Earlier this week CNN Money posted a story that pegged the bill for unemployment benefits at around $319 billion over the last three years. In those three years, the length of benefits has steadily increased to the now 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. Ninety-nine weeks is nearly two full years of unemployment benefits. On November 30th, approximately two million unemployed individuals will lose coverage because they’ve been on unemployment benefits for so long. The total number of people collecting unemployment insurance is 8.5 million, which includes 4.8 million on federal benefits.
On the one hand, giving unemployment benefits is probably one of the most effective ways to stimulate the economy. I think it’s safe to say that those on unemployment and collecting insurance will probably be spending that money, which goes right back into the economy. Unlike other methods of stimulus, very few are saving this cash for a rainy day because it is a rainy day.
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