Unemployment Benefits

Should jobless Americans get extended aid?


At least 8.4 million Americans cannot find jobs. Two million have been jobless for more than six months and are exhausting their savings. Meanwhile, the federal-state unemployment-insurance system, designed during the Great Depression to help the jobless and stimulate the economy, is strapped for funds and under fire. The White House insists tax cuts will revive the economy and proposes a significant federal withdrawal from the unemployment program. Congressional Democrats and employees' advocates want expanded coverage for low-wage and part-time workers. Moreover, they call for an immediate federal extension of weekly jobless benefits. But Republican leaders assert added jobless benefits only encourage the unemployed to remain idle.

Jacqueline Breedlove brushes up on her job-hunting skills at the Oakland Career Center in Oakland, Calif.

(AP Photo/Justin Sullivan)

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