NC Policy Watch's Altered State series continues:
The unemployed have been subjected to especially severe treatment. North Carolina cut its benefits to the lowest levels in the nation, from a maximum of $535 a week to $350. The reduction rendered more than 170,000 long-term unemployed residents ineligible for additional federal benefits in the second half of 2013. North Carolina was the only state to reject this federal money, even as its unemployment rate topped the national average.
The lowered benefits have pushed some people into a downward spiral difficult to shake off. Ramona Aragon of Durham lost her job as an administrative assistant in March. It was the first time she’d ever been laid off, and she immediately applied for unemployment benefits while she looked for new work. But 15 weeks went by without her application being processed, and, with her savings depleted, she had to sell her belongings and move back into her parents’ home with her two children, 13 and 7.
As depressing as it may be, revisiting these issues is a critical exercise for advocates and those seeking political change. We can't allow the victims of the GOP's warped worldview to fade into obscurity, because they are still suffering and desperately need a remedy that can only be provided in the voting booth.