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Unemployment benefits set to expire in advance of Christmas

by Adam Russett on December 1, 2010

With the holidays approaching many families are preparing for a time of celebration, but as unemployment benefits are set to run out for nearly 2 million Americans starting on Wednesday, the happiness of the Christmas season will likely be an afterthought.

Unemployment benefits had been extended for up to 99 weeks, but unless Congress approves another extension, they will run out by the end of the month, the Associated Press reports. Opponents of an extension, primarily Republicans and some conservative Democrats, say that fiscal responsibility should come before any extension of the benefits, and when there is a $13.8 trillion national debt, now is not the time.

However, experts say that should Congress extend unemployment benefits, its unlikely that it will be a long term fix, and that those who are struggling financially should instead focus on changing their lifestyle to make ends meet.

"We're going to have to have a new conversation with the people who are still suffering, about the potentially drastic changes they're going to have to make to stay out of the homeless shelter," Carol Hardison, executive director of Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina, told the news source.

Although some analysts claim that the economy is on its way to recovery, there has not been a jump in employment rates. October saw an addition of 150,000 jobs to the private sector, but according to the Federal Reserve, the rate might still hover around 9 percent at this time next year.

For many unemployed Americans, the holiday season is the last of their concerns. Forty-four year old Shawn Slonsky recently had to move back in with his father after his house went into foreclosure.

"It's hard to be in a jovial mood all the time when you've got this storm cloud hanging over your head," he told the news provider.

{ 1 comment }

Nick December 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

If they do this, they should not do it a holiday time. These people have enough to be worried about without having to wonder if their families will have a home to celebrate the holidays in.

Just my humble opinion.

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