Business Breakfast: Unemployment Insurance Strikes Back


500 fruitbreakfast Just a Temporary Measure.jpg
Democrats are trying to extend unemployment insurance, again. Republicans are demanding that it not add to the deficit, again. Corporate profits are up, again. Home sales are depressing, again. Somebody on the Internet said Obama doesn't understand business ... again. At least the breakfast picture is refreshing.

1. President Obama: Pass the Danged Unemployment Benefits Bill: President Obama will turn up the pressure on the Senate to pass an extension of unemployment benefits Monday morning, according to a White House official, who said Obama will "tell the stories of Americans in need of the extension and he will have strong words for Republicans who have previously supported unemployment extensions under Republican Presidents but refuse to offer relief to middle class families today." [Politico]

2. 2,502,000 People Have Lost Access to Unemployment Benefits Since June 2: The Senate is expected next week to vote to extend unemployment benefits, but the delay has caused a lapse in benefits for some 2.5 million of the nation's jobless. Pending legislation doesn't extend the maximum beyond 99 weeks. It would have allowed those unemployed beyond 26 weeks to continue accessing the current program through the remainder of 2010. The previous extension expired on June 2. [WSJ]

3. The Democrats' Domestic Agenda, in a Nutshell: Democrats last week cited hopes to bring up an energy bill next week, move on the House-passed DISCLOSE Act tightening corporate and union campaign contribution limits, reauthorize FAA programs and vote on a new tax extenders bill. While acknowledging small chance of success this year, President Obama and some lawmakers still promote an immigration reform bill. [CongressDaily]

4. Profits Up, Consumers Down. How Can That Be? Just a week into second-quarter profits and it's clear America's biggest businesses are humming again. So why aren't things better at the kitchen table? For one thing, the nation's unemployment rate was 9.5% in June, down slightly from its April peak of 9.9%, as more out-of-work people gave up looking for work. The difficulty of looking for a job is compounded for those who can't sell their existing home and move to a new community for work. [WSJ]

5. How Obama Can Get Business to Trust Him: There is skepticism over the president's commitment to reducing the huge and dangerous budget deficits which America now faces. A strong step toward deficit reduction next year -- like undertaking the difficult task of trying to fix Social Security -- would earn deeper credibility with business and with all Americans. Another problem is that the administration's rhetoric -- which too often employs inflammatory words like "reckless" -- has the effect of tarring all of business with the same brush. The White House might better distinguish between Wall Street, Big Oil and health insurers, which have all incurred public wrath, and the majority of businesses, which haven't. [NYT]

Healthy breakfast image courtesy of Flickr: Just a Temporary Measure.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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