UI benefits

Republicans continue their attack on the unemployed

Guilty until proven innocent:

DES assistant secretary Dale Folwell says the old system invited overpayment. Of 181,000 unemployment claims filed in 2012, employers challenged 64,000 – more than a third – arguing workers quit or were fired for cause. However, by that time, the state already started paying on the unresolved cases.

“Why would we start loading money on the debit card of North Carolina for those people who are eligible for benefits before we hear back from the employer about what happened?” Folwell said.

No, the question is: moving into the sixth year of a devastating recession, when employers have been laying off tens of thousands of workers per year and employees have been desperately holding on to the jobs they have, how can you look at that 64,000 number without saying, "Bullshit." Do you honestly believe that a third of those workers quit or were fired for screwing up? You want to punish somebody for overworking the department, start looking at stats on individual employers. If a business has a high percent of quit/fired, they're either trying to defraud the DES, or they're horribly abusing their employees. It ain't rocket science.

DAG McCrory's spin doctors make a House call

And Democratic leaders had a few words for the Deputy Assistant Governor:

In anticipation of public outcry, General Assembly legislative assistants were summoned to a meeting held by Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Dale Folwell, in which they were given talking points on how to respond to angry callers. These talking points did not direct callers to individuals with the authority to
change this policy, but said merely to acknowledge the loss of benefits without explanation or assignment of responsibility. In short, these talking points provided political cover for the McCrory administration and legislators who support cutting the benefits.

Here's a thought: if you know something is going to hurt people so much you need to start doing damage control before the pain even begins, then maybe you've made a horrible mistake. Here's the letter in its entirety:

The NCDP's persistent DINO problem

Siding with Republicans to punish the jobless:

The bill, which is up for its final vote in the Senate today, passed 36-13 on Tuesday. Joining the Republicans were Democrats: Ben Clark of Cumberland County, Clark Jenkins of Bertie County, Gene McLaurin of Anson County and Michael Walters of Columbus County.

When the bill passed the House last week, it also received support from Democrats — three to be exact: William Brisson of Bladen County, Ken Goodman of Hoke County and Paul Tine of Beaufort County.

And they should have received an immediate phone call (or face-to-face) with our new Chairman, and be forced to explain why they would take part in such a horrible action. As far as I'm concerned, they should be forced out of the Party. Somebody needs to stand up for not only those families but the integrity of the Party itself.

GOP cuts to unemployment don't add up

And the jobless will pay a heavy toll for Republican's fuzzy math:

A proposal to cut unemployment benefits and to reduce the amount of time people can receive them is petty, hurtful and unnecessary...without the cuts, the federal government would require that employers pay higher unemployment taxes, which would rise by $21 per year, per employee, until the debt was paid off.

That's right, unemployed workers (and their families) will lose more each week than employers would have to pay for a whole year. Considerably more. If there ever was a bill that should be buried in committee, this is the one.

Former Labor Commissioner speaks out on UI debt "fix"

Harry Payne sets the record straight:

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:

Inaccuracies emerge from Unemployment Fraud Committee

And yes, when demagogues are planning to use stuff like this to hurt unemployed workers even more, it makes a difference:

Improper payouts involving allegations of fraud hit an estimated $12 million during the same time period, around 2.4 percent of total payouts.

Actually, that's 2.4 percent of the improper payouts, not the total payouts. That alleged $12 million in fraud only represents less than 1/10 of 1% of the money paid out. Keep that in mind before you recommend draconian measures to fix a problem (fraud) that barely exists.

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