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US Senate Extends Unemployment Benefits



The U.S. Senate approved a three month extension of expired “extended” unemployment benefits – a move which will cost taxpayers $6.4 billion in the event the “Republican”-controlled U.S. House goes along with this scam.

By a vote of 60-37, the Senate voted to move the measure forward – with six “Republicans” (Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Dan Coats of Indiana, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio) voting in favor of the extension, which U.S. President Barack Obama says he is eager to sign.

Weak …

House Republicans have said they will approve the extension if Democrats find an offsetting spending cut – which obviously isn’t going to happen.  So the GOP will do what it always does when faced with such a dilemma – divide and surrender.

Pre-recession, the typical duration of unemployment benefits was six months – but the “emergency” extension approved in 2008 nearly quadrupled this time period to 99 weeks (although it was recently scaled back to 73 weeks).

This website opposes the extension of these extra unemployment benefits – even if spending cuts are found elsewhere in the federal budget.

Why? Because perpetually handing out these benefits incentivizes joblessness – keeping people on the government dole far longer than necessary. To wit …

(G)overnment assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment in two ways. First, government assistance increases the measure of unemployment by prompting people who are not working to claim that they are looking for work even when they are not. … The second way government assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment is by providing an incentive, and the means, not to work. Each unemployed person has a “reservation wage”—the minimum wage he or she insists on getting before accepting a job. Unemployment insurance and other social assistance programs increase that reservation wage, causing an unemployed person to remain unemployed.

Who said that?  Former Clinton Treasury Secretary and Obama economic advisor Larry Summers … which makes it even more ironic that this program was initiated under “Republican” George W. Bush.

Aside from the demonstrated inefficacy of perpetual dependency, GOP House members would be wise to consider the politics of prolonging this handout.

“From a political perspective, it would be a big mistake for Republican leaders to go along with the push to spend more on (unemployment insurance),” writes Chris Edwards of The Cato Institute. “GOP leaders already caved in with more spending on the recent Ryan-Murray budget deal. If they cave in on UI, cave in on the costly farm bill, and cave in on upcoming debt-limit legislation, there would be no reason for fiscal conservatives to show up and vote Republican in November.”

Wait … there’s a reason for fiscal conservatives to vote “Republican?” 

That’s funny …