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The Long Term Unemployed & Sports Monday: Houston Matters for Mon. Jan. 13, 2014

As politicians in Washington continue to haggle over the restoration of long-term unemployment benefits, more than a million Americans have stopped receiving checks. On the one hand, the long-term unemployed are likely to be those most at financial risk, and so most in need of help. They also could impact the economy for the rest […]

As politicians in Washington continue to haggle over the restoration of long-term unemployment benefits, more than a million Americans have stopped receiving checks. On the one hand, the long-term unemployed are likely to be those most at financial risk, and so most in need of help. They also could impact the economy for the rest of us by conserving their spending to such a point that grocery stores sell less food, gas stations sell less gas, restaurants see less business. On the other hand, long-term unemployment compensation, at some levels, can be a disincentive (to some who would otherwise be employable) to find that next job.

Where is the line between a financial safety net and unchecked welfare? Should we do more for Houston’s long-term unemployed? Or should we do less? We’re in a city with high employment, a strong economy, and employers actively seeking new hires, so why can’t the long-term unemployed find work?

On this edition of Houston Matters, we consider the challenge of determining how best to help long-term unemployed Houstonians, and seek to understand what happens to someone out of work for a more extended period of time.

Plus: The Houston Rockets are in Boston to take on the Celtics, during another three-games-in-four-nights stretch. Last week, in a similar stretch, they took two of three. Meanwhile, rumors swirl around some big names possibly joining the Houston Texans coaching staff. We’ll check in with CultureMap Houston sports columnist MK Bower about who’s committed, who’s rumored, and what, if anything, it might signal about the direction new head coach Bill O’Brien wants to take the team.

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