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Federal and state bureaucrats have doled out more than half a trillion dollars in unemployment benefits over the past five years, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office reveals.

And yes … businesses and individual taxpayers here in South Carolina are picking up the tab for their share of the largesse (while our state’s workforce agency ranks among the nation’s least competent when it comes to awarding these benefits).

According to the report, most unemployed workers get twenty-six weeks of benefits from the state before they becoming eligible for up to 47 weeks of benefits from the federal government.  Of course these benefits “have been repeatedly extended during the recent recession and its aftermath,” the report finds.

And by “aftermath,” they obviously mean our ongoing “jobless recovery.”

And guess what?  The spigot is about to get turned on again because the latest round of benefits is set to expire on December 31, 2012.

Government officials claim that there is a $1.61 return on every dollar paid out in unemployment benefits, although these studies presume that the money to pay for the benefits isn’t being taken out of the economy.

It is …

“Whether the government pays people to work or to stay on the dole, it has to get the money by taxing, borrowing or printing money — all of which reduce real income and employment opportunities in the private sector,” a recent analysis by Alan Reynolds of The Cato Institute noted.  “To imagine that borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is a way to create or save Paul’s job is to forget that Peter expects his money back with interest.”

“If every dollar of unemployment benefits really added $1.61 to real GDP, then putting everyone on the dole would make us all much richer,” Reynolds concluded.

To read this analysis in its entirety, click on the link below …