Imagine that you are out of work. You have a family to support, house payments to make. The bills are piling up: health insurance, car payments, credit cards. Your only probable source of income is that little check from the EDD (Employment Development Department).
And you filed your claim one or two months back and you still haven’t heard from them. Nothing comes in the mail, and you try and try to call , and all you get is a recorded message telling you to call back on another day.
This is the experience of people who deal with the horribly, tragically, willfully neglected unemployment insurance fund of the State of California. According to an article in the LA Times:
“Millions of calls to state unemployment insurance processing centers continue to go unanswered, a problem first reported by The Times in April. A 30-year-old computer system is overloaded, and stressed clerks are swamped by backlogged applications.”
The article quotes two jobless men who made hundreds of calls a piece, unanswered, to the EDD, trying to get action on their claims.
“California’s unemployment insurance fund, which is funded by payroll taxes paid by employers, is expected to run short of cash within two weeks. The state is paying out $30 million to $34 million a day in benefits. During the week of Jan. 5, its balance fell from about $500 million to $270 million.,” the article said.
MY SOLUTION: A GAS TAX
California should impose a 10% surcharge tax on all gasoline. If someone fills up with $35 worth of gas, they would pay an extra $3.50 which would go to finance the EDD.
The less gasoline that Californians waste, the lower the price of fuel will become. In about six months, the fund could collect tens of millions of dollars, while helping reduce pollution, traffic and wasteful driving.
This is a gutsy, and frankly politically daring move, but one that has to be done. Gas is now only $2.00 a gallon, I’m seeing a new resurgence of SUVs all over Los Angeles, proving that some people have money to spend on useless and wasteful forms of transportation, while others have nothing to eat and are struggling to find a way to earn a living.