That's the topic of this sobering article by Michael Fletcher. The econony bottom out about four years ago, but official unemployment rates -- which don't count the millions who have given up looking for work -- are still really high. That rate is 9.2% in North Carolina, and yet, because of what legislators claim is too great a budget burden, that state's legislature is poised to slash the maximum weekly benefit from $535 to $350, while limiting the duration of benefits to only 20 weeks (now at 26 weeks). (The average weekly benefit in the state will drop from $296 to $200.) North Carolina is not alone. According to Fletcher, other states cutting unemployment benefits in the last two years are Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas.