Long term unemployment benefits have expired which means that many people will lose what little income that they had left. The cure, some say, is to extend these benefits even longer (which means the federal government has to dig itself deeper in debt). Let’s think about this.
If we cut off benefits, it forces many people to take jobs that they wouldn’t normally consider, getting people back to work and experiencing the reward of earning an income. It also provides a stepping stone to the next opportunity while improving the overall economy and creates even more jobs. Extending the benefits delays the incentive for individuals to re-enter the work force for anything less than ideal.
The downside is that there may also be many who can’t find a job because of government policies that have hampered the kind of economic recovery that creates the higher paying jobs that those on unemployment have been holding out for.
If it is the government that is causing the economy to limp along rather than roar back as it has in past recessions, then extending unemployment benefits only treats the symptoms, it does not provide the cure. The longer people are out of work the harder it is for them to get a job. The harder it is to get a job, the longer one needs to stay on unemployment benefits. The longer we pay out unemployment benefits, the more the federal government goes into debt. The more we go into debt, the more we erode confidence in the economy forcing businesses to take defensive measures such as cutting back hours, reducing benefits and using more temporary labor.
It’s exactly the cycle we want to avoid.
If it has been more than six months since I’ve held a job, I would take a job at Starbucks or whatever place that would give me an opportunity to keep my business muscles flexed, an opportunity to learn new skills, and an opportunity to meet people who might be my next step to success.
It sure beats sitting at home sending out blind resumes wondering when something is going to happen.
What do you think?