Late Thursday night, after a near week of supposed rebellion by many House Democrats against the Obama – Republican bill, H.R. 4853, "The Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010
", the Democrats in the end meekly accepted it without out any amendments. It was passed in the House by 277 – 148 votes. Its now been sent to the President for him to sign it into law.
With the bill's passing, a collective groan could be heard around the nation as nearly 5 million long-term unemployed, the 99ers, were effectively abandoned by their government, in favor of tax cuts for the rich and a bill full of earmarks and business tax breaks covering a host of 'needy" businesses, ranging from cement manufacturing to NASCAR racetracks. No wonder Republicans are "giddy about this bill
" as they have got far more than they thought they would under the so called compromise.
But the big losers are the unemployed, as even those that will benefit from the 13 month extensions of Tiers 1 – 4 are only postponing the inevitable, i.e., becoming a 99er, if a) the job market doesn't dramatically improve or b) a Tier 5 isn't passed sometime in the early 2011. There are many misinformed commentators, and even Congressional staff, who believe that the 13 month extension somehow resets the tier clock. It doesn't.
If you were x number of weeks into a tier when the extensions expired on Nov 30, this means that you will get retroactive payments back to when your EUC/EB stopped for that tier. But going forward you will still only receive unemployment benefits for the remaining weeks of your tier. So if you were on a Tier 4 when the extensions expired, and only had 6 weeks left on that tier, then when those 6 weeks are up, you will not qualify for another tier i.e., you will be a 99er, and have no financial safety net.
Obviously, those that benefit most from the 13th month extension of tiers 1 – 4 are those currently on the lower tiers 1 – 3. By April, all unemployed that currently qualify for a tier 4 will have exhausted their benefits, some a lot sooner then others. With increasing numbers of Americans joining the ranks of the 99ers each week, the social divide between rich and those living in poverty widens daily