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Well, Well, Well: Lib Columnist Discovers Unemployed "Gaming" Jobless Benefits
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Last year, the Soros monkeys and liberal columnist Cynthia Tucker attacked me for stating an obvious economic truth about endless unemployment benefits. They incentivize more unemployment. It’s not a moral judgment. It’s just a fact.


The AJC’s Cynthia Tucker blogged today about a testy exchange we had last summer on ABC’s “This Week” regarding government unemployment benefits and the effect that endless extensions have on reducing the incentive to seek a job. Once again, she mistakes standard economic arguments for moral judgments: “Does the right really believe the unemployed are lazy?”

What offended Tucker’s sensibilities was the blunt manner in which I summed up taxpayer-subsidized inducements: “If you put enough government cheese in front of people, they are just going to keep eating it.”

As I said in August and reiterated last week during the Bunning Senate floor showdown, the question is where do we draw the line? There is no such thing as a “temporary” entitlement in Washington and there are precious few politicians willing to challenge the permanent, ever-expanding Nanny State (quoting from the WaPo article: “under multiple extensions enacted by the federal government in response to the downturn, workers can collect the payments for as long as 99 weeks in states with the highest unemployment rates — the longest period since the program’s inception.”)

None other than Paul Krugman of the Fishwrap of Record acknowledges that generous unemployment benefits reduce the incentive to seek jobs.

As he put it exactly:

“Everyone agrees that really generous unemployment benefits, by reducing the incentive to seek jobs, can raise the NAIRU” [the minimum rate of unemployment consistent with a stable inflation rate].

Now comes first-hand reporting from liberal columnist Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald that yes, in fact, there are some unemployed people out there responding to perverse government incentives and gaming the system to stay on the dole. (h/t Jules Crittenden):

Sure, many unemployed people want and need their government checks — but yesterday I talked to a bunch who told me they support Sen. Scott Brown on his vote that may take away their own benefits Christmas Day.

I was stunned.

I’d started out the day reaching out to a dozen unemployed workers to ask whether they’d urge Brown to change his mind and extend benefits even if that adds to the national deficit.

I actually spoke with eight of them. Only two said yes unequivocally.

The first was a 52-year-old civil engineer out of work since April 2007 who wants Brown to extend benefits “at least through the holidays and until spring time,” said Mark, who asked that his last name not be used. “I hate being unemployed. I hate collecting unemployment. Now I have to take money out of my 401.”


The second, Greg Vasale, 61, has been out of work for 18 months and said he was for extending benefits, even though they won’t help him much. Why? He played by the rules. He never refused work. But that meant, particularly cruelly, that when he took a job for less money and lost it, his unemployment was cut in half. Any day now he may lose his car.

But the rest of the dozen who e-mailed my 96.9 FM morning radio show? In a startling indication of distrust, they spoke of their fellow unemployed workers “gaming the system” —collecting unemployment while working under the table.

Unlike rule-following Greg Vasale, who paid the price for honesty, some admitted turning down low-paying jobs. They suspected others of lying about even trying to find work. “You used to have to go down and prove your were looking,” said one. “Now you just send in a form.”

Said another: “People should have to do some kind of public service or volunteer (to get unemployment) to weed out the lazy ones.”

Another person I spoke with knew of plumbers refusing work “because they’re getting $400 to $600 a week and are eligible for Mass Health. If they get a job but have to pay for health care, they’re worse off. “

Where are the Soros monkeys now?

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Politics