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As of Sept. 5, most unemployed Americans will see their benefits expire, which could result in an estimated
income loss of $463 million per week, according to a report issued by the Center for New York City Affairs.
Photo by Andrew Kelly/REUTERS
It’s no secret that the economy’s in a far better
place now than it was during the height of the
COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 — when businesses
shuttered en masse, workers were laid off
and 20 percent of New York City’s workforce was out
of a job.
Massive infusions of government benefits helped
millions of people avoid abject poverty and suffering
at the height of the crisis. The economy began
reopening and the unemployment rate began to drop
significantly as people returned to work.
Still today, millions of Americans remain unemployed,
but they’re keeping food on their tables and
roofs over their heads because of the continued benefits.
But 7.5 million of these recipients — including
an estimated 800,000 in New York City alone — have
big trouble looming just around the corner.
As of Sept. 5, most of these unemployed Americans
will see their benefits expire; others will see
their benefits pared down to their state minimum as
the $300 weekly federal supplement also sunsets.
In New York City alone, according to a report issued
Aug. 26 by the Center for New York City Affairs,
this could result in an estimated income loss of $463
million per week. That’s a devastating hit not only
for those recipients who are about to lose their benefits,
but also the entire city’s economy.
It’s the equivalent of New York City losing 800,000
jobs overnight — something which happened in
March 2020. Back then, officials were scrambling for
a solution. Now, all is disturbingly quiet on the front.
The massive infusion of federal funding through
the American Rescue Plan earlier this year has given
New York enough resources to extend unemployment
benefits. Earlier this month, President Biden
previously encouraged individual states to tap into
federal resources in this manner. Certainly, such actions
would be far swifter than waiting on a divided
Congress to pass another round of extensions.
The new Hochul administration in Albany has
yet to indicate whether it would follow Biden’s advice,
but we feel that they may not have any other
choice but to do so. The Empire State stands to take
a catastrophic economic hit after Sept. 5 if these benefits
are allowed to expire.
A six-month or one-year extension buys time for
the economy to further heal, and for the state and federal
governments to develop a plan to get more people
back to work at higher wages they’ve long needed.
I am outraged over the anti-COVID-19 vaccination
protests around the country.
City, state and federal employees are now required
to get vaccinated, and if they don’t, they
could lose their jobs or be tested once a week for the
virus. The argument seems to be that it is a violation
of their constitutional rights and it violates their free
will. Now my question is how can a person have life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness when more than
615,000 people have gotten sick or died due to COVID
19, many of whom were not vaccinated against the
In my opinion, there seems to be too many people
who are concerned only about themselves and don’t
realize that an unvaccinated person can infect many
people, including one’s own family members.
Let me also point out that many of these same
people don’t want their children vaccinated and don’t
want them wearing masks in school. Another question:
Do they want to put their children’s lives at risk?
Let me also point out I’m 72 years old and my wife
is 68, and we have gotten both shots including our flu
shot earlier in the year. We also both wear masks in
public spaces. This was a good year for us, in that neither
of us got sick — not even a cold.
So, please, everyone listen to science and get vaccinated,
because those you love depend on you to do so.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Bellerose