“Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America’s 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.
“Congress is expected to decide by year’s end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.
“The ranks of the poor would also rise. The Census Bureau says unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people from slipping into poverty last year. It defines poverty as annual income below $22,314 for a family of four.
“Yet for a growing share of the unemployed, a vote in Congress to extend the benefits to 99 weeks is irrelevant. They’ve had no job for more than 99 weeks. They’re no longer eligible for benefits.
“Their options include food stamps or other social programs. Nearly 46 million people received food stamps in August, a record total. That figure could grow as more people lose unemployment benefits.
“Government unemployment benefits weren’t designed to sustain people for long stretches without work. They usually don’t have to. In the recoveries from the previous three recessions, the longest average duration of unemployment was 21 weeks, in July 1983.
“But the economy has remained so weak that an analysis of long-term unemployment data suggests that about 2 million people have used up 99 weeks of checks and still can’t find work.
“Congress has extended the program nine times. But it might balk at the $45 billion cost. It will be the first time the Republican-led House of Representatives will vote on the issue.”
My Comment: Turning the unemployed into students who take courses on Integral Society will prevent discontent, raise their awareness of what is happening, encourage them to participate actively in creative processes, and bring them to the point when they won’t rebel, but build. The program exists and was proven in action.