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Help for the unemployed needs to come now

According to the most recent report, more than 187,000 Buckeye State residents filed new unemployment compensation claims last week. Across the river, more than 41,000 West Virginians filed new claims.

Behind those numbers are a multitude of small businesses, sometimes very small, that are hurting.

Nearly all of the financial pain and suffering is linked to the COVID-19 epidemic. The outbreak has forced many businesses to curtail operations sharply. They have no choice but to lay off many of their employees. For those who were managing to stay above water by not having any other employees, the situation may be even worse.

In both states and at the federal level, massive assistance for the unemployed and small businesses has been pledged.

It needs to be provided speedily and with a minimum of bureaucratic red tape. Anyone who has ever dealt with mountains of paperwork for government programs understands how daunting it can be.

Safeguards to ensure only those who are eligible for coronavirus-related assistance are needed, of course. Unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous people eager to take advantage of taxpayers’ generosity.

Surely ways can be found to expedite the various processes, however. Genuine efforts to do that are necessary.

People affected by the financial slowdown need help quickly — not on King Bureaucracy’s schedule.

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