Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The force of unemployment

One of the factors affecting our economy is persistent unemployment.
Americans are not buying as many homes or cars or things, because they are unemployed or fear that they will be unemployed.
And it is reasonable and correct that we should be concerned about those who have lost their jobs or who might lose them.
Congress responds by extending unemployment benefits, which is great for all those who need the money to hang on until things get better.
But we should also recognize that unemployment benefits is a force in itself.
All those billions have an impact, positive we hope, on keeping the economy going as well as it does.
And a steady check, even a reduced one, is a good thing to replace regular pay.
But there are also a substantial number of people who receive unemployment who will not take a job that pays approximately what they receive for doing nothing.
Why would they? Working is expensive. Commuting costs money, childcare costs money, clothes cost money.
Many who get unemployment use the time and the cash to further their education.That is a good thing because it will make them more employable and a better earner in the future.
Others use it to create an entire under-the-table job and income that does not show up on tax records. That is likely a bad thing for the rest of us who pay taxes, because we are supporting these folks twice.
Those people are actually working, albeit without visible pay. What about those who lie about and watch daytime TV?
We cannot not rule out the value of doing nothing. Compare the stress of getting up every day, working, etc. to the non-stress of a life of leisure. There are people who do very well at doing nothing.
Those are likely the worst, because they contribute to a society that relies on a system that pays people to do nothing.
Unemployment compensation should be a short-term fix. The long-term fix is to fix the economy by creating jobs. Long-term unemployment does not create jobs.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home