the Chamber, and now some Republican lawmakers, propose to cut unemployment benefits to those out of work: The maximum benefit would go from $506 weekly to $350. And just to add to the burden of joblessness a little more, the maximum number of weeks for benefits, 26, would be cut on a sliding scale to between 12 and 20 weeks.
Soon to be followed by this headline: "Home Foreclosures in North Carolina rise by 40%". It's no mystery how this travesty came about, though. All you have to do is walk this vicious dog backwards to see who set him on the already suffering unemployed:
In simple terms, 34,476 of the state’s almost 200,000 businesses have not paid the $2.5 billion in unemployment insurance premiums necessary to cover what their layoffs cost the system and state. Now the same business groups responsible for the excessive cuts to unemployment insurance premiums that drained the reserves want the very victims of this economy to pay the cost of re-filling it by forfeiting benefits.
And I bet a lot of those same employers also refused to purchase legally-required worker's compensation coverage. But all of that flies over the heads of the "business can do no wrong" Republican corporate-worshipping congregation. Here's a logic-deprived rebuttal from the NC Chamber, who have graciously accepted the task of writing our laws for us:
The expression probably seems like an oxymoron, even more so in today's corporatist environment. The Chamber of Commerce lobbies policy makers to get lots of goodies, and then when it's time to pay the piper, they turn to the general public, taxpayers like you, to pick up the pieces. A case in point is featured today in a column by Scott Mooneyham. Hat tip to Policy Watch for digging up the story.
They won’t say it, but it’s obvious what is wanted by a portion of the business community in North Carolina and their backers at the state Legislature. It’s that most volatile of words in the political world these days, a word sure to rile up conservatives and liberals alike. Dare I even tap out the seven letters?
There, the deed is done. Oh sure, they’ll deny that’s what they want. But what else do you call a desire to make up for a $2.5 billion debt with general tax dollars — either from federal or state taxpayers — especially when that debt is largely the result of earlier financial irresponsibility? The $2.5 billion is how much the state has borrowed from the federal government to pay out unemployment benefits since 2008.
Lest anyone accuse me of being anti-business, I'm writing as a person who has started and led a number of companies over the past 30 years. I appreciate first hand the value of jobs and the important contributions private companies can make. So when I find myself reading slippery propaganda from the head of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, I feel compelled to weigh in. Here's an excerpt from today's edition of Profits Before People, courtesy of the N&O.
Submitted by usernamehere on Sun, 02/01/2009 - 11:40pm
On Tuesday, February 3, the NC Chamber of Commerce (formerly known as NCCBI - NC Citizens for Business and Industry), will hosts its government affairs conference in Raleigh. State legislative and government leaders will attend and speak.
What is offensive is that this organization under the new leadership of a Mr. Lew Ebert (previously of Kansas and Pennsylvania) opposed the recently passed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
While most small businesses may not be members of the statewide NC Chamber, many local chambers of commerce throughout the state affiliate with this organization. People at the local level should urge their local chambers of commerce to express their disbelief that the formerly well-respected NC Chamber has sunk to the new low of opposing equal pay for women in the workplace.
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