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Obama’s Stimulus To Extend Unemployment, Health Benefits

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Looks like the first part of Obama’s plan will be making sure that most Americans just stay afloat.

From NY Times:

One proposal, as described by Democratic advisers, would extend unemployment compensation to part-time workers, an idea that Congressional Republicans have blocked in the past.

Other policy changes would subsidize employers’ expenses for temporarily continuing health insurance coverage to laid-off and retired workers and their dependents, as mandated under a 22-year-old federal law known as Cobra, and allow workers who lose jobs that did not come with insurance benefits to be eligible, for the first time, to apply for Medicaid coverage.

The proposals indicate the sorts of potentially long-range changes that Mr. Obama intends to push in his promised American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, as he named it in his weekly Saturday address on the radio and YouTube. They will be combined with one-time measures that are more typical of federal stimulus packages to jump-start a weak economy, like spending for roads and other job-creating public works projects.

You should also expect a new tax cut if you’re in the bottom 95% of income earners…

Rather than propose a one-time tax rebate for all but the most affluent Americans, Mr. Obama is likely to propose what he called during his campaign a “Making Work Pay” tax credit of $500 for eligible individuals and $1,000 for couples. Those who earn too little to pay federal income taxes would receive the credit in the form of a check, intended to offset the payroll taxes they pay for Social Security and Medicare.

Total cost of the package so far is coming in north of $775 billion.

More as it develops…

  • kranky kritter

    A little back of the envelope us gov’t math:

    2008: total receipts: 2.66 trillion
    2008: total expenditures: 2.9 trillion + 0.7 trillion bailout = 3.6 trillion

    2009: total receipts: _?_
    2008: total expenditures: _?_ + 0.75 trillion bailout = _?_ trillion

    Suppose for the sake of argument we simply concede the highly suspect contention that because we’re in a serious recession, the government therefore MUST spend way more money than it collects in receipts.

    That allows us to move on to a far more troubling question:

    For how long do we think the government can sustain a practice of spending roughly 4 dollars for every 3 it collects, without

    •devaluing the dollar to the point where it is no longer Earth’s preferred currency

    •triggering (quite possibly debilitating) inflation?

    I don’t know what the answer to this question is. But I do know two answers that are definitely insufficient:

    • We can’t worry about that right now
    • I’m sure it will be fine

    Fact is, we can’t afford NOT to worry about spending way more money than we have. Both individually and collectively.

  • Rob Wolfe

    Obama,
    Do you plan to extend the unemployment benifits? I have been unemployeed for over 7 months and am about to run out of beifits even with the Bush extention. I need help. I apply for over 40 jobs per week with nothing to show for it.
    PLEASE help us. We are sinking! Like so many americans. I find it hard to beleive that my case would be looked at. I just need some help..Just like so benifits or am I going to sink? and die?many americans.
    Are you going to extend the unemployment benifits or am I going to sink and die? HELP ME!

  • Lisa Anderson

    I was wondering the same thing Rob Wolfe asked. My benefits are about to run out from the Bush extension. I have been applying for as many jobs were posted on careerbuilder, monster, and the local paper. Since I lost my house after my job, my daughter and I moved into my mothers, then we moved to Boston with family in the hopes that the Boston job market is better. Now, I seem to have many more interviews, but with no results. Many of my responses are like the one I received today “Unfortunately, at this time, our client has decided to postpone their candidate search.” I have a Bacholer’s degree in Molecular Biology and experience in Chemistry. I am beginning to get really concerned about the career gap that is now on my resume. I suppose I will be going back to school for my Masters, since my education seems to be the only thing I have control over – or at least is obtainable. I am beginning to wonder if it is me and I just do not interview well, the economy, or the competition on the job market.

    -Lisa

  • http://donklephant jeremy grimes

    my unemplotment is about to run out in 8 weeks i have went to 3 states looking for work im fixen to have my car repo obama please extened unemployment im looseing grip on who iam