Thursday, January 9, 2014

Chris Stirewalt Hits The Nail On The Head

Chris Stirewalt
Chris Stirewalt, one of my favorites , who appears regularly on Megyn Kelly's show on the Fox News Channel, "The Kelly File"," said it best on Tuesday night's show when asked about extending the unemployment benefits just a little while longer [so that the Republicans avoid the charge of being called heartless].  Mr. Stirewalt said, "just a little while longer, just a little while longer, and then three months from now it will be just a little while longer, and then six months from now it will be  just a little while longer." 

Of course, Chris' point is that "a little while longer" never ends and the unemployment benefits turn from being a temporary bridge program helping a person who has been laid off until he can find a new job, into a permanent new welfare program, where the person receives monetary assistance the rest of his life without ever returning to work.

Besides the deleterious effects of another entitlement program being established [on the general economy and debt  of the country and unemployment numbers and the very fabric of this country's worth ethic] there is this from Freedom Works blog: 

"...a recent study by JPMorgan Chase found that these unemployment benefits are actually responsible for increasing the unemployment rate by 1.5 %. 

According to analyst Michael Feroli, Jobless benefits have the potential to increase the unemployment rate through two channels. First, by softening the blow of losing a job, they allow unemployed persons to become more selective in what job offer they accept, thereby raising the average duration of unemployment and increasing the unemployment rate. In addition, Feroli concludes that expanded unemployment benefits increase one's average duration of unemployment, Most estimates of this elasticity have centered on a finding that an increase of one week in the availability of benefits raises the average duration of unemployment by 0.2 week.

University of Chicago economist Bruce Meyer, confirms Feroli's findings,unemployment benefits do prolong unemployment spells by quite a bit.  As the unemployed are continuously granted longer unemployment benefits, they have less of an incentive to actively search for jobs and they tend to pass up lower-paying jobs. 

As Nina Easton explains in Time Magazine, past studies by academics such as Meyer and Harvard's Lawrence Katz show that people are most likely to find a job just as their unemployment benefits run out. Many people use that thin cushion to wait until the last minute to act. They pass up lower-paying, less desirable jobs, or they avoid moving to take a job...surveys show people are very pessimistic about this labor market and their job prospects, and they think it's not worth the effort to look. The generosity of benefits makes it easier to take that view".  ...

To read all of this important article from Freedom Works: "Long Term Unemployment Benefits Diminish Incentives to Look for Work" please click here

Sadly, in this political environment with the 2014 elections now just 10 months away, the GOP will probably once again give in and extend these very long term unemployment benefits.  Let us hope they find a way, not just to pay for these extended term benefits but to also stipulate that at some future  date there must be some definitive end how long a person can continue to receive the benefits. 

I'm not holding my breath though, and Chris Stirewalt's incisive rhetoric that "just a little while longer never comes" will become a sad [for our country] reality.

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