Commentary | Budget Taxes and Public Investment

Millions of unemployed could lose benefits under current law

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In April, 2010 there were 15.3 million unemployed workers actively looking for work, but with 5.6 unemployed workers for every job opening, their chances of finding a job are slim. Fortunately, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (AJCTLA) brings much needed relief for unemployed workers. The act extends unemployment insurance payments through the end of 2010, providing an estimated 5 million unemployed workers with support, while ensuring access to affordable health care.

In addition to helping those who have been hit the hardest in this recession, the act will help the overall economy recover by providing funds for infrastructure investments, tax cuts for individuals and small businesses, summer jobs, and other programs. These payments are partially offset by the elimination of tax loopholes, particularly ones for multinational corporations.

Under current law, unemployment insurance extensions are set to phase out at the end of May 2010. If that is allowed to happen, every quarter through 2010 will see millions of unemployed workers exhaust their benefits and stop receiving payments. The Chart below shows how many workers will exhaust their benefits each quarter under current law and under the AJCTLA extension. Without this extension, over 8 million Americans will run out of unemployment insurance benefits by the end of this year. The extension will ensure that 5.0 million of these workers continue receiving support until the end of 2010.

Although the U.S economy is beginning to recover, there are millions of unemployed workers who are still suffering from the effects of the recession. As a result, more action is needed to help unemployed workers get through these especially difficult times. The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act will support those who need it the most, and help the overall economy recover.

For a look at how this bill would also save or create more than a million jobs, see Policy Memo #167