The Wrong Reason to Oppose Unemployment Benefits

There are some good arguments against extending unemployment benefits for the eighth time. Opponents, understandably, argue that adding even more to the deficit will hurt the economy and, in the end, employment. And there are lots of other arguments.

On Twitter last night, I noticed that one of the arguments, put forth by someone I like and respect, was that some people will turn down jobs if unemployment is extended, choosing instead not to work and just collect checks until Congress and the President stop the extensions. 

While this is true in some circumstances, and something we should work to prevent, it’s a line of thinking that should not be used as the rationale to deny unemployment assistance in general. It doesn’t sit will. It doesn’t feel right. It feels like an excuse, not a reason.

We give tax credits for employers who hire people with certain disadvantages. While some of these employees would have been hired anyhow, and that’s a problem, it’s not a reason to scrap that whole tax credit.

We give tax credits to the “working poor.” Some people get it who shouldn’t, a problem that needs addressing, but it shouldn’t be cause to eliminate the whole credit.

When you send 10 gift baskets to soldiers overseas, maybe one is damaged on the way. So shall we send none instead of nine?

Shall we stop giving to charity because of administrative expenses? 

There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to extend unemployment, if that’s the side you’re on. But why hurt those who need help just because you might help someone who doesn’t?




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