Today, the working poor receive $3-7 Billion in federal assistance. The real number is probably higher than that, but the savings from raising the minimum wage is not likely to be 100 percent. So, let us call it $5 Billion.
Federally funded extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are set to expire at the end of this year. Continuing the extensions through 2014 would generate spending that would support 310,000 jobs. If this program is discontinued, the economy will lose these jobs.
The long-term unemployed have been trying to muster a little bit of hope for finding a job in the new year, but the recent political gamesmanship that was played over their only remaining lifeline only served to create unnecessary uncertainty and anxiety for their families.
Now that the Republicans have all but officially decided they're opposed to making new laws to respond to the country's problems, what will they do about the laws we already have? The Affordable Care Act will be an important political test case.