More than a year ago, JLF recognized a big problem with NC’s unemployment insurance program. In short, due to poor financial planning, NC was unable to pay for bloated benefits, and incurred a $2.7B debt to the federal government we needed to get out from under. Another government program out of control.

As Hood said in a recent Daily Journal entry, “The UI system is designed to buffer workers from the short-term effects of sudden job loss. It was never designed to be a source of long-term public assistance.”

Kudos to the General Assembly and the governor for scaling back the UI benefits to reasonable levels that are more fiscally responsible while offering a bridge, not long-term dependency to unemployed.

And our friends on the left have gone wild critisizing the scale backs, urging lawmakers to extend benefits with more federal money, saying the General Assembly have turned their backs on the unemployed.

This morning, the Triangle Business Journal reports:

North Carolina’s unemployment insurance (UI) system made estimated improper payments of $179 million in 2012, says the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a new report.

Roughly 42 percent of those payouts went to people who accepted the benefits after returning to work, says the agency, while 36 percent went to people who were later judged not to have been eligible.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now.  We ought not be expanding government programs that are wasting money. If it’s broke, fix it.