Michigan voted to extend unemployment initially, but has now become the first state to cut the number of weeks a person can have unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 starting in 2012. Michigan Lawmakers Pass Controversial Compromise On Unemployment Extension
State lawmakers in Michigan passed last-minute legislation to preserve 20 weeks of federal unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless on Wednesday, averting an abrupt cutoff for 35,000 Michiganders in April. But in a deal preserving the benefits, lawmakers sharply reduced aid for future layoff victims.
Democrats in Michigan are calling for Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the new bill:
Democrats say the move will simply hurt workers.
"This bill does nothing to create jobs or move Michigan forward," said Whitmer, who along with Hammel and other state Democrats are asking Snyder to veto the legislation and send it back to lawmakers to pass a bill that includes only the needed technical change.
"Thirty states have already passed the technical change to their state's unemployment program without attaching reforms," Levin said, adding that Michigan would be the first state to shrink unemployment benefits. "This is leading Michigan backwards," he added.
If Snyder signs the bill, Michigan workers would be eligible for only 20 weeks of benefits as opposed to 26, affecting thousands of workers. In 2010, more than 171,000 people in Michigan exhausted 20 weeks of benefits, according to Levin.
Levin added that if the bill is signed into law, not only will Michigan workers lose eligibility for six weeks of state-paid benefits, but they would also lose eligibility for 16 weeks of federal benefits if the program is extended into 2012.
"Let's discuss this in a more reasonable way," Hammel said. "We all want to help business, but let's not take resources away from workers."
So that's where we are. Gov. Snyder has already said he's going to sign the bill,so a veto is out. Then we cut to Fox News' Stuart Varney, the newest FNC Republican free-market shill to get his own show on Fox Business News. He's very happy over these cuts because now as he sees it, austerity is here and it will hurt.(rough transcript)
Q: Since the '50s you could get 26 weeks, now in Michigan...
Varney: That was the standard for fifty years, five full decades, the standard has been you will get six months, twenty six weeks of state funded unemployment benefits and now that standard has been cracked. Michigan is going to twenty weeks and I gotta tell you, Florida is considering moving it down to twelve weeks. That would be a big crack in the established standard. It's all a response to the fact that you can't afford it. These state funded .. in that state, all of them have run out of money.
Q: What happens, will it force people to take jobs perhaps that they wouldn't have taken otherwise?
Varney: Well, there's always that consideration, but let's look at the big picture. This is austerity. This is in cuts and services and benefits across the board. It's happening in state after state after state. Austerity is beginning to hit home now. The real story is how will the voters respond to this? We don't know this, but austerity is here. It bites, it hurts and it's happening now.
Notice how jacked up Varney is about the idea that "AUSTERITY IS HERE!"? There's not a word in the world that can turn on a conservative economy hack like the word austerity can because that means cuts to the working class. And not just minor ones. Notice that Stuart highlighted that austerity will bite and hurt . There's a good little Fox News zombie when they need one. Workers supply the carcass that business vultures pick clean to line their pockets with cash and when an opportunity presents itself, they strike. Varney is one of the head scavengers on TV for Fox. Vultures like Varney share this distinctive character trait:
Vultures seldom attack healthy animals, but may kill the wounded or sick.
Workers are suffering right now because of free-market thinkers like Varney, but the masters of business should never have to share the sacrifice. Only the sick and wounded.
Michigan has over a 10 percent unemployment rate so where are the lowly jobs that they might be forced to take?