By Paul Kurtz

By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If automatic federal spending cuts go into effect this weekend, the long-term unemployed will be among the first to feel the pain.

Benefits to the long-term unemployed will be cut by 9.4 percent, beginning next week.  The White House says the adjustment will be made as soon as practical, most likely next week.

John Dodds of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project says it makes no sense to cut the benefits of the unemployed — for a number of reasons.

“This is money that immediately circulates back through the community. It stimulates the economy,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “One of the things that’s so frustrating is we still have a terrifically high unemployment rate, and to be making cuts to programs like this is only going to make things worse.”

Dodds is bracing for a tidal wave of phone calls next week if the cuts go through.

In Pennsylvania, this development comes as the state treasury department begins mailing out new debit cards for jobless benefits.  Along with the cards, officials are adding information leaflets informing recipients that the funds on the old cards will not transfer over to the new ones.   Recipients will have to use up the balance on the old card before throwing it away.

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