No one can ever accuse me of not being sympathetic with the unemployed. I've been there. I know the feeling of despair that comes with not supporting yourself financially. I know how much of a man's ego is tied up in productive work. I know the shame. I am not unsympathetic. I can empathize.
Two years of unemployment benefits, though? That just seems so extreme. I don't know where the line is, but it seems that two years is beyond the "temporarily unemployed" phase. At some point it's time to admit that you're not "temporarily unemployed" anymore, that the situation itself isn't all that temporary, and that you belong on some other type of public assistance. We shouldn't pretend, even though pretending makes the politicians feel better.
Neither should we pretend, a la Nancy Pelosi, that paying and extending unemployment benefits helps the economy. The money certainly helps the individuals and families to whom it is paid, but using Pelosi's logic, why would anyone work? If giving money to some is good for the economy, giving it to everyone would be awesome, wouldn't it? Not necessarily:
New academic research released last week showing that extending unemployment benefits is a net economic drag could strengthen the conservative case against extending those benefits at the federal level.Welfare was limited in the mid-90s with positive results. There should be similar considerations made here.
Congress allowed benefits for the long-term unemployed to expire at the end of 2013 as part of a larger budget deal. Democrats have offered proposals to extend the benefits.
The latest legislation, a 10-month extension with budget offsets, was held up in the Senate on Thursday after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) blocked Republicans from offering amendments.
The liberal case for an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed rests on the supposed simulative effect of greater disposable income for the unemployed.
The new study, conducted by economists at the University of Pennsylvania and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, contends that any such stimulus is dwarfed by the economic damage done by extending jobless benefits.