After months of gridlock and game-playing, the nation's political leaders are finally providing modest help to the unemployed. Under this plan, about three million people will get extended jobless benefits during the next year. In short, official Washington has belatedly tuned in to the human side of this sickly economy: the 300,000 people per month who exhaust their benefits without landing a job.
Thus even as the politicians keep fighting over who gets the credit, the key is that idled workers are about to get help. Based on recent levels of unemployment, Pennsylvanians will get an additional 13 weeks, while people in New Jersey get 20 weeks. (In states with relatively high unemployment, extended benefits will go not only to people who exhaust their 26 weeks of benefits in the future, but also to unemployed people whose benefits lapsed earlier this year - anytime after March 1.)