Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Painful Truth about Unemployment

This pathetic Think Progress piece reminds me why solving the unemployent problem is going to be so difficult. The TP loons are upset with Newt Gingrich for saying this:

I would agree to a short-term extension of unemployment. But I have proposed, since we spent $134 billion last year in unemployment, that we change the entire program into a worker training program and not give anybody money for doing nothing.

For me, the irony is that I had said something similar that very morning without knowing anything about Gingrich's idea. It simply makes sense to me that people unemployed for a year or more are going to be very hard to fit into today's job market and it's crazy to pay people not to work. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will, in fact, do nothing until their unemployment runs out, and with the latest unemployment extensions, it means someone could be sitting around unemployed for nearly four years. Does anyone honestly think a person who hasn't worked in four years is going to find employment quickly after the unemployment checks quit coming?

Yet reading the Think Progress piece, you'd think we were talking about slave labor here, rather than getting people to be self-supporting again.
The economy grows by nearly two dollars for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits “because recipients typically spend all of their benefit payments quickly.” The money “ripples through the economy into supermarkets, gasoline stations, utilities, convenience stores.” Flush with the revenue provided by these new consumers, those businesses are then able to hire additional workers and diminish the ranks of the unemployed.

Except for the fact that somebody is having to work in the private sector to pay for those benefits "rippling through the economy," and that person has less of his own money to spend. It's hard to imagine who it is who can't find a job in three years, but I guess if you're a trade show organizer, there probably aren't many of those jobs out there these days. You might have to take a job that's beneath you. Well, in another 13 months. In the meantime, I'll continue working my two jobs to support you.