• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Reid’s Deficit Addiction Is Blocking Unemployment Benefits Extension

    There’s only one reason nearly 2 million American former workers are without unemployment benefits today: Senator Reid (D-NV) and his Democratic colleagues’ addiction to deficit spending. The Senate is expected to try to extend these benefits soon. There are arguments pro and con, but if the benefits are extended, then the $34 billion cost should be paid for with spending reductions elsewhere. Surely in the great mass of over $3.5 trillion in federal spending built up over the years and to which President Obama, Reid, and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) have diligently added, they can collectively find something of lesser import to cut.

    Why extend these benefits? Not because of their beneficial effects on the economy, of which there are none. To argue otherwise is to accept fiscal alchemy whereby instead of turning lead into gold, the government tries in vain to turn debt into prosperity.

    The only substantive argument for extending the benefits is on humanitarian grounds. By his own original reckoning, Obama’s economic policies have made a hash of the recovery. The unemployment rate continues in the upper 9 percent region, and Obama’s own optimistic economic forecast projects it to remain there in 2011. Recent attempts to paint a happy face on the jobs picture by the President’s Council of Economic Advisors have been roundly met with the guffaws they deserve.

    With high unemployment and a floundering recovery, one can argue on simple humanitarian grounds to act to extend unemployment benefits. However, if the benefits are extended, then policymakers should come together now and agree to continue to extend those benefits until some agreed-upon metric of labor market strength is reached, such as the unemployment rate falling to 9 percent or even 8 percent.

    Policymakers should also agree, here and now, to offset the costs of any extended benefits by cutting spending elsewhere. No, the amounts involved will not change the course of America’s financial history. But the old proverb still holds: A journey to erase a $1.5 trillion budget deficit begins with a single step of fiscal responsibility. Senator Reid and his colleagues should break their addiction to deficit spending and offset with other spending reductions any legislation to extend unemployment benefits.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Reid’s Deficit Addiction Is Blocking Unemployment Benefits Extension

    1. Venita Quamme SD says:

      Our economy was in freefall long before President Obama was elected. Also, apparently I am merely a statistic since my unemployments benefits ended. Meanwhile, congressional pettiness and division continue. There's no reason for our congress to actually care about poorer people because they have all the benefits thanks to taxes we pay.

    2. HK Ohio says:

      This premise by the writer is intellectually dishonest. Unemployment has ALWAYS been termed Emergency Funding and was passed time and again by Bush. Where is the funding coming from for waging war door to door in other Countries totaling in the Trillions? How do the Repugnants OR Dismalcrats justify the bailout totaling over 700 billion, indeed how did we fund THAT? This argument has no fist in it's glove. Hegelian Conflict Resolution is at play here. Whereby both sides appear to be at odds………………..with nothing being done that matters save for an agenda that is destructive to other countries AND us. Washington NEEDS an enema and lobbyists MUST be eliminated. I see corruption and Hypocrisy. The fact the writer does not, is telling.

    3. Alan says:

      We have stupidly ignored the failed 75 year lesson of the Soviet UNion that a centrally planned economy does not work. Pick a socialized program which has its roots in the statism of FDR or the liberalism of the Great Society and you will find a consumer of tax dollars which has had dubious results.

      The Republicans are right to demand the money come from the bureaucracy which is marbled with waste, fraud and corruption like a poor cut of beef. Using people as a shield to not find the money in the system is shameful and is yet another reason the current crop of "leadership" must go.

    4. Sadie says:

      A 'TIP JAR' in front of each politician would work nicely, each time they tell a lie, they'd have to cough up 10% of their salary and perks.

      JAR would be filled in record 'lying' time and help reduce the national deficit.

    5. Anne says:

      Get these benefits passed so people can go on with their lives, pay their bills, Congress has somehow forgotton that they were working Americans that DO qualify for assistance from job loss. That the unemployed have to apply for jobs each week to qualify, & they take taxes out of the benefits each week!! So, tired of hearing that people are lazy – It's Congress that is lazy – Vacations upon vacations without coming to any conclusions on all the people that voted for them. Disgusting! Too much pocket money from corporations filling pockets of our Congress that is supposed to be for the PEOPLE. If they forget how they got in that seat they need to be ousted for sure. Shame on these games these rich non caring people have been playing with lives of others not as fortunate as they are.

    6. Billie says:

      How about, instead of extending unemployment into welfare, Obama allows the free market to conduct business without government intervention? How many times does it need to be mentioned? This man is going out of his way to make it impossible, with tax payers money funding his wrong way.

      I mean look what Obama is doing! Nothing in favor of the free market ("free" from government dependency.) Yet he knows his unemployment hasn't reached his peak, getting ready for, but another big crisis.

    7. R. Quinn New Jersey says:

      The idea of fiscal responsibility in the US is dead, that includes the federal and state governments and Americans as individuals. How can we expect Americans to demand government manage its budget and debts if our own outlook is spend for today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

      We all know the root cause of the current economy is not the big banks or Wall Street, but individual Americans through their actions in irresponsible spending and borrowing, just plain being stupid to allow others to leverage that to epic levels.

      Cut the budget, just not my portion of the budget.

    8. Gail says:

      As discussed, http://www.savingtoinvest.com/2009/11/senate-appr… , this extension will do more good than harm. Tackle the urgent short term problem first and deal with the deficit later when things improve.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.