WASHINGTON, March 6 (UPI) -- Congressional lawmakers are considering a plan to create a national "wage insurance" program to help people who lose their job for almost any reason.
The plan, which has bipartisan support, supplements wages for workers who take new jobs at lower pay.
The program's goal is to give displaced workers "a strong incentive to search actively for new employment," even at lower pay, by "smoothing over" the reduction in income, Brookings Institution Global Economy and Development Director Lael Brainard told The Washington Post.
It also seeks to ease the anxieties of middle-class U.S. workers who feel threatened by the globalization of business and a churning U.S. labor market that creates and destroys about 30 million jobs a year, the newspaper said.
The idea expands a little-known government program to help manufacturing workers laid off due to international trade.
Expanding the program could cost $3.5 billion annually, which Brainard says could be covered by adding $25 to every worker's annual unemployment tax.