For unemployed Americans, the new year was not a good one.
With the ushering in of 2014, many of America’s unemployed saw a sudden and terrifying cut to their long-term federal benefits. On December 28th, 1.3 million Americans battling long-term unemployment — that is, unemployment lasting longer than 6 months — suddenly found that the federal program that provided them with unemployment benefits had expired. And with that came the loss of critical income that has helped buoy these unemployed Americans through one of the toughest economic recessions in this nation’s history.
As the supposed Model Minority, Asian Americans are typically lauded as hard-working members of the workforce, and cited as reasons why unemployment benefits are unnecessary. Republicans frequently parade the Asian American community — and our below-average aggregate unemployment rate of ~6% — as reason to stop federal programs aimed to help this nation’s poor.
And, surprisingly, few Asian Americans have taken up the cause for maintaining or extending benefits for unemployed Americans. Yet, when we dig deeper into the statistics, there is ample evidence to suggest that cuts to long-term unemployment benefits should be a major cause for concern for the Asian American community.