Thursday Open Line

As the Great Depression approached its worst, Wisconsin made the nation’s first governmental direct relief effort for the unemployed. On this date in 1932, it enacted unemployment insurance, soon followed by a half-dozen other states before the Social Security Act in mid-decade moved all states to adopt such programs by 1937. Wisconsin’s program issued its first unemployment check in August in the amount of $15. By 2012, states and local governments took in over $80 billion from the payroll tax to fund unemployment insurance. But they spent nearly $96 billion in such assistance. States have $256 billion in combined insurance trust funds, but an aggregate deficit of $18 billion for covering unemployment. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <>.