FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The one-man Jim Bunning filibuster ended in the Senate - and they have now voted to pass a $10 billion dollar benefits measure.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/03/art.job.seek.jpg caption="A job seeker stands outside an employment office in Brooklyn, New York."]
The 78-to-19 vote means there will be a 30-day extension of unemployment benefits, highway funding and other federal programs.
President Obama praised the Senate's move, saying it will extend access to health care benefits for those who lost their jobs, help small business get loans so they can grow and hire more workers, and extend unemployment insurance benefits for millions looking for work.
If the Senate hadn't approved this measure, it's estimated more than one million people would have been affected this month and nearly five million by June. There's no question that with the national unemployment rate at 10 percent, millions and millions of Americans are depending on these government benefits to get by.
But some point out that never-ending extensions of unemployment benefits are a drain on the Treasury, an addition to the deficit, and a disincentive for recipients to actively look for work. Why search for a job when the government is still cutting you a check each week?
Generally, federal unemployment benefits kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage ends. During the economic downturn, Congress has approved 73 weeks of additional unemployment benefits.
Here’s my question to you: At what point should the government stop extending jobless benefits?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Joe in Dallas writes:
This question is one I have asked myself. Most of the people suffering now are not to blame for this awful mess and could not survive without government help. If Congress does not bring manufacturing jobs back to America and rebuild the disappearing middle class soon rather than resorting to this band-aid approach of endless unemployment benefits, we will find ourselves becoming a land of extremes-rich and poor. I believe that is known as a Third World country.
Rich in Texas writes:
Jack, If the government will keep paying me to sit at home, I will do it as long as I can. My house is paid for. My car runs. I can live quite well off of what they pay me not to work.
I'm against the by-product of this extension, i.e deficit, but I can't find a job! I'm a registered architect and I apply for at least 10 to 20 jobs every week. That includes not only in the U.S. but all English-speaking countries. I've tried starting something on my own but banks refused my loans.
Jerry in Jacksonville, Florida writes:
We pay members of Congress one hell of a salary for doing nothing. What does it hurt to pay some poor person a little unemployment money so they can eat? I think we need to pay them until they find a job. I know some take advantage of the system, but so do the lousy jerks we elect to Congress.
Frank in Florida writes:
The answer to that is quite simple. Stop extending them when the mess that has been created by years of deregulation has been cleared up. I'm in Florida and I hate being unemployed! I didn't ask for the Chevrolet dealership I had been working at for 5 years to go under. I still can't find a job even though I'm highly qualified and it's been a year now.
Mark in Voorhees, New Jersey writes:
There should be a limit. More importantly there should be term limits.