More than 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits on December 28 as a budget deal proposal in Congress fails to extend the federal program.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program is not included into the budget deal that would likely pass the Senate this week.
Senate Democrats have admitted that they would miss the deadline to extend the benefits and Senate Republicans have not paid attention to the issue at all.
However, critics of the program charge that the US government has exacerbated the problem of long-term unemployment in the country by providing a disincentive for the jobless.
“This is a program that should never have been extended so long,” Jim Bovard of the Future of Freedom Foundation told Press TV on Tuesday.
The program began when the nation was in a severe recession but US officials kept extending it to their own advantage, Bovard said.
“What the politicians have done is kept extending the unemployment [benefits] basically in order to buy votes, in order to try to look like they’re being generous with other people’s money.”
“This extended long-term unemployment is very counterproductive because you have a lot of people who simply get out of the habit of working.”
“A lot of these folks have been out of the workforce for a year or two and they’re going to have a lot more difficult time getting back into the labor force,” Bovard said.
He also said that the program has contributed to the high unemployment rate in the US. “There are some estimates that have said that the extended unemployment [benefits] has sharply raised the national unemployment rate because it basically subsidized people to hold off taking a job.”