The practice of bloodletting as a way of treating illness was popular for centuries before it was discontinued in the early 20th century. The practice involved piercing or cutting the patient and allowing the blood to drain from his or her body until they fainted. It was finally discontinued when the medical profession realized it was killing more people than it was curing.
Back in February a North Carolina bill was signed into law that is the economic equivalent of bloodletting. The law, which went into effect on June 30, reduces the weeks our state’s unemployed are eligible for funds –26 to 19—and cuts the maximum weekly benefits, before taxes, from $535 to $350. The average received is closer to $299. The law disqualifies the state from receiving federal money for the unemployed, money that would have added more than $500 million to our economy. The law is permanent.
By the end of this year an additional 100,000 of our state’s unemployed will also lose their benefits. One in 10 of those are veterans.
I recently read where three in 10 of our state’s children now live in poverty and that North Carolina ranks 35th in child well-being. Thanks in large part to the passage of this heartless law, these figures will probably increase in the months ahead.
In May North Carolina, which now has the fifth highest rate of unemployment in the nation, saw its joblessness increase in 87 of its 100 counties, including Guilford and Davidson.
The law seems to be a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Our state’s legislators probably should have initiated their job-creation plan before cutting the safety net out from under our unemployed.
Those who submitted themselves to bloodletting in the past, did so voluntarily. The economic equivalent now being practiced in North Carolina is involuntary. But the end results will be the same.