GOP wrong on unemployment insurance

January 14, 2010

Well, the Republicans are at it again. This time they want to deny help to part-time workers who lose their jobs. What's next on their agenda? Beating puppy dogs with baseball bats?

Maryland Del. Donna Stifler -- in a January 12 Associated Press article -- claims that employers are not hiring because too much of their money is going into the state's unemployment insurance trust fund. But according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation's website, the current cost to employers is $187 to $1,147.50 per employee per calendar year. Would lowering that rate really induce companies to hire more people?

Let's say you have 50 employees and you pay an average of $700 per employee per year. This means you are currently paying $35,000 per year to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Now let's say that tax rate is cut in half, so you pay only $17,500. Will the $17,500 you just saved motivate you to hire someone? If so, what salary are you going to pay this new person, and how much are you going to spend on their health benefits?

Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell -- in the same AP article -- states that there is "broad support" in the Republican Party for repealing unemployment assistance for part-time workers who are laid off. So, Mr. O'Donnell, what is the Republican Party's answer to people who take part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time work, or who have had their hours reduced to less than full-time by their employers because of the recession, and then lose their jobs altogether? Now, before you answer, remember that -- according to the U.S. Department of Labor -- there are currently six job seekers for each job opening.

Will Delegates Stifler and O'Donnell at least distribute tin cups to laid-off workers?

Brent McKee, Arnold

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