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More national exposure of NC's paternalistic Republicans:

North Carolina’s Deep Cut to Jobless Benefits Takes Effect Amid Protests (New York Times) -- North Carolina’s sharp cuts in benefits to the unemployed went into effect this week, amid a swelling public outcry.
The far-reaching changes enacted by the Republican-controlled legislature in February decreased the maximum benefit payout by more than one-third, which will result in a decline in the average weekly benefit, making the state ineligible for about $700 million in federal aid. The measure also reduced the number of weeks residents can receive unemployment aid. The overhaul was the centerpiece of a renewed protest in Raleigh on Monday, the ninth organized in recent months by the N.A.A.C.P. and an expanding roster of allies. Critics said the state’s agenda was undermining the economic stability of residents. The average unemployment benefit in North Carolina for the first quarter of 2013 was $298.90 a week, according to the United States Department of Labor.

Even folks across the Atlantic Ocean are wondering what the hell's going on here:

Daily dose: involuntary hunger strike begins

War on the Unemployed (New York Times column) -- Is life too easy for the unemployed? You may not think so, and I certainly don’t think so. But that, remarkably, is what many and perhaps most Republicans believe. And they’re acting on that belief: there’s a nationwide movement under way to punish the unemployed, based on the proposition that we can cure unemployment by making the jobless even more miserable. Consider, for example, the case of North Carolina. The state was hit hard by the Great Recession, and its unemployment rate, at 8.8 percent, is among the highest in the nation, higher than in long-suffering California or Michigan. As is the case everywhere, many of the jobless have been out of work for six months or more, thanks to a national environment in which there are three times as many people seeking work as there are job openings. Nonetheless, the state’s government has just sharply cut aid to the unemployed. In fact, the Republicans controlling that government were so eager to cut off aid that they didn’t just reduce the duration of benefits; they also reduced the average weekly benefit, making the state ineligible for about $700 million in federal aid to the long-term unemployed. It’s quite a spectacle, but North Carolina isn’t alone:

Daily dose

Just in time for the holiday:

170K long-term jobless in NC face benefits cutoff (AP) -- The decision of North Carolina lawmakers to cut the amount and length of state unemployment benefits is taking effect, and that means about 170,000 long-term jobless are losing their last checks.

More bad news below the fold:

Daily dose

Senseless and entirely avoidable:

NC shoving our friends and neighbors off the financial cliff (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- On Sunday, 70,000 jobless North Carolinians will lose access to federal unemployment benefits. By the end of the year, 100,000 additional jobless workers will be cut off, leaving a total of 170,000 jobless workers and their families in crisis. North Carolina's unemployment insurance cliff has arrived.

Economist Dave Ribar on the GOP's counterproductive attack on the jobless

Who needs growth, when you've got a peasantry to create:

The loss of EUC funding will be devastating to the hardest hit North Carolinians--170,000 former workers who have already been without jobs for six months or more. The loss of funding will also hurt the broader economy, which brings me back to those original GDP figures. At a time when the state's economy is only growing slowly, unevenly, and actually shedding jobs; the legislature and governor are about to pull $700 million directly out of the state's economy. That figure represents 3.5 percent of all of the economic growth that the state experienced last year.

What's even worse, not only are those funds immediately injected into the economy in a diffused manner (spread around), said injected funds are naturally utilized in geographical areas that need it the most. The higher the unemployment rate in a given area, the more people receiving benefits, the more money into the local economy, etc. This was just a bad idea all around, and will likely produce even more unemployed.

Daily dose

The flat-earth society reaches into the classroom:

Flawed idea would bring abortion debate to middle schools (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Asking middle school instructors to teach teenagers that abortion causes premature births is a flawed concept in several ways. One, the issue is best left to parents and mentors, not as part of an ordered curriculum. Second, legislators with a social-conservatism agenda now are specifying courses.


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