Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Boost Unemployment

jobless-benefitsFrom  my too-damn-early-in-the-morning monologue for Press TV:

The unemployment benefits program in the US has “major adverse effects” and kills Americans’ “incentive” to go out and look for a job, says James Bovard, policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation.

“There are a number of major adverse effects from perpetuating these unemployment benefits, especially for folks who might otherwise simply go out and get a job,” said Bovard in a phone interview with Press TV on Thursday.

“It might not be the perfect job for them but what often happens with the extension of the unemployment benefits is that people wait and wait and wait to try to find the perfect job but the perfect job probably does not exist.”

Bovard said the high rate of unemployment in some of the older cities in the US stems from “a profusion of government benefit programs which have basically undermined the incentive to work.”

“Households might be getting food stamps and medical subsidies and housing subsidies and two or three other benefits and it has ruined the incentive for many folks to go and get a job that might only pay 10 or 12 or 13 dollars an hour.”

Bovard also said that he believes this is a program that has not worked out well for many of the “recipients or the American economy.”

“I know people who have been on unemployment benefits for almost two years,” he said. “Some of them have simply gotten out of the habit of working and they have gotten out of touch with the job force.”

Many of these households getting these benefits are headed by people who “don’t have a lot of skills but they have a lot of benefits,” he said.

And that’s “part of the reason that the US unemployment rate has stayed higher than what otherwise would have been.”

On Saturday, 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits after Congress failed to extend an emergency federal program under which jobless American workers received unemployment insurance payments.



6 Responses to Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Boost Unemployment

  1. Jim January 6, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    LawHobbit reported that the comments were “closed” for this post – this is a test….

  2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit January 7, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Looks like it’s fixed!


    I see no reason to believe that unemployment shouldn’t respond to market forces like any other issue; in short, if you pay for it you get more, but if you tax it you’ll get less. The simple solution, then, should be to tax unemployed people.

    That’s not particularly tongue-in-cheek. The old French concept of corvée labor comes to mind here, or, for a more modern sort, perhaps the Civilian Conservation Corps could be a viable model. While not necessarily a no-state libertarian solution to the problem, requiring people who wish to receive state assistance to actually have to work is not unreasonable. I have to work for my daily bread, why should the unemployed get a free pass on that Biblical injunction simply due to a lack of job. There are ditches needing dug, trails to be cleared or built, repairs to be made to infrastructure, all of which could involve making sure that the unemployed are getting fed and housed and medical care. To the extent that they’d like to go back to work in the private sector, good on ’em! If they’d like to get some education instead, they’d have to convince someone who worked full time AND carried 21 credit hours in a semester that they somehow didn’t have “time” to work and school.

  3. Jim January 7, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Lawhobbit, I am skeptical of government jobs programs. FDR’s Work Progress Administration (WPA) was popularly derided as We Poke Along. When I worked for the Va. Highway Dept. one summer during high school, the most important thing I learned was how not to shovel.

  4. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit January 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    No argument there – I spent two summers working for the county, traveling from site to site for a disadvantaged youth program, and site supervisors would actively shoo me away on the grounds that the kiddies wouldn’t get ANY work done while I was there.

    That said, so long as the public purse is going to be opened to those who Have Not (and I think we can both agree that closing the public purse would be the first, best choice. Probably second, third, and leventy-leventh choices, too), I would suggest that the least we can do is require the ne’er-do-wells to at least lean on a shove somewhere outside. In the rain.

    • Jim January 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      I reckon that would at least boost the sale of shovels.

      • The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit January 8, 2014 at 10:24 am #

        Which then boosts employment in the shovel sales, distribution, and manufacturing sectors. The increased manufacturing means that there’ll be a need for more wood and steel, letting *those* industries expand. With more people working to get the material for and produce the shovels, they’re going to need the tools to create the shovels with (or chop and shape the trees or dig and smelt the ore), meaning the machine production industries also go into overdrive, creating yet MORE employment. In other words, a booming economy just from having some shovels for ne’er-do-wells to lean on.

        Government intervention. It’s not just for touching up your manparts any more!