Not so much, according to Michelle Malkin. She’s got some great information that was fed to her by a House Ways & Means staffer, in light of the “economic stimulus” package that politicians are currently arguing about.
The Senate is arguing over whether or not to extend the normal 13 week unemployment benefits to add another 26 weeks of eligibility. Sounds nice, right? Wrong. It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t improve unemployment figures. If anything, it just keeps people on their couches longer.
Here’s what the extension of similar benefits in the past got us:
- The extensions went on years longer than originally promised
- It cost taxpayers billions of dollars
- It didn’t reduce unemployment
Here are some snippets from the staffer:
But does “temporary” really mean this program will operate only “through the end of 2008,” as the legislation’s proponents suggest? Looking back at the history books reveals a different story – of past “temporary” unemployment benefit programs that were repeatedly extended, operating for years and costing tens of billions of dollars more than originally expected.
Unemployment benefit program 1991-1994
Original proposed program length: 8 months
Original estimated cost $7 billion
Actual length: 29 months
Actual cost: $39 billion
Number of extensions: 5
Unemployment rate at start of program: 7 percent
U rate at end: 6.4 percent
Unemployment benefit program 2002-2004
Original proposed program length: 10 months
Original estimated cost $9 billion
Actual length: 29 months
Actual cost: $26 billion
Number of extensions: 2
Unemployment rate at start of program: 5.7 percent
U rate at end: 5.8 percent
1. SFC documents suggest the “temporary” extended unemployment benefits program would operate only through CY 2008 and cost $10 billion. But these sorts of programs never work out that way.
a. CRS reports that no “temporary” extended benefits program created since 1970 has expired without being extended.
b. Programs created in the 1980s and 1990s were extended 6 and 5 times, respectively.
c. The prospects a temporary program created today will expire at the end of 2008 as the SFC proposes – with the window of eligibility shutting two days after Christmas – is both dubious and would be without precedent in the last generation.
b. Today’s 5.0% rate is below the average of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
c. During the Clinton Administration (1993-2000), the average unemployment rate was 5.2%.
e. Creating an extended benefits program now will create a precedent to repeat this action every time the unemployment rate reaches this historically modest level. That will cost billions of dollars and encourage more and longer unemployment.
Yet again, an expensive program paid for by the taxpayers, which doesn’t really solve any problems or encourage individuals to make aggressive changes in their lives. It just keeps more people on the dole for longer periods of time while the rest of us work our butts off to pay for the programs.