The length of unemployment compensation has been a hot topic as of late. Most Democrats believe that it should maintain the 99-week duration it currently holds while many Republicans disagree completely, stating that long-term unemployment compensation only increases dependence on government assistance. Newt Gingrich, however, claims there is a better way to deal with the entire situation that doesn’t necessarily shorten or lengthen the benefits.
Gingrich suggests that all unemployment compensation should be tied to a job training requirement. The current 99-week duration of benefits is the same amount of time required to complete an associates degree, so why not use the time you’re unemployed to your advantage? “If somebody can’t find a job, and they show up and they say, “You know, I need help,” the help we ought to give them is to get them connected to a business-run training program to acquire the skills to be employable. Now the fact is, 99 weeks is an associate degree,” said Gingrich to a crowd full of applause. Adding, “we actually think saying to somebody, “I’ll help you if you’re willing to help yourself,” is good.”
His plan makes sense and making moves to changing a system rather than prolonging it can make all the difference. If an unemployed job seeker truly wants to get back into the job market, then adding to their skill set while receiving unemployment compensation can only make them more marketable to employers and will likely get them hired faster. Take a look at the video highlighting this part of the debate and decide what you think. Is this a better alternative?