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Unemployment Benefits

December 6, 2010

As the Congress debates whether to extend tax cuts and who to “give” the tax cuts to, the issue of unemployment benefits is being thrown into the mix.

The first point I’d like to make is the whole language the government and the press uses around the subject of taxes. They speak of “tax cuts” and whether we (meaning, in this case, the government) can “afford” the cuts, and who “deserves” to have their taxes cut and whether a particular group of citizens “can afford” to pay taxes. This is totally backwards.

Once and for all: it’s our money, the government has no inherent right to it and they (again, the government) are not the judges of whether we’re worthy to keep our money or not. Taxes are forced extractions. Judge Learned Hand was right and Joe Biden is wrong.

The truth is, Congress is not debating tax cuts but rather a tax increase.

But back to the topic of unemployment benefits: The administration wants an extension of them beyond the almost unprecedented existing 99 weeks as a concession to allowing us to keep our own money. The term being suggested  is another year. That means almost three years of unemployment benefits.

Why does the administration want this? Well, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers said that without the extension, the recovery is in peril. Say what? That position statement goes a long way to show why we’re in this mess in the first place. A few points the Keynesian economists in government might like to know:

  • People on unemployment are not productive; they are consuming goods and services, not creating them.
  • Very long-term unemployment benefits is, in essence, pays people to remain idle.
  • There is no money to pay unemployment benefits: it’s all just increased debt.

The administration would like us to believe that they care about the unemployed and want to help them out, especially at Christmas time. Really? Or do they feel just a little bit guilty that their economic policies have prevented a recovery so far? Or are they just trying to keep these people on the dole in the hope that they will continue to vote Democrat in the hopes of securing ever more benefits? The answer, I think, depends on how cynical one is.

Let the government stop trying to create “state capitalism”–otherwise known as fascism–in this country and we will need neither higher taxes nor more unemployment benefits.


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