Republicans slash unemployment benefits. Where will the suffering be worst?

7 mins read
Where will Republican cuts to unemployment benefits be the most devastating?

Republican cruelty to the poor to please their corporate donors has no limits.

Republican Governors play politics and slash unemployment benefits to sabotage the recovery brought about President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act – even if it devastates the lives of 4 million workers.

“Federal unemployment programs that added extra weekly money and extended benefits to those who wouldn’t normally receive them, such as freelancers and people who have been unemployed long-term, were put in place in response to the pandemic. They were supposed to end in September. Now 25 Republican-led state are cutting them off as early, arguing that the extra support is no longer needed.” – VOX These are the same Republicans who also oppose a minimum wage for the working poor!

We mapped the states cutting unemployment benefits with ArcGIS Online ($150/year for non-profits). What is the unemployment rates in those states? Who is the Republican Governor making these cuts in benefits? How much does the Governor get paid from tax payer money? How can residents contact them? This blog also explains how to make data easier to understand, navigate, share and include calls to action.

Republicans are cutting unemployment benefits that their residents are entitled to in order to sabotage the recovery brought about President Biden's America Rescue Plan.

use the map

Watch the GIF

Workers face premature cut to benefits

“Nearly three in four recipients of unemployment benefits will be prematurely and totally cut off from Congressionally authorized payments in the states ending all pandemic programs early. These premature and cruel benefit cuts will harm all workers who need them, the brunt of the impact will be felt by Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other people of color. These governors will also hamper their states’ economic recoveries by refusing an estimated $22 billion in funds. Main Street businesses will also pay the price of these reckless and politically motivated actions.” – NELP

National Employment Law Project (NELP)
NELP fights for policies to create good jobs, expand access to work, and strengthen protections and support for low-wage workers and unemployed workers. For fifty years, it has sought to ensure that America upholds, for all workers, the promise of opportunity and economic security through work.Support NELP

Slashing unemployment benefits

“Corporate profits, on the other hand, have been rising rapidly and now make up a larger share of G.D.P. than in previous decades. As a result, most companies can afford to respond to a growing economy by raising wages and continuing to make profits. When a company is struggling to find enough labor, it can solve the problem by offering to pay a higher price for that labor — also known as higher wages. More workers will then enter the labor market. Suddenly, the labor shortage will be no more.” – NYT

“Several studies have examined the connection between benefits and unemployed people returning to work. In February, a study by JPMorgan Chase Institute found little evidence that increased benefits discouraged people from returning to the job. It found after Congress boosted supplemental insurance to $600 last spring at the onset of the pandemic, many jobless workers who received the money returned to work before the supplement expired.” – CBS News  

“There are racial undertones of what’s happening with unemployment: Many of the states cutting off pandemic programs early are those with many Black workers, and they’re also often the states with the stingiest and hardest-to-navigate unemployment systems. “At the root of all this is this narrative that Americans have to be forced to go to work, and it is completely and totally rooted in structural racism,” Dixon said. “Because who was being forced to work in the 1800s? Black people.” – VOX

Party of the rich, by the rich, for the rich

Billionaires control Republican politicians through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC

Make data understandable

This map is designed with ArcGIS Online and consists of three layers overlaid on each other.
1. State boundaries
2. Unemployment rate by county with data from Living Atlas
3. Republican Governor of the state and their tax payer funded salary

The map can be freely shared with this link
Or embedded in a web site with this code: < iframe width=”300″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen src=”″>

Map shows Republican Governors cutting unemployment benefits along with the unemployment rate in those counties.

Design for engagement

This map is designed to share information and inspire readers to take action.
1. Splash screen – appears before the map is seen and frames the issue
2. Map bookmarks – lets readers quickly to different parts of the map
3. Links to share – The SHARE button provides a link to share the map on social media
4. Call to action – The INFO BOX offers more details and links with a call to action

Splash Screen frames the issue before readers see the map

Splash screen

Bookmarks make it easy to navigate and find unemployment rates in counties

Map bookmarks

Links make it easy to share the map on social media and embed it into other web sites

Links to share and embed map

Information box provides details on the issue and links with call to action

Info box with details and call to action


Details on benefits cuts by state – Time Magazine
Expert analysis on cruelty of these cuts – VOX
Governor salaries – Ladders
How to contact your Governor –
Visuals – Political Cartoons

TakeAway: Explain the unemployment benefit cuts with a data rich map using ArcGIS Online. Get pro bono mapping help for social justice and voting rights projects here.


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