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Reader’s Forum — 3/22/13

Unemployment insurance a tightening safety net

I am troubled by the cuts to unemployment insurance.
Back in the 1990s, the North Carolina state house decided to help Big Business by cutting unemployment taxes. The cuts were so deep that in 1996, it was down to 0.2 percent. These cuts hurt the system when times were good and North Carolina should have been saving up for a rainy day. Now that it’s raining, just who is to blame for the unemployment problem we are in today?
Layoffs, unfortunately, are the norm these days. The people hurt most are often young families. They are the future of this state and our country, but their survival isn’t guaranteed. It takes at least $874 a week to maintain a family of three in this state. Now, during a layoff in North Carolina, the $350 weekly income would be a $524 shortfall. That loss of income would make it hard to feed their family. The shortfall could cause the loss of the family’s transportation and possibly their home. A layoff could last longer than the new maximum duration, 20 weeks, which would all but ensure the family ends up homeless. Is this a state in which a young family would want to live?
It’s been said that had unemployment insurance been left alone, it would have taken three more years to pay back North Carolina employers’ debt to the federal government. Why the change? To save big business money, that’s why, even though working people pay the price.
We need to stand up and remind Governor McCrory and Speaker Tillis just who they work for! They work for us, not us for them! In 2014, I would like to invite every working class and retired person in the state of North Carolina to layoff all the people in Raleigh that don’t have our best interest at heart. We also need to do the same in 2016. North Carolina belongs to us. We need to be proud of our state, not ashamed by her leaders.

Allen Penley
Iron Station

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