Solving unemployment benefits

I've been lucky.

Aside from being on the picket line a few times during my career (and I did receive strike benefits) I have never been unemployed for more than three months.

Those three months came early in my career, jobs were plentiful, I took my own sweet time and spent some of that time at Belmont race track where a friend introduced me to the sport of kings.

I never bet much, usually favorites to place. I never made much, but never lost much either.

Then -- boom! I was back at work. I never missed a rent payment and the kids were very young with no pressing needs. I also had parents who would have made me no-interest loans to get me through.

I was lucky.

Today, we "officially" have some 11 million Americans jobless, with the actual number higher and the slowly-rising number of jobs created  mostly low-wage.

If you believe, as I do, that most Americans want to work, and are not shiftless layabouts, then it is wrong to punish the long-term unemployed by cutting off unemployment benefits.

I know fiscal hawks think handing out money is a bad deal, so how about this:

After the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits expire, all benefits after that will come as a long-term, low-interest loan, like a student loan, that must  be paid back over time. Kind of like what my parents would have done.

This would provide support to the unemployed families -- who will get to keep their homes, their cars and food on the table (a social good) -- and provides for the taxpayer to be reimbursed (a fiscal good).

Is this an acceptable deal?