"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Pull Harder On Your Bootstraps!”: Excuses, Excuses, For Not Extending Unemployment Insurance

The president on Tuesday called on Congress to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, saying the insurance program keeps Americans from “falling off a cliff.” But the Republican leadership — convinced that Americans can pull themselves up and out of the ravine by their bootstraps — finds the extension unnecessary.

“Pull harder!” sounds kind of callous, though, especially since the unemployment rate hovers above 7 percent and there are more people looking for work than positions available. So Republicans are finding nicer ways of explaining their objections, and ginning up excuses.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Republican leadership sent a “what we talk about when we talk about cutting benefits”-type memo to the rank-and-file, which emphasizes the need for compassion. “For every American out of work, it’s a personal crisis for them and their family,” the memo states. “That’s why House Republicans remain focused on creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Is job creation incompatible with extending unemployment insurance? The memo suggests it is: “Even the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found that extending the program will lead to some workers reducing the intensity of their job search and staying unemployed longer.”

By the way, the C.B.O. also estimated in December that “extending unemployment benefits would raise gross domestic product (GDP) and employment in 2014 relative to what would occur under current law.” No mention of that in the memo.

Republicans are also trying to make themselves look better by insisting they’d agree to an extension if the cost were “offset” with cuts to the federal budget. Raising revenue by closing tax loopholes is, naturally, off the table. And what’s on the table, at least so far, is definitely not kosher for Democrats.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, suggested paying for the cost of an extension by “lifting the burden of Obamacare’s individual mandate for one year.” It’s true that would save money — according to the C.B.O. — but only because fewer uninsured people would seek and receive Medicaid coverage.


By: Juliet Lapidos, Editor’s Blog, The New York Times, January 8, 2014

January 12, 2014 - Posted by | Republicans, Unemployment Benefits | , , , , , , ,

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