Among the reasons that some Republicans give for opposing the extension of unemployment benefits is that it actually encourages people not to look for work. In other words if people are getting unemployment benefits they will not look for work, and so if their benefits end they will be forced to get a job.
There are two problems with that outlook. First it implies that most people are lazy. I think that is an ugly view of humanity, but I will save that topic for another day.
The other problem is that it ignores economic reality. The unfortunate reality in the current recession is that there are simply not as many jobs as there are people looking for and needing jobs. According to a recent article in the New York Times:
For young adults, the prospects in the workplace, even for the college-educated, have rarely been so bleak. Apart from the 14 percent who are unemployed and seeking work … 23 percent are not even seeking a job, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total, 37 percent, is the highest in more than three decades and a rate reminiscent of the 1930s. [According to the story a large chunk of that 23 percent are in the “too discouraged to look” category.]
The college-educated among these young adults are better off. But nearly 17 percent are either unemployed or not seeking work, a record level (although some are in graduate school). The unemployment rate for college-educated young adults, 5.5 percent, is nearly double what it was on the eve of the Great Recession, in 2007, and the highest level — by almost two percentage points — since the bureau started to keep records in 1994 for those with at least four years of college.
The full story can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/business/economy/07generation.html?pagewanted=1&ref=homepage&src=me
This is a serious problem for this nation. Regardless of where you may stand on the issue of extending unemployment benefits, it is imperative that we begin to look at the major problems facing our economy, and start to come up with ways to fix them. The constant political fight in Washington, which is supposedly about “ideology”, is not even remotely addressing the real issues. And rather than address the real problems facing the economy, some Republicans are willing to kick the unemployed while they are down. Kind of sad.