Extending Unemployment Benefits: Good Intentions, Bad Results

In his September 8 address to Congress, President Obama asked Congress once again to extend unemployment benefits, allowing workers to continue receiving benefits for up to almost two years. His request may be at odds with his newly proposed chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger.

During Mr. Krueger’s career as a Princeton economics professor, he wrote about the effects of unemployment insurance on the unemployed. He, along with numerous mainstream economists, wrote that unemployment insurance increases the time that workers remain unemployed. More generous benefits lead to longer periods of unemployment. Thus, a bill aimed at helping the unemployed may actually have the opposite effect.

Many economic analyses have estimated that unemployment insurance has significantly increased the unemployment rate. For example, one recent publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, conservatively estimated “[t]he extension of unemployment insurance benefits during the recent economic downturn can account for approximately 1 percentage point of the increase in the unemployment rate.”

Adding another 4% to the estimated 2012 deficit, the President’s requested extension would cost around $45 billion. And what about the human cost? Is it right to delay so many workers’ reemployment? Is it right to artificially inflate unemployment? As with so many government programs, good intentions too often lead to bad results. In this case, those results can be measured in fewer jobs and in less personal dignity.


Christina Martin is Director of the Asset Ownership Project at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Federal Budget, Individual Responsiblity, Taxes | Tagged , , , , | 102 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    Bama is said to be wanting to tie the unemployment benefit extension to job training, requiring the receipients of unemployment benefits to retrain.  But this sounds like more Bama speech spin.  I hear most federal training programs have a tattered history, mostly one of ineffectiveness.

    It’s pretty irrational logic.  The objective is to reduce unemployment, not entrench it.  But instead, we get a policy rewarding staying unemployed.  The government taxes cigarettes to reduce smoking, provides tax deductions for purchasing a home, and provides tax deductions for purchasing energy efficient equipment.  But here, in contrast, we are to believe paying people for being unemployed is suppose to result in less unemployment.

    So much of government has become inconsistent.  Probably has something to do with its enlarged size (considering government spending in relation to the total economy has recently grown to almost a quarter at the federal level from less than a fifth).

  • Anonymous NJ 99er

    Who honestly believes this drivel?  Why would anyone want to be on unemployment this long much less for 99 weeks (99ers)?  Keep in mind these are for people who are unemployed through no fault of their own.  There’s 6.7 million fewer jobs out there then there was in December 2007.  Competition is fierce for the scraps left out there.  Employers intentionally discriminating against the unemployed along with lower wages that don’t even cover cost of living much less reflect experience and asking illegal and offensive questions at interviews…the same traitors who love hiring illegals to floor out wages and outsource our jobs.  For those who do get work it’s much lower than what they got before and more times tha not part time.  Which does not pay the bills and needing a 2nd part time job.  Even if that person does that it’s like I said above, low hours and even lower pay in which that person or family ends up homeless on the street and just uses even more public resources than they would’ve otherwise.  There isn’t isn’t enough jobs out there for the amount of people unemployed…and you and others who haven’t endured what no one wants to experience have the tenacity to believe that most a good chunk of us would rather be collecting??  Seems like economists/economic advisors are like speculators in the stock market…screwing Americans a day at a time while sitting high on their perch acting like they know everything when they don’t know sh*t.

    What most of us are looking for is to get back in the workplace with a respectable living wage that reflects cost of living/experience/eduation along with having employers who treat their employees as a valued asset and take pride in giving Americans jobs.  Perhaps then housing and spending will rebound and this country will fully recover.  Who would’ve thought that’s the answer?  *nods head*

  • the real valley person

    Someone needs to explain how kicking people off unemployment when there are not enough jobs can make any difference in the unemployment rate. It might force an individual to accept a crappy job they are over qualified for, but all they would be doing is displacing some other schmuck from that job, since there are 5 or 6 people unemployed for every available job. In other words, zero net gain.   

    I totally get that conservatives hate free loaders, and they think any one accepting a government check for any reason is some sort of free loader. But this has nothing at all to do with the unemployment rate, which is driven by the lack of employment opportunities. 

    • just doing the math

      I agree. What conservatives fail to understand, is that corporations are
      sitting on a trillion+ dollars; they can afford to hire. What conservatives
      fail to understand is that people on unemployment, REALLY don’t wish to
      be unemployed. What conservatives fail to understand is the millions
      of people that will stress other government programs, once benefits
      end. At least, some of the money from unemployment makes it back
      into the economy.

      What conservatives rarely provide are practical solutions. It is all about
      name calling by the same individuals who are probably collecting
      “entitlement” dollars, while crying for reform of “entitlement” programs,
      but, just as long as the reform does not affect their generational pocketbooks.

    • just doing the math

      I agree. What conservatives fail to understand, is that corporations are
      sitting on a trillion+ dollars; they can afford to hire. What conservatives
      fail to understand is that people on unemployment, REALLY don’t wish to
      be unemployed. What conservatives fail to understand is the millions
      of people that will stress other government programs, once benefits
      end. At least, some of the money from unemployment makes it back
      into the economy.

      What conservatives rarely provide are practical solutions. It is all about
      name calling by the same individuals who are probably collecting
      “entitlement” dollars, while crying for reform of “entitlement” programs,
      but, just as long as the reform does not affect their generational pocketbooks.

      • the real valley person

        Good summary. What we should be doing is taxing those high profits directly to pay for unemployment. That way we would increase their incentive to hire sooner rather than later. 

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, right. Corporations should be forced to hire the unemployed…even if they have no marketable skills beyond flipping burgers and regardless of the needs of the corporation for the hire. Just tax the Hell out of the corps and force them to hire on a bunch of unnecessary workers.

        • Anonymous

          Sounds like the beating will continue until morale improves

        • valley person

          Corporate profits are at record levels Joel, so they can afford to take on a few extra workers. They are sitting on trillions in cash. If they can’t find qualified workers then they can offer training.  Its patriotic.

          • Anonymous

            Ir’s time you grew up and learned why corporations make their hires. Corporations hire workers because it makes good economic sense. Corporations are not there to do social work…or for patriotism for that matter.

            It makes no difference if they are sitting on trillions…or quadrillions…or quintilions…in cash. If it makes no sense to hire new workers, they should not be forced to hire by some community organizer who masquerades as a president.

          • 3H

            Bad news son – he’s not masquerading.  He was elected by the People of the United States and like it or not – he is legitimately the President.   In your case, just cross your fingers and hope he doesn’t get re-elected.  Of course, it could be worse.  Perry and Bachmann come to mind.

          • Anonymous

            Well, we’ve talked about this before and while I may realize the unfortunate fact that Obozo was elected, I refuse to recognize hims as my president. And, like it or not, Obozo will never be anything more than a second rate community organizer who figured out the game and was able to trick enough people into electing him president.

            It looks like I won’t have to keep my fingers crossed though.The only group not turning on Obozo is the blacks. Latinos, young people and women are falling off the Obozo bandwagon. Even Democrats aren’t so sure about the guy. Chicago Tribune editorialist Stephen Chapman recommended that Obozo quit in favor of Hillary Clinton

          • Anonymous

            And, by the by, Bachmann is fading fast and Perry is also losing his initial, post announcement luster. So, I wouldn’t count on having those tow to beat up.

          • valley person

            Yes Joel. I work for a corporation. I know why they hire. I also know profits are at all time highs, corporations have tons of cash on hand, and can afford to hire right now to put Americans back to work.  I didn’t say force them. I suggested taxing them higher to pay for unemployment, or they could choose to hire more workers.  

          • Anonymous

            I find it hard to believe you work for a corporation…if you did you’d know that profits have nothing to do with hiring policy.

            And, are you serious? You say you didn’t say to force corporations to hire additional  unnecessary workers…but it would be okay to tax them to death if they didn’t “choose” to hire more workers. Talk about Janus. That’s the most two-faced argument I’ve heard in months…maybe years.

          • the real valley person

            Profits have nothing to do with hiring? Sorry Joel, that’s not the way it works. Profits are highly dependent on worker productivity. A key reason corporate profits are so high today is due to downsizing and piling more work on remaining employees.  Hiring more employees absent more business would at first eat into these record profits, but over time having more people working creates more consumption which creates more demand which can raise corporate gross if not net.

            I didn’t say “tax them to death.” You said that. Don’t put your words in my mouth ok? I suggested linking the taxes they pay to hiring. Use tax policy to give them a disincentive to downsize or off shore, and an incentive to hire more than the minimum they need. Use it as a counter balance to the free trade policies they have lobbied for and won.  

            Germany has these sorts of policies and they have worked to reduce unemployment during downturns. And Germany, a highly export driven economy, is doing quite well. 

          • Anonymous

            How does it feel to be so frequently wrong? While profits may be dependent on worker productivity, hiring has nothing to do with profits. That’s lie saying this apple is green and this lime is green, so this apple must be a lime. If corporations can make more money by downsizing, more power to them. If a corporation downsizes and makes less money, I can guarantee you they won’t stay downsized very long.

            Okay, so my characterization of your ignorant comments about taxing corps if they won’t hire was “tax to death.” It was an apt characterization. You said, ” I didn’t say force them. I suggested taxing them higher to pay for unemployment, or they could choose to hire more workers.” Well, if saying they could avoid paying higher taxes if they hired more workers is forcing higher taxes, I don’t know what is. You’re asking to have it both ways.

            Germany is Germany, the United States is the United States. Germany is in Europe. The founders of the United States (and countless immigrants since) came her to put Europe behind them.

          • the real valley person

            If companies had a tax incentive to have more employees rather than fewer, then many would choose to have more, the unemployment rate would drop, more people would have more income, leading to more business for everyone and less burden on taxpayers to support those out of work. What is good for one company is not necessarily good for the economy as a whole. Read up on the paradox of thrift. Sitting on corporate profits is like stuffing money in a mattress.

            Yes, Germany is Germany. Does that mean we can’t learn anything useful by understanding what works well somewhere else? Or that because we are Americans we should always do the opposite of Europeans?  Fascinating decision making process you have there Joel.

          • Anonymous

            Oh, so now you’re making it a tax incentive. Talk about changing horses in mid-stream. You always accuse me of not being consistent…so you’d better be. Giving companies a tax incentive for hiring is a lot different than taxing companies because they aren’t hiring. 

            As I’ve pointed out, corporations will do what’s good for corporations. Make a tax incentive lucrative enough and it becomes beneficial for the corporation to hire additional employees. Just don’t ask them to hire out of the goodness of their hearts.

          • valley person

            The incentive is to avoid the tax. 

          • Anonymous

            I fully understand what a tax incentive is…but that doesn’t preclude the fact that you changed from a penurious tax on non-hiring corps to the tax incentive approach.

          • valley person

            I never used the word “penurious.” I don’t even know what it means. I changed nothing. I introduced the word “incentive” and you took that as meaning I switched from charging them for not hiring to giving them something to hire. I didn’t make that switch. It was your misinterpretation.

            I don’t think highly profitable companies need or should get a tax break to hire people.

          • Anonymous

            No, I used the word penurious…just paraphrasing you. And you did suddenly introduce the concept of tax incentives. If you go back and look you’ll see no mention of tax incentives and all of a sudden tax incentives show up as a means for corporations to hire additional workers…but you don’t want to give corporations tax incentives anyway…apparently.

          • valley person

            I think somehow you are beginning to catch on. I don’t see the need to give highly profitable companies a POSITIVE incentive to hire more people. I do see the benefit in giving them a NEGATIVE incentive for not doing so. OK?

          • Anonymous

            If tax incentives make good economic sense, then they are worthy. However, if the incentives aren’t sufficient to make good economic sense, they are worthless. That’s what I think…is that what you think?

          • the real valley person

            Sure. But that means we both agree its ok for the government to favor certain industries or business models with favorable taxation that result in desirable social (or economic if you prefer) outcomes. That make us both liberal-moderates. Welcome to my world.  

            (Just kidding).

          • Anonymous

            Don’t count on me being at the meetings.

          • Anonymous

            I fully understand what a tax incentive is…but that doesn’t preclude the fact that you changed from a penurious tax on non-hiring corps to the tax incentive approach.

          • Bob

            What you don’t realize is that by emphasizing how corporations are committed only to greater profits, you’re actually making the liberals arguments for them. Corporations are not people, but soul-less entities that are essentially machines for making money. The more cash they acquire, the more powerful they become without a healthy system of checks of balances, which conservatives and their helpers have been steadily dismantling for thirty years, hence our current prior predicaments.

            In other words, the more money a corporation makes, the more it should be taxed and regulated and kept from becoming “too big to fail.” Without it, they are little more than rampaging financial beasts feeding off the rest of us.

          • just doing the math

            Joel Retired Joel,

            The problem is, corporations are frying their existing employees, so
            when the economy does rebound, those so called productive, but
            burned out and resentful employees will go for greener pastures.
            It does make economic sense to hire qualified people that are 
            unemployed to help retain their existing qualified employees.

          • Anonymous

            So what you’re saying is that corporations should be forced by the government to hire unneeded workers for the corporations own good? That the corps should be forced to hire these workers to keep the current workers from burning out and going to other employers? (That’s, of course, assuming that the workers could find other jobs in the economy that Obozo has ruined.)

            You presume to tell the corporations what makes good economic sense? Hiring unneeded workers or losing the current qualified employees? That’s what the corporate execs are hired to do and I doubt you’re making seven figures to make those kinds of decisions.

          • just doing the math

            Joel, I did not write the government should force
            corporations to hire new employees. I did
            write that it makes good economic sense
            to hire qualified employees to retain existing
            qualified employees. It is expensive to
            replace existing qualified employees that
            leave. 

            And I have made 6 figures (no not 7) in
            the private sector, so I do know what I am
            talking about. (seems like you are basing
            decision making ability with salary)

          • Anonymous

            Okay,split hairs if you want. If corps shouldn’t be required to hire unneeded workers then what’s the point of your statement? Were you saying that corporations are burning out their employees, or were you trying to make the point that they should be forced to hire unneeded workers?

            Whatever, it appears to be a decision above your pay grade. Six figures hardly makes you eligible to make hiring decisions in a corporate suite kind of atmosphere. $100,000 is six figures and not much of a salary by today’s standards. Salry is, after all, how we keep score.

          • just doing the math

            I did not write that corporations
            should be forced to hire. I wrote
            it makes good economic sense
            to hire qualified employees to
            retain existing qualified
            employees. And really, this
            is just one piece of the
            employment issue.

            I am sorry that you cannot
            read.

          • Anonymous

            Then I’m sure corporations will ignore your advice because it doesn’t make good economic sense. If hiring additional workers made good economic sense, you can be sure corporations would be hiring more workers.

          • just doing the math

            It may make good economic
            sense in the very short term, but
            not long term. Corporate
            hoarding is contributing
            to the lack of economic
            growth. People in existing
            jobs to afraid to spend and
            those that are unemployed
            unable to spend. Because;
            to quote a past campaign
            phrase; 

            “It is the economy,
            stupid”

          • Anonymous

            Long or short run, the hiring decisions are made on the basis of what’s good for the company…that is the only consideration.

          • valley person

            Yes, of course they do. Each company does what is good for itself, and the aggregate may not be good for the wider economy or themselves. Paradox of thrift. Look it up. 

          • Anonymous

            Glad you agree with me.

            I looked up Paradox of Thrift…it is a disputed  Keynesian economic theory. 

          • the real valley person

            $100K is not much of a salary by today’s standards?

            You do live in an alternate reality. The median income in the US for those with a Bachelors degree or higher is $56K a year.  An individual earning $100K a year is in the top 6.2% of all wage earners. So you may think low 6 figures is not much of a salary. But 94% of wage earners would disagree with you.

            Factual accuracy Joel, is how we keep score around here.

          • Anonymous

            Then I guess I do live in a different world. It must be that I never bothered getting a Bachelors Degree. 

          • the real valley person

            Yes Joel. There is your world, in which $100K is meh wages, and the actual world, in which it is a top 6% wage. I live in the actual world, and you proudly live in the other. Maybe you should go back to school and join the rest of us. of course what would we have to argue about then?  

          • Anonymous

            We have all our crosses to bear.

        • 3H

          I’m not in favor of taxing the hell out of ’em – but it’d be nice if they started paying what they used too instead of crying about how the can’t cope… like they used to.

          “But when the tax men come to the door
          Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes”- CCR, “Fortunate Son”

          • Anonymous

            Who pays corporate taxes…not the corporations…the consumer pays. So let’s raise corporate taxes and make American products even more noncompetitive with foreign products. 

            When a foreign manufacturer can make a product of similar quality, pay US import fees and still have it sit on shelves for less than American products that are made paying union wages and are taxed to death, is it any wonder that American consumers buy the foreign products or that American corps use outsourcing? Think about it…you’ll figure it out.

          • Anonymous

            > Who pays corporate taxes…not the corporations…the consumer pays.

            Not necessarily. Corporations can pass increased taxes on to customers if they choose, but those that instead cut waste, improve efficiency, reduce salaries and benefits, or reduce dividends and stock buybacks can maintain their prices and keep their customers, and even steal some from those companies who passed their taxes along via higher prices.

          • Anonymous

            Quite true…or they could lay off some workers and demand increased productivity from the remaining workers…But we all know that passing the increased costs on to the consumer is the typical way that increased business costs are covered.

            When increased costs can’t be passed on (usually because of foreign competition,) the preferred method is usually to require productivity increases or reduce benefits. The CEO’s job is to keep profits maximized and you know he’s going to do that without impacting the shareholder.

          • Anonymous

            > But we all know that passing the increased costs 
            > on to the consumer is
            the typical way that increased business 
            > costs are covered.

            No it isn’t. Companies take many measures and work very hard to avoid increasing their prices. 

            CEOs do like to keep profits maximized, which means they don’t want to lose customers, which means they don’t want to raise prices.  

          • Anonymous

            You’re living in Fastasyland. Since you so love the Internet and Googling…Google it.

          • Anonymous

            Good response. Have you read about the lengths to which Walmart goes to keep their prices from increasing by pressuring their suppliers? 

          • Anonymous

            Nope. But Wal-Mart isn’t exactly the greatest example. If Wal-Mart is the best you can find, you;re hurting bad.

            As you know, I don’t put much faith in the Internet as a place for research…but I did Google this one. What I found was a lot of instances of companies passing increased costs on to customers and little of what you suggested. Of course, Wal-Mart is pressuring their suppliers because they can’t very well cut minimum wage salaries or take away non-existent benefits.

          • Anonymous

            WalMart isn’t a great example? They’re only one of the most successful companies in US history. 

            You’re last sentence only proves my point: WalMart is finding other ways to deal with increased business costs than by passing them on to customers. Many companies do. AT&T’s costs have increased greatly over the decades, but the cost of a phone call has decreased. Airlines don’t automatically pass increased fuel costs on to fliers; sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes one company does and another doesn’t and the first company relents. The inflation-adjusted cost of air travel has been declining for decades.

          • Anonymous

            David, really you’re too funny. Under normal circumstances you’d be blasting Wal_mart, siding with the feminists who sued the company and crying about all the money its founders have made. But now, you think you’ve found a Wal-Mart argument that works fro you (it doesn’t) and you try to drive it into the ground. Really hilarious.

          • Anonymous

            Trying to change the subject Joel? I take it then that you accept my original point.

            You have no idea what my views on Walmart are, and they are not what you claim they are. But you do this all the time with many commenters. In fact, I shop there weekly, and think they do some good things (low prices, introducing $4/month prescriptions which have made these medications widely affordable, friendly and helpful clerks) and some not so good things (low wages and benefits, resisting unionization, destruction of local businesses). Like all things, the situation is complex and doesn’t make for the platitudes you usually offer.

          • Anonymous

            Um, I think you brought up Wal-Mart, not me…so, if anyone is trying to change the subject it is you.

            I don’t accept your original point…as I said I know nothing about it. But I do know that you are a conflicted Wal-Mart shopper. You love the discounts but hate the policies that produce the discounts. That kind of thinking will cause you to go batty…better be careful.

            I think I hit the nail pretty well on the head. You praise Wal-Mart for things like their prices and $4 drugs (which Wal-Mart did concomitant with Walgreen’s) while whining about the company’s anti-union policy, lack of benefits and low wages. I said, “Under normal circumstances you’d be blasting Wal_mart…” Gotcha.

          • Anonymous

            My original point was that it was not necessarily true that customers pay corporate taxes, or any increase in a corporation’s costs. You gave up arguing against that by shifting to made-up claims about my views on WalMart. 

            Like everyone, I am not pure and make compromises in the application of my principles. I shop both at local businesses and at the local big box store. I mostly prefer the former but always cannot afford their prices, particularly on medications. And where I live there isn’t any other store to buy some of the things WalMart offers that I need. So I compromise. It’s called life, and the economic and political system we live under makes it too necessary. 

    • Thanks for your comment, “valley person”.  You raise a great question! First, to clarify, I am not suggesting that ALL of our increased unemployment is because of unemployment insurance. As my article explains, it is more likely causing an increase of somewhere around 1 percentage point according to economists (so 9.1% when it should be 8.1%, for example).

      Consider this, even in boom years, unemployment is anywhere between 4-6%. Why? Not because of a lack of jobs, but because of other reasons. One reason is that it takes time for workers to find the right job, and the more intense their search, generally the quicker they will find a good fit. Even in our recession, this is still a problem in some job sectors. But study after study has shown that more generous (or longer lasting) unemployment benefits have a negative effect on job search intensity. (See Obama’s proposed advisor’s paper from 2008: https://politiquessociales.net/IMG/pdf/dp3667.pdf .

      The key is to understand that people are not fungible. In other words, people are different, with different skills, talents, and knowledge. Because of that, hiring can be a difficult and drawn out process. Having been involved in the hiring process during a recession, and having talked to many business owners, I can tell you that there is not always a long line for certain kinds of jobs because they require a specific set of skills. Finding the right someone to fill a job can take months. That is months of some person possibly missing out on wages – wages that they could be spending around town. That is also months that a person could be creating some form of wealth. (Wealth is not just money, it is anything that is valued. When a farmer farms, he creates wealth by producing a harvest. When a programmer programs, he creates wealth by producing a useful program. etc., etc.). That wealth of creating something valuable through work, in many industries (technology comes to mind), could lead to innovations that demand thousands of jobs.  

      Consider that some individuals would be more inclined to take risks and start their own small businesses (a risky venture as it is) if they did not also risk losing benefits. ORegon has a way to do this, but many states do not. Some individuals are looking in the wrong industry too and should be developing their skills elsewhere to make themselves hirable. But unemployment benefits frequently delay such endeavors.

      Another cause of the increased unemployment rate is that many people remain in the labor force who otherwise would not, just because they are currently receiving benefits. I’ve known people who live off of benefits, without any real desire to get a job. I know one lady who is pregnant and expecting soon and only applies for jobs that she knows she probably won’t get because she doesn’t want to work right now. This is the exception, of course, but it is significant enough that it does artificially inflate the number of unemployed (and the number on the government dole). 

      • the real valley person

        Thanks for the explanation. I still fail to see how a higher skilled person taking an available lower skilled job, for which there are multiple  other people who could fill, would reduce the aggregate rate of unemployment. One person or a hundred prematurely taking a job is not additive. It simply fills that job with an over qualified person.

        In other words, of there are X jobs open in the entire economy, and  5X people officially unemployed, it doesn’t matter which unemployed person took the job, the other 4 are still out of work, and given the current situation have probably been joined by another laid off person, getting us right back to 5X. Net zero.

        A handful of people may prefer their paltry unemployment check to an actual job. Cutting ALL people off to get at that handful seems rather heartless and not very effective at reducing the unemployment rate.

        If an unemployed person creates their own job by going into business, that also does not help much unless they do so in a way that increases overall business. Otherwise they are simply taking business away from an established firm, which would have to lay off an employee, leaving us right back where we started.

        The larger question is how to have sufficient economic growth to get back to and maintain full employment. Reducing unemployment comp does not get us there. 

        • Steve Buckstein

          “If an unemployed person creates their own job by going into business,
          that also does not help much unless they do so in a way that increases
          overall business. Otherwise they are simply taking business away from an
          established firm, which would have to lay off an employee, leaving us
          right back where we started.”

          The same goes for any company hiring anyone, doesn’t it? If the
          corporations you believe are hoarding lots of cash right now suddenly
          use it to hire lots of people, won’t they just take business away from
          their competitors, who will then lay off a similar number of workers,
          leaving the unemployment rate the same? 

          This static viewpoint seems to be all to prevalent in our economic
          thinking. But I guess it’s easier to understand than acknowledging that
          the economy is dynamic and human capital really can “increase the pie.”

          • the real valley person

            If there is X amount of business out there, and a company hires a few more employees to share the load, they have not necessarily increased their business at someone else’s expense. They have simply used some of their record profits to hire more people to share the work that already exists. An individual starting a new business has to take market share away from someone else unless they have a unique product or new market.  When I left my government job and started my own consulting business I was immediately in competition with other consultants. I had to take business away from them, and to the extent I succeeded they had to lay someone off. Zero sum. 

            Its not that I simply “believe” companies are hoarding cash. According to Wall street analysts, this is exactly what they are doing. They show that cash on their balance sheets and this is public information. Their profits are way up, and instead of investing those profits or expanding their business they are stashing the excess in retrievable assets. This probably makes sense to them, but is bad for the economy in the aggregate. A classic paradox of thrift.

            Economic growth is driven by lots of complicated factors, but one of those certainly is aggregate demand. If healthy, wealthy corporations hired a million people tomorrow and let loose of some of their stored cash in the form of wages, those million people would be able to buy goods and services. And to the extent they did so, that would increase demand, some of which would rebound back to the corporations and other businesses that did the unnecessary hiring. Its not in the interest of any one business to hire people they currently don’t need. But if enough of them did so, they would all gain. Its econ 101. 

          • Steve Buckstein

            “Its not in the interest of any one business to hire people they
            currently don’t need. But if enough of them did so, they would all gain.
            Its econ 101.

            I doubt they would all gain. In my econ 101 class we studied Paul Samuelson’s influential textbook in which he assumed that the Soviet Union’s GNP would catch up to that of the US between 1977 and 1995. Of course that nation dissolved in 1991. Perhaps it didn’t hire enough unneeded workers.

          • valley person

            I should have said most would gain. Business needs customers. People out of work and out of unemployment insurance are not very good customers. 

  • Jan

    Many of those on unemployment are earning more than they would if they took a job paying less. To encourage the unemployed to re-enter the job market they should be required to take a lesser paying job and then be paid the difference via unemployment.

    This would get them out networking and maybe even considering a job they had not thought they would like or do in the past.  Who knows, people may find themselves on a new career path.  If they sit home until the checks run out, others will take these jobs and be moving forward, not stagnating on the dole.

    The government cannot train workers for jobs that may not exisit in the future, it is a waste of limited revenue.  Too many have gone through job training only to be laid off again. 

  • Lionel Archuleta

    I’m a “99er” and my benefits ran out SEVEN MONTHS AGO! I live in Albuquerque and I’ve been trying to find a job the day after I was laid off as a journeyman electrician. I did have my license before I was laid off but because I couldn’t pay to get it renewed it has since lapsed. I’m a single dad of a 10 year old autistic boy and we went from living in a two bedroom house I was buying to living with my parents. We lost our home and health benefits thanks to Obama’s programs. I feel like I’ve let my son down for not being able to support him. I want a job, but if no one is hiring I would truly appreciate getting my unemployment benefits back so I can get a small part of my dignity back. No one, especially myself, wants to be on long term unemployment. It frustrates me when people make ignorant statements about how the 99er’s should just get a job. That’s coming from people that already have a job.

    • just doing the math

      “It frustrates me when people make ignorant statements about how the 99er’s should just get a job. That’s coming from people that already have a job.”
           
      No, actually on this site, those comments are coming from conservative
      retired people. Don’t expect to get any sympathy, as many of the posters
      on this site truly believe that there are jobs a plenty, and your lack of
      finding one is your fault. (It is not).

    • David Appell

      I’m sorry you lost your job and haven’t been able to find another one, but how were “Obama’s programs” responsible for your lost house and health benefits? 

  • Rupert in Springfield

    The funny thing here is if you believe the Chicago Fed report, the 0.8 to 1% uptick in unemployment due to the extensions would be just enough to have said Stim1 worked. 9% -1% =8%, the number Obama said unemployment would not rise above if we put through his stimulus plan. I guess the fact that its from the Chicago Fed is just the cherry on the cake. Oh well, spend spend spend, it’s gotta work sometime right?

  • Bebop999

    Most of the who knock the 99ers for not finding a job HAVE JOBS!!! It’s so easy to be cruel to people who are less fortunate. I have college, law school and I am a Korean War veteran (19 months in country as an EOD specialist). I have been unemployed since October 2008. Their are no jobs for me and I have sent out over 1200 resumes. I went to the fast food, laborer, telemarketing, gas station companies and no jobs.I guess the country is now in favor of Ron Paul’s idea-Let them die!!! When those who think that I am disposable wait until it happens to them. They will sing a different tune.

    • Anonymous

      Yes that point they have jobs and guess what, if we lose them  we do not go around having a pity party but so somthing about it.  

  • Anonymous

    Strange it seemed that I was able to find work in 10 months in a bad  economy. I only had to send 36 résumés. So take than Mr. I sent 1200 résumés and got no response. It is temporary a good wage no benefits what so ever; still it pays the bills. So what the rub with the 99 weeks. Sorry gus you had 1.90 years to go to school, lean to start a business or have the good sense to relocate. I see all  you all have to show pittance of an attempt to generate pity.
    Good grief, I have a learning disability, Black, no concept of grammar, older worker and enough troubles to make a good stab at a blues song. I do not have the time to come up with a pity story so one can game the system all for a 220 a week I was making  unemployment. I could had gotten food stamp but unemployment was enough. I survived on it and digging up cans for gas money and a few odd computer jobs now and then.
     
    My only gripe about unemployment is it not portable. I can’t just say I been looking  for work in Oregon for months, time to take off and look at another state. I would look at a different county if there work.
    Sorry folks you had 99 week, get your self out of the blame game ghetto mentality, if you don’t no more and tough luck, tough luck.

    • 3H

      And assume that your experience is immediately relevant to everyone else?  Perhaps you just got lucky.

      I wonder if anyone has done a book, or paper, about the role of luck in success and business?

      • Anonymous

        Luck has noting to do about it. I had temp companies calling  me. It all about intelligence gathering. I read the buisness section, I know how to obtain read quarterly / annual  filings on public traded companies. When I go to an interview I speak business. A all I am is a military trained technician no college degree.
        If it was for e stupid IRS rules governing contactors, I would figure out a way to go directly to the client and cut out the middle man.

        • 3H

          And you believe that everyone out there could find a job?  Perhaps the people who are suffering long term unemployment don’t have the same skill set.  Perhaps they’re not qualified for a great many jobs and too qualified for most minimum wage jobs.   Your experience is purely anecdotal – and can’t be applied to everyone else. The fact is there aren’t enough jobs at the moment.  That’s a fact you can’t get around.   And since the system doesn’t work on “First laid-off, first hired”, what happens when they run out of unemployment?  Do you think they magically get a job?   Or do they start making use of other services?   You’ve just shifted the cost elsewhere.   Oh, since what ever aid they are getting is probably less than unemployment – that money is taken out of the economy.

          • Anonymous

            Perhaps unlike you I chose not to deal with winning or making more excuses which is the sum this 99er stuff. as for  anecdotal you are the post calling the kettle black. Indeed I see you an enabler to dependacy.

            We can agree we disagree.

          • 3H

            We can agree to disagree – I see you as uncaring and unwilling to realize that your situation isn’t immediately applicable to everyone else.

  • Prof

    I need my benefits. I am an unemployed college professor. I always thought I would have a job with tenure and all, but I never got tenure. Now I am not able to work due to my back hurting a lot and my mental state.
    If it was not for the extensions I would not be able to continue to live in a nice style.
    Please don’t cut me off.
    I think I might take another 3-4 years to find another art history teaching job.

  • Anonymous

    It’s worth noting that a University of Maryland, and other,  studies have shown that Facebook app developers created between 182,000 and 235,000 jobs worth between 12 billion and 16 billion dollars. And that’s just Facebook app developers, it says nothing about the various social media managers who deal with Twitter, YouTube, foursquare, LinkedIn and all of the other social networks.

    Can you imagine what a pickle Obozo would be in if he didn’t have all of these new jobs working in his favor.

    • valley person

      I have no idea what that has to do with anything, but I will point out that if you got that information on line, by your own words, you should discount it. 

      • Anonymous

        The idea is that 235,000 jobs were created that helped to  keep Obozo’s unemployment count down.

        The source is the Associated Press, not some website written by some pseudonymous cretin.

        • 3H

          So..  if I read an AP release in the newspaper it’s good, but if I read that same release on their website it would be suspect?  Oh.. by the way, how do you think the newspapers get those releases now??  

          Where did you happen to see the AP story? 

          • Anonymous

            As I’ve explained, I find a difference between  legitimate news sites and blogs and other biased Websites. As a 22-year member of the Fifth Estate I have great respect for news organizations such as AP and even CNN. That’s not to say I’m not disillusioned by what’s become of the MSM…NBC in particular.

          • 3H

            If you explained that to me I missed it.   The crux of the matter boils down to the word “legitimate”.   I would consider the CBO to be a legitimate website for instance.  I’m pretty sure from your responses that you don’t  I do know that in our last few exchanges you painted with a pretty broad brush.  I’m glad to see there is more nuance in your thinking than you earlier responses seemed to lack.

          • Anonymous

            I think the CBO has been pretty clearly demonstrated to be a typical, liberal government hang-out.

            If you missed my reasoning about what is and isn’t legitimate…well, now you know. Nothing has changed. I think I made it clear in earlier posts. I don’t put much faith in the ramblings of Internet bloggers who write under pseudonyms…be they liberal or conservative. Those who write under their real names get more credit…except Michelle Malkin and Kari Chisholm, who are a little on the strange side.

          • 3H

            “Michelle Malkin and Kari Chisholm, who are a little on the strange side. 

            OK, now that was funny.

            Yeah, I get the whole not liking anonymity thing.  Sadly, I do like it and you can discount what I say because of it  🙂    Prolly not gonna change my mind though.

          • Anonymous

            Prolly? Prolly? It would have hurt you to type the extra letters to be something other than a teenager.

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