The Edmond Sun


April 14, 2014

Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

LOS ANGELES — How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

Federal jobless benefits, which are provided only in times of high unemployment, kick in after people have exhausted their state benefits, which typically last for six months. The federal help available in each state gradually shrinks as the economy there improves. As a consequence, the average amount of federal aid offered fell from 59 weeks in January 2012 to 29 weeks in December 2013. But rather than allow this process to run its course, Congress let the federal program expire at the end of December, cutting off aid to 1.3 million laid-off workers.

While most lawmakers seemed to want to continue the aid, opponents have offered a variety of reasons not to do so. Lately they’ve questioned the feasibility of making the benefits retroactive. According to an advocacy group for the state agencies that would administer the aid, it would be nearly impossible to determine whether laid-off workers had continued to search for jobs — a prerequisite for receiving aid — during the months without benefits. Yet the federal government has retroactively provided benefits before and there’s a set of guidelines in place for determining eligibility.

More fundamentally, some Republicans have argued that the benefits discouraged people from looking for work. Although economists are split on this issue, opponents of extended benefits note that North Carolina’s employment grew rapidly last year after it slashed the number of weeks of aid it offered. But its workforce shrank too, as many of the unemployed simply stopped trying to find a job. And in the three months since the federal benefits stopped, there has been no real diminution in the number of long-term unemployed and no notable change in the pace of the unemployed finding work. The unfortunate reality is that there still are far more people looking for jobs than there are openings.

With Republicans from high-unemployment states lobbying for the aid, the Senate finally broke through the partisan logjam this week to pass a bill to retroactively restore the federal benefits. That bill would lapse at the end of May, however, regardless of how much better the job market was. Meanwhile, top House Republicans insist that any extension in federal benefits be combined with an effort to boost employment — for example, by renewing a tax break for companies that invest in new equipment. Democrats should be open to such a deal, provided that the GOP is sincere about creating jobs and not just trying to score political points. And both sides should be willing to let the program fade out as each state’s employment picture brightens, rather than fighting every few months over temporary relief.

Text Only
  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results