We’ve heard about the tax increases. We’ve heard about the spending cuts. But expiring emergency aid for the long-term unemployed is also part of the fiscal cliff, and analysts have started to sound the alarm. At the end of December, more than two million workers will lose federal unemployment insurance if Congress does not act. A new Congressional Budget Office report estimates that if Congress were to extend its emergency jobless benefit programs, economic output would be 0.2% higher and 300,000 more Americans would be employed by the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with projections under current law. But unemployment insurance comes with a hefty price tag, a full one-year extension of emergency programs – which bump up the number of weeks that workers can receive benefits – would cost about $30 billion, the budget office estimates. The government has spent more than half a trillion dollars on unemployment insurance over the past five years.
30 Nov 2012