Monday, January 26, 2015

Conservatives Right Again on Extended Unemployment Benefits

A day barely goes by without an example where a conservative assertion is vindicated and a liberal idea crashes and burns.  Does anyone remember the debate about extended unemployment benefits for the recalcitrant?  Oh yeah, tea partiers and conservatives were called heartless bastards by every newspaper editor across the country.  We were accused of stealing food out of the mouths of children and throwing people out on the streets. 

How dare we demand people get a job in an economy like this?  Well guess what?  The job creation rate Barack Obama took credit for had nothing to do with his policies.  It happened because we took away the teat.  The Washington Examiner reported the following:

Sixty percent of job creation in 2014 was caused by the expiration of unemployment benefits, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In late 2013, a standoff between Republicans and Democrats led to the abrupt expiration of long-term unemployment benefits. Democrats warned that the expiration would have disastrous ramifications, but Republicans had long argued that allowing Americans to collect unemployment benefits for an indefinite period of time provided a disincentive for them to work.

The new new working paper found that the expiration of benefits was responsible for the creation of over 1.8 million jobs. Nearly 1 million of those jobs were created by workers who would have otherwise stayed out of the labor force if unemployment benefits had been extended. Overall, almost 3 million jobs were created in 2014

“The negative effects of unemployment benefit extensions on employment far outweighs the potential stimulative effects often ascribed to this policy,” the study said.

It found that "the dominant impact of the benefit cut on employment was not driven by a contraction in the labor force —unemployed dropping out of the labor force because they were no longer entitled to benefits — but instead by those previously not participating in the labor market deciding to enter the labor force."

So 60% of job creation was caused by people getting off the public dole and getting a job.  Well, who’d a thought that?  Not the Observers that infest the state of North Carolina.  Here is an excerpt from the News and Observer:

 The unemployed searching in a still tight job market will have less time to find a job in their field or one that suits their skills. When their shrunken unemployment checks run out, they’ll have to take whatever job they can find, usually at a pay level well below what they previously earned.

This is a Dickensian level of callousness toward North Carolinians facing an income crisis, but what makes it particularly irksome is that Republicans are hailing it as a jobs program. In July 2013, Republican lawmakers began punishing the jobless who were fortunate enough to qualify for unemployment benefits. The federal government was offering to pay for extended unemployment benefits so long as states didn’t change their unemployment programs. North Carolina’s lawmakers changed the program anyway, cutting off about 70,000 people from the federal benefits. North Carolina was the only state to do so.

And this one:

Surely there are some in the tea party movement who have at one time been unexpectedly unemployed or have known people who were. And yet the “movement,” such as it is, continues to lead the Republican Party down a hard-line and, yes, hard-hearted path.

Specifically, tea partyers don’t like a federal program that extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. The anti-attitude was that people were goofing off and not looking for work because they could stay on the unemployment compensation dole. In North Carolina, Republican legislators altered the benefits, lowering the time people could receive help and cutting the maximum payment, on the misguided logic that if people ran out of benefits, they’d be more motivated to seek work.

It looks like they were motivated to seek work!  Is that Dickensian?  I would say more like Ayn Randian.  How many strikes does it take for a liberal to admit they are constantly wrong?  Definitely, not three. 


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