As an employer who pays unemployment insurance, I have a question in the face of yet another extension of benefits, which, again, I will pay for:
Here in NY everyone contributes a little each week towards the 6 month standard unemployment benefit package. Fine. It works like insurance. There are few, if any, restrictions on what a person can do while unemployed--presumably they are looking for a job.
But when the payments get extended beyond the 6 month period, the "fund" no longer has the money to pay for the benefits. They come from two sources- former employers and the taxpayers.
Is it unreasonable to ask that anyone receiving extended benefits report each day for "work" (except for those times actually interviewing, etc.?). Is it unreasonable to ask the unemployed to perform functions that might serve the community in exchange for the extended benefits? Working at soup kitchens, helping out at day care centers, fixing up playgrounds and ball fields, delivering meals-on-wheels, reading to folks at hospitals and nursing centers, etc?
Wouldn't that help our communities, provide services to our other needy, as well as weed out those who are working off the books, or who are delaying re-entering the workforce for some reason?
And wouldn't that help the long-term unemployed combat depression by getting them out of the house each day with a purpose?
Just a question or two as the Senate prepares to vote.