Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ohio Unemployment

Providing unemployment benefits is simliar to providing healthcare benefits: those that need them the most can't afford it. The fix for unemployment has been to spread this 'misery insurance' across all industries and employees. It's a conumdrum to me; should unemployment be privitized? Like health insurance, private insurers would make you pay according to how likely you would be to use it, and since I work for an American manufacturing firm that is partly dependent on the automotive business, it's quite likely that the rates would outweigh the benefit.

But what about the alternative, single payer unemployment? Let's take a look at the other side of our 'bad' and 'worse' choices:
The [Ohio unemployment] fund could run dry early next year, potentially forcing the state to squeeze more tax revenue from businesses and to freeze benefits for laid-off workers, officials say.
Unlike healthcare, government sponsored unemployment insurance exacerbates the situation that it's seeking to treat:
When the fund sank below $2.2 billion in 2001, a series of automatic tax increases kicked in.
Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, the AFL-CIO's special assistant for policy and legislation, proposed a one-year fix -- raising the taxable wage base to $11,000, from $9,000; freezing the maximum benefits paid to the unemployed; and levying a 0.07 percent surcharge on Ohio businesses.
Increasing taxes, especially in a state taxed to the hilt to begin with, will hardly do much for creating jobs.
"The long and short of it is, if we had 150,000 more jobs, we wouldn't have the problem," Doehrel said.
It's always the little things isn't it?

It's worth pointing out that this mess has come about in a program that provides $300 a week in benefits to the unemployed, which is much, much better than nothing, but hardly get-rich money. I've seen pitches for private unemployment insurance, mostly having to do with loan specific* unemployment insurance, but every time I've looked into it, it's been real pricey and I've waved it off. Why bother if the government has me covered?

*My favorite was the outrageously priced home loan unemployment insurance that didn't even cover the loan while I would be unemployed, just the interest on the missed payments that would be punted to the end of the loan. The scam was obviously a gravy train for the home loan company who would at most have to take money out of one pocket and put it the other while the insuree got nothing substantial in return.

No comments: