Besides, those who say, 'cut them off' could find themselves unemployed with their savings depleted at any given minute. They would want someone to help them out a little longer, too. I think the phrase is 'by the grace of God, go I."

    October 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  100. Brian Bambusch

    Painful answer, but its yes. For the same reason zoo animals can't be returned to the wild. They become dependent on the system. Limits cause people to move on to new carriers, move to new parts of the country, and so on. I wish the answer wasn't this simple.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  101. Lucy

    I don't think there should be a limit, but I think there should be investigations into suspicious circumstances, if someone has been on unemployment for way to long and is very educated or something, to see if they really have been looking for a job.
    Lucy
    SF, CA

    October 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  102. Leslie

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,
    YES they should continue to get benefits. It is hard to get a job. My husband and I have not been able to find work for over a year and a half. We even tried to get job's in a neighboring state with no luck. I know I am only one voice in a mass of unemployed very angry people in this country. It scares me to think of the future. I am the only one to get unemployment ( my husband was refused)/ I do not get that much but it gives us money for the little hotel room we are living in and some food. We have lost everything. If my benefits are cut off my husband and I will be living in the street. with no food.
    I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    October 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  103. D

    Why not invest in teaching people how to fish instead of giving them out? It seems that all the social programs designed to "save" needy people actually create a situation of dependancy, which limits liberty.

    I'd like our social programs to work toward their own elimination. That would mean the people targeted by the programs have developed the skills necessary to earn a living instead of relying on everyone else's tax money.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  104. Rocky

    Hi Jack,
    No they should not limit unemployement. I worked for a company for 18+ years, they closed right at the start of the "crisis". I put out near 300 applications over 8 months and got about 5 to 10 interviews. I finially got a job and worked there for 9 months and was let go due to down sizing. I filed for unemployement and they said that I can only get 18 weeks due to the amount I have put in.

    As you know unemployement does not pay good so for 8+ months I depleted my savings. That with the "crsis" I lost more saving and in housing I lost $25k in equity.

    We need help. I am a professional and about to loose my home, espically if they do not extend my benefits.

    If the GOV had given the people the trillion dollars the companys would becoming up with creative ways to get it out of our hands!

    Instead they are surviving and giving out bonuses.

    Rocky
    Richmond, VA

    October 8, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  105. Lynn, Cottage Grove,Wi

    When I got unemployment compensation once back in the 70's, it was for 26 weeks max and I found a job within 26 weeks. If it would have been for over 70 weeks as it is now I would have taken longer. Between unemployment, welfare food and side jobs we got by. People tend to take advantage of what they can.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  106. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Dear Jack,
    I would say yes there should be a legislatively mandated limit to a date certain provided of course there is also a legislatively mandated limit to that same date certain on how long a person will be unemployed.
    FDR had a solution for this. It was called the NEW Deal and included the PWA the WPA and the CCC. We paid out a bunch of dough but we got something for it; highways, bridges, buildings, water conservation, and flood control. It worked for us then; it will work for us now.
    And it might help some of us and our overspending, over consuming fellow citizens to get some blisters, do some sweating, and learn the value of a buck... AGAIN!
    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    October 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  107. Leslie

    I made a mistake I ment to say no there should not be a limit

    October 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  108. Welly

    i live in up state of new york .. when the time was good and i was paying the unemployment insurance at the time i was making over $400 a week i was thanks full for it and always i lived within my means the thirteen weeks extended unemployment it is not like it is free help like they have done to the banks giving them $700 Billion dollars . we still have to go out searching for work and we have to apply for at least two jobs in order to collect unemployment after 3 years . from Oct/2007 until now i'm out of work... i have searched for work every where you can imagine walk in into stores to uploading my resume online in the beginning i was rejected and in other places they just wont even look at me i think you know why ?? but just to make it more clear because I'm just different in my color .. and others say because my accent and now there is actually no jobs even these places shut their doors .. so we need a real help they worked on our jobs taken away from us then they have to work to get it back again

    October 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  109. Val in Ohio

    Jack,

    A limited extension of benefits is reasonable, but they should not be extended beyond the time frame delineated in your piece. The tax places a heavy burden on employers, which seems unfair, but if benefits are discontinued to so many when jobs are so scarce, we could have an enormous crisis on our hands in terms of hunger and homelessness. The best approach is to allow a little more leeway for people to secure employment, which, hopefully will motivate them to act quickly before their benefits are permanently severed.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  110. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Jack:

    Well, there is a limit, it is not an indefinate benefit in any state. What we need is for our leaders to be paid on a "pay as you work" deal. This is because the unemployed now have already paid for minimal work by the senators and representatives who enjoy lavish healthcare, retirement, various kinds of professional amnesty...their pay should be a "no tickie no washee" policy.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  111. Janet

    No Jack. There should not be a limit. The govt and greedy, corrupt people caused this recession The federal govt bailed out their friends on Wall Street and the auto industry and they need to continue helping those who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If the govt hadn't stood by all these years while jobs were outsourced and allowed immigrants to be brought in to take jobs away from American workers, we wouldn't be in this mess. Statistics say there are 6 people for every job opening but there are a lot more people than that applying for any job opening.

    Janet
    AZ

    October 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  112. Brian Gomez

    Jack, it's one thing to get unemployment with an extension but when you have to wait 4 to 6 weeks to get it, like in missiouri you'll need that extra money to get back what you have lost............... Brian Gomez

    October 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  113. pam

    i think the question was, should benefits be extended, not who should be excluded. yes they should be extended, if not they would just have to apply for welfare. if the banks can have a bailout, so can the little man and he needs it more.

    to sigarelly; sorry u had to walk in someones shoes before u saw the light. we don't want to be in this position.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  114. Tina J.

    I find it very interesting that people have such explosive comments and quick judgement on a situation they themselves are not in. To them I say...you are not my mommy, daddy, boss, partner or God so calm down and take a deep breath. Give Peace a chance and you may find it works. Be the next person to support a person who just so happend to need it that day. 🙂 A smile is free!!

    October 8, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  115. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Of course there should be a limit to what is no longer unemployment benefits when it's no longer supported by an employer. It's welfare and most decent hard working people who are looking for work don't like being associated with welfare

    October 8, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  116. John

    There should be no limit on unemployment benefit extensions. Most people have paid into this program over many years and deserve this support. In this day and age it barely covers your house payments and taxes AND FOOD. Everything else waits.

    Jack the government bailed out big business, the banks, brokerages and the high flying corp big guys. They caused this economic crisis. People like Ken Lewis walking away with $53M. That should be confiscated to help ordinary people.

    The governments failure to reign in outsourcing, offshoring, trade imbalances and ongoing mergers and acqusitions have contributed to this crisis. Ordinary people have no say in this. We need this extension and perhaps others until hiring returns with positions offering pernament jobs, livable wages and benefits. Right now no one is hiring

    October 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  117. Jeff

    No Jack there should'nt be no limting on unemployment because after all the goverment is the one got us in this mass in the frist place.

    Jeff, Greensboro, N.C.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  118. Chad from Los Angeles

    Normally I would say yes, but when you are one of the ones suffering, its hard to deny myself help!

    October 8, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  119. Michael, Kansas City, Missouri

    In England, people collect money on "the dole" for as long as they are unemployed and it hasn't broken their bank. Come to think of it, the British government does much more for their citizens than the U.S. federal goverment does for American and it hasn't overdrawn their bankbook. The question should be: Should the federal government provide at least a small lifeline to the unemployed, or should it let the poor die off and decrease the surplus population?

    October 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  120. Roland-St.George,UT

    The logical answer to your question is, of course, yes. But every time I hear the President say that the government is going to create jobs, I find myself wondering why don't they actually create jobs, instead of just using the phrase (to mean economic stimulus tools that spurn private job growth). I keep hearing about our crumbling/decaying infrastructure...things like highways, bridges, water mains, sewer mains, etc. that are decades old and need to be replaced. So, in exchange for sending people those checks, let's get them out rebuilding the infrastructure. (Kudos to FDR for already thinking of this idea first.)

    October 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  121. A. Smith

    Employees pay for unemployment insurance and deserve as much unemployment payments as is monetarily possible to them while they are searching for employment.

    Denying people that are unemployed and have paid for unemployment insurance makes as much sense as denying medical coverage on individuals that have paid for that medical coverage, denying flooding coverage on homeowners that have paid for that home insurance.

    A. Smith, Oregon

    October 8, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  122. Jacqueline Mongeot

    The economy will not be sound until people are back to work, earn wages and spend. I wonder about all the outsourced jobs... Could our President and Congress devise measures to bring these jobs back in America? or TAX the industries who laid off Americans to send jobs abroad? These taxes could pay for the unemployment or for training those who do not qualify for the existing jobs. Some of my neighbors are really hurting and are actively searching for work. They DO worry!
    Also, If this sad state of affairs continues we might see more robberies or crimes. A solution has to be found....and soon.
    Jacqueline, California

    October 8, 2009 at 6:55 pm |