Teach a man to fish…
99 weeks. That’s the length of time people in Illinois, and other states, can be out of work and still receive unemployment benefits. That’s just shy of two years. Before the recession, the max was 26 weeks. Now, with the House passing yet another extension, jobless benefits are going to move beyond 99 weeks. Many in Congress are fighting the continued extension of these benefits, but let’s face it, it’s not easy to “attack” those most affected by the recession.
The obvious problem, as you’ve all heard by now, is that our duly elected representatives spend like Elton John at a bejeweled store. Not only that, unemployment benefits, while “humane,” are a giant black hole of suck as far as job creation goes. I would guess, although I don’t have any stats to back it up, that people receiving unemployment don’t spend it on a plasma. They instead pay bills with it. So, unemployment benefits aren’t churning our consumer economy. They’re also not helping the recipient find a job. The government’s focus has got to change.
Actual job creation must be the goal, and by now, Obama has to realize that his “deficit spending to stimulate the economy” theory is failing miserably. Of course, in doing so, he has to admit he’s been wrong since he took office and jettison the Keynesian economists in his administration. So, instead of spending $50 billion more that we don’t have, which is mostly going to pay for government jobs anyway, the White House needs to simply admit it’s been wrong and cut taxes. And it’s not just the federal government that needs to cut taxes; it’s the state and local governments as well.
Continuing to give unemployment benefits will, no question, help a lot of people right now. It will never help them get a job however, and shouldn’t that be the goal?