What’s the easiest way to reduce the nations unemployment rate short of actually creating jobs? You simply allow the federal extension of unemployment benefits to expire as Congress just did Dec. 27th. This is what is considered an exercise in behavior modification. Two results are likely to emerge. One is that people who have been enjoying some government cheese while reclined in their favorite easy chair will now be motivated to actually go out and get a job. In particular, one in which the pay differential previously was not great enough above the benefit check amount to generate said motivation. Secondly, we will see yet another decrease in the labor participation rate as more will choose to give up the job search in favor of cheese from another source.
The resulting decline in the official unemployment rate will allow President Obama to chirp even more about the success of his never resting mission to employ the middle class. With two more groups scheduled to lose benefits later this year bringing the total to 5 million overall, one would suspect this opinion as well as all the others rendered will be moot. It’s more likely that Congress will “see” the light in an election year and come together to re-instate the extensions.
Which brings me the point. This is being sold as a morality issue.
“Neglecting to extend this vital lifeline to millions of workers is simply immoral” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
One has to appreciate the attempt by our state-run media to once again run interference for the President’s woeful record on job creation which is the reason for our discussion here today. Take this article from Bloomberg.
The economics are largely positive. Congress has extended long-term jobless benefits — meaning, beyond the normal 26 weeks — 11 times since the recent recession, with President George W. Bush making the first request in 2008. Employment, tax revenue and gross domestic product have all been greater because of extended benefits. The Congressional Budget Office says the same would be true for 2014 if Congress spent the $25 billion needed to maintain benefits through the year.
As always, there are downsides. Long-term unemployment benefits have cost taxpayers $255 billion since 2008, increasing the national debt. But debt keeps declining as the economic recovery picks up steam, and the stimulus that unemployment benefits provides will keep the virtuous cycle going next year.
Without unemployment insurance, the almost 5 million long-term jobless will become all but invisible, statistically speaking. Workers whose benefits are cut off are likely to stop looking for jobs and therefore won’t be counted in the official statistics.
Wow! Positive economics, increased employment, tax revenue and GDP all because of increasing our deficits and debt for an income redistribution program. As always, we have to ask this question. If a little is good, why not more? Much more? If a relatively meager unemployment check is enough to stimulate our economy so effectively, why would you not double down and really push it? The masses are protesting for a $15 per hour minimum wage, why not protest for an equivalent unemployment check? At $15 per hour, a 40 hour check should yield $600 per week. Don’t our unemployed ‘deserve’ a living wage as well?
Oh, and don’t be concerned about the 5 million stealing Sauron’s ring and becoming invisible. Taxpayers across the nation will be paying the fare in some other fashion for those who don’t ‘find’ one of those elusive jobs.
Nancy Pelosi has been regurgitating liberal economist drivel for years touting stimulus spending as having a return on investment of at least 1.5 meaning for every dollar spent, we see an increase in growth of a buck and a half. Again, why not spend much much more? The answer is of course that it doesn’t work which Nancy Pelosi knows quite well. That little fact doesn’t fit the narrative however.
What is lost in the entire debate about morality in ending benefit programs are the voices of those without a voice. Meaning future generations, some who haven’t even been born yet, who will have to pay the bill. Is it any more moral to enact taxation without representation to our youth than it is to fail to extend a welfare program into perpetuity? The fact is that Nancy Pelosi and her ilk aren’t seeking the votes of those future generations so their concerns go unfounded. As always with most Americans and the political environment we live in, we live in the moment and bailouts of the current generation for past misgivings are paid for by future generations.
Nancy Pelosi, your morality is immoral.