Snyder to slash unemployment benefits, practice “tough love”

Earlier this evening, I received the following from Mark Brewer, the chair of the Michigan Democratic party.

Today, Governor Snyder signed a bill slashing unemployment benefits for potentially hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers in Michigan and making Michigan the only state in the nation to have fewer than 26 weeks of benefits. The new law cuts state benefits to only 20 weeks and eliminates 16 weeks of benefits covered by the federal government.

How can Republicans cut these benefits in this economic climate? Their attitude toward unemployed workers was exemplified by Republican State Representative Ken Yonker who said that unemployed workers would, “rather be on their unemployment (than working). So, sometimes we’ve got to have tough love.”

Tough love? For hundreds of thousands who are out of work by no fault of their own? Tough love? For Michigan families who are struggling to feed their children and make their mortgage payments? Tough love? This isn’t tough love – it is another Republican attack on the working people of Michigan.

Governor Snyder and the Republicans just don’t get it. Email or call Governor Snyder at (517) 373-3400 and tell him to support legislation restoring these benefits. Tell him we can’t be cutting benefits when families need them most.

Help us fight this law and the Republican agenda in Lansing. Volunteer, donate, or join the Party. You can also follow us on facebook and twitter to learn how you can join the fight. The Democratic comeback is underway. Let’s keep the momentum going.

My first thought was that Brewer must be exaggerating, but I’ve just found confirmation in the New York Times. Here’s a clip:

Michigan, whose unemployment rate has topped 10 percent longer than that of any other state, is about to set another record: its new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, signed a law Monday that will lead the state to pay fewer weeks of unemployment benefits next year than any other state…

The measure, passed by a Republican-led Legislature, took advocates for the unemployed by surprise: the language cutting benefits next year was slipped quietly into a bill that was originally sold as way to preserve unemployment benefits this year…

“It turns the clock back 50 years at a time when unemployment is at historic highs since the Depression,” Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said in an interview, adding that he worried that the state would set a precedent that would be followed by other states, including Florida, that are thinking of curtailing their unemployment programs. “I think that Michigan should not be to unemployment insurance what Wisconsin has become to collective bargaining.”

But Republicans and business groups said that cutting benefits was necessary, because the state’s unemployment trust fund, which was ill-prepared to cope with the Great Recession, is insolvent. The state owes the federal government nearly $4 billion that it borrowed to keep its program afloat, and unemployment taxes on businesses have already been raised, and will need to be raised more, to repay the money. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce called the new law “a huge win for job providers,” and said it could save up to $300 million a year…

And, here’s the funniest part, the headline of the news release issued by the Governor’s office had the following headline… “Snyder Signs Bill to Protect Unemployed.”

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  1. Mr. X
    Posted March 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I know they’re calling it “tough love”, but it sure feels like getting fucked.

  2. dragon
    Posted March 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Has Snyder signed the Democrats are Big Smelly PoopyFaces Bill yet?

  3. Knox
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    As much as I hated Mike Cox, it’s hard to imagine that he would have been any more aggressive.

  4. Edward
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I have no problem with trimming where necessary, but these things should be discussed in the open, not tucked into bills, and rammed through without notice. This is not how democracy is supposed to work.

    From the Michigan Messenger:

    Rep. Barb Byrum submitted an amendment to block the Senate action but it was voted down in the House.

    “I am appalled by Republicans’ fast-track gimmicks to ram this plan through the Legislature without allowing any time for debate,” Byrum said. “We must support our displaced workers so they can buy food for their children and pay the bills. We should focus on passing legislation that will help them get back on their feet and get jobs – not make it harder. I urge House Republicans to do the right thing for our working families and keep these unemployment benefits unchanged so that tens of thousands of families don’t get hit with an even heavier burden at a time when they can least afford it.”

  5. Mr. X
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I think it’s worth noting that this change, at least as I read it, wouldn’t save the state any money. It would, however, help those businesses laying off people, as they’re the ones who pay into the system.

  6. Aaron B.
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Well not to be a defender of the Gov. but it will all come down to jobs and if they really come to Michigan… we will seen. If they don’t then a lot of folks are screwed.

  7. Kim
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Snyder just wants to move farther up on the list of America’s eight worst governors.

  8. Redleg
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    This is one that really steams me, and affects me directly as I am employed as a “seasonal worker”.
    I work in the asphalt and concrete field of construction. My season (depending on the weather) runs from late April thru early December (at best). This means I am laid off anywhere from 24 to 26 weeks annually. Working for an independent asphalt company, our season is determined by the large corporate asphalt plants from which we draw our product to do our projects (driveways, P-lots and such). No plants running during the winter basically means no work– Asphalt is meant to be put down hot, which during say February, ain’t happening. By the time your truck pulls a load from a plant in cold weather and is delivered to some job X miles away, you have very little time with “useable product” before it becomes lumpy and chunky. Throw in the weight restrictions that limit trucks to about one half of their load capacity from March until May, doing my work makes even less sense, hence the seasonal shutdown of my industry.
    Mark, some of your readers may say “Well get another job dumb-ass!” and your republican trolls would want me flipping burgers instead of pulling unemployment from their wallets, during my seasonal shutdown– But in this economy thats a crapshoot, and anyway I pay taxes too, and all those weeks of unemployment slam me at tax time, which, of course is right in the middle of my unemployment period.
    Then why stick with it? Because when I’m employed, I admittedly pull a good wage– Nearly as good as an upper tiered autoworker, and much better income than most retail work, even when I factor in my long layoff. And I’m good at, and I like my job (most days).
    Also, I would touch on that in construction like in other fields, there is a not so subtle movement by employers to replace their workers with undocumented workers that would “go home” or at least go away when their seasonal work ends, thus causing no problems for management– Much like so many agricultural workers these days..

  9. Kim
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Snyder responds.

    Thank you for contacting the Executive Office of the Governor regarding unemployment benefits in Michigan and HB 4408. I appreciate your time in writing and your willingness to participate in the democratic process.

    Presently, job providers finance 100 percent of the costs of the unemployment program. HB 4408 will allow job providers to redirect their limited financial resources to potentially rehire those currently receiving assistance.

    HB 4408 makes a practical change to the state’s unemployment insurance program. This change allows workers to remain eligible for extended benefits through the federal government. We had to move swiftly to ensure 150,000 Michiganders would not be affected at the end of this year. This practical change will help over 37,000 jobless workers keep benefits they would have lost starting April 2.

    Reinventing Michigan demands that we break the bad habits of the past and embrace opportunities for our future. As your governor, I will continue to work tirelessly to help turn around Michigan’s economy. I will continue to fight to create more and better jobs so that we can hopefully reduce the need for unemployment in the first place.

    Again, thank you for sharing your concerns with me on these important matters. Should you have any further comments or concerns regarding this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 517-335-7858.


    Rick Snyder

  10. Holly Khow
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear.

  11. Holly Khow
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    This as well:,-other-states-seek-same-devil-take-the-hindmost-approach

  12. Dirtgrain
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Driving to work, I heard on NPR that Snyder claimed that he wanted a longer number of weeks before cutting off benefits, but he had to deal with a Republican congress that wouldn’t budge. I laughed at that one–as if he isn’t in league with them.

  13. Elf
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes, he wants desperately to stand up for the working poor, the elderly and the unemployed, but those bad old Republicans won’t let him. I totally buy that.

  14. TaterSalad
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Can you understand this Public Sector Unions? Your time has passed, get over it. The taxpayers who pay your wages, benefits and legacy costs are broke and tired of footing your extravagant life styles and here is an example of who supports who:

  15. TaterSalad
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Well, at least Snyder is a natural born citizens:

    The Fraud has been committed and now it has been revealed:

    1. Our own Con-Man and he is our President and here is why:

    2. Birth Announcements:

    3. Obama stating to a forum, before his election to the Presidency that he “was NOT born in Hawaii”. what else needs to be said to the liberal left wing that he is an “imposture”?


    5. http://tpartyus2010.

    6. Removing President Obama from politics will also get rid America of socialism at the highest level of government. America must be vigilant now and in the future.

    Photo Shopped picture committing fraud again!

    a. Click on this video that you probably have seen before.

    b. Run/drag the cursor plug up to the 3:30 mark and stop

    c. Right click the mouse and hold and run the video up to 3:40 and then back to 3:30 doing this numerous times.

    d. This proves the picture was photo-shopped and Obama was inserted into the picture



    9. I am a Muslim:

    10. My Muslim faith:

    11. On September 17, President Barack Obama spoke to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 33rd Annual Award Gala. During his speech – reading from a teleprompter – he quoted from the Declaration of Independence. Here is what he said: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights, life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Pay attention to the look on his face as he leaves out part of the Declaration. Why is a man who says he’s a Christian unwilling to speak the words as written? Maybe because he’s not a Christian, but a Muslim, for whom it would be blasphemy to speak of any other God but Allah.

    Please forward if you agree this is important for every American to witness.

    12. Hawaii election clerk story:

  16. Citywatch
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    OK we are now all aware that Snyder and the state Republicans as well as other Republican Governors are dismantling not just the social safety network but much of what we call democratic rights and principles. What action steps are we going to take to counter this effort? Blogging and letter writing seems passive and ineffective. The Tea Party is out and about to be sure. The idea that Republicans are going to somehow “come to their senses” and change this immoral direction is unlikely. So any suggestions?

  17. Tiffany
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    I am not saying I completely agree with the gov, but yes some of these people lost their jobs by no fault of their own, and yes some of them would rather be sitting on their butts collecting unemployment when they could be working. there are jobs out there, its the minimum wage jobs that suck, that nobody wants to do, but they are there. if that means that some of these unemployed people have to get rid of stuff, like boats, RV’s, second houses……then so be it. People are just down right getting lazy in Michigan, and I am glad that someone is finally doing something about it, get them motivated and their butts of the couch and into a job.

  18. Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Tiffany, exactly what the fuck are you talking about?

One Trackback

  1. By I am disappointed in you, my fellow Michiganders on November 6, 2014 at 9:03 am

    […] thought that our working men and women would have voted against him for slashing unemployment benefits and signing anti-union “right to work” legislation into law after promising repeatedly […]

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