Patterico's Pontifications

12/12/2012

Dems: We Insist on Stimulus, By Which We Mean Things Like Extending Unemployment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:12 am

Democrats actually consider extending unemployment insurance to be “stimulus”:

Senior Democratic officials on Capitol Hill and in the White House say that the media and Republicans are mistaken to assume that the stimulus measures were included as mere bargaining chips. In fact, the Democrats say, they’re important building blocks for President Barack Obama’s second term in office.

. . . .

The specific measures — extension of unemployment insurance benefits ($30 billion) and the payroll tax cut ($115 billion), infrastructure spending ($50 billion to $75 billion), and a series of other tax cut extenders ($27 billion) — hardly constitute a robust stimulus package, particularly considering all the spending cuts likely to surround them in any final deal. Yet top Democrats view these measures, drawn from the president’s proposed American Jobs Act, as an essential component of that deal.

“Our approach must be ‘first, do no harm’ to the recovery,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post. “That means extending emergency unemployment benefits and, if not preserving the payroll tax cut, then replacing it with something that gives similar help to middle-class families.”

Pardon me while I go scream into a pillow.

OK, I’m back.

Look: if you want to argue for extending unemployment benefits, be my guest. Such benefits depress the job market but help out those down on their luck (as well as others). It’s a trade-off.

Just don’t pretend it’s not a trade-off, that’s all. Because it is.

P.S. The link goes to EconTalk, a podcast by Russ Roberts that I have become a fan of. The link is well worth a listen, for a serious and nonpartisan examination of how rule changes such as extending unemployment benefits are almost certainly responsible for a higher rate of unemployment.

More economic literacy, please.

20 Responses to “Dems: We Insist on Stimulus, By Which We Mean Things Like Extending Unemployment”

  1. Literacy? The Government can help:

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/only-7-detroit-public-school-8th-graders-proficient-reading

    Just give mo money.

    In fairness NYC isn’t much better without all the inmigrantes from flyover wasteland.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  2. Why get a job when the Gov’t will pay you for not working? As much as we decry the slothfulness this exemplifies we all seek to maximize our income while minimizing the effort required to obtain it. And to tell the truth, you can’t expend much less effort than by not working a job.

    Ralph Gizzip (5ab3ea)

  3. Obama’s campaign to raise taxes on job creators combined with the uncertainties of ObamaCare and the burdens over-regulation imposes on employers are more than enough to make sure there aren’t enough jobs to go around.

    Without the ability to warehouse surplus workers with unemployment checks Obama might be facing angry demonstrations in the streets the likes of which would make TEA Party protests seem like an old fashioned hootenanny.

    ropelight (d23b9d)

  4. When all the good, laudable things the GOP stands for are tallied against all those the Manchu Nihilist is for, and the nasty stuff they oppose are considered:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/12/11/reason-poll-young-libertarians-favored-obama-over-romney-by-10-points/

    Who loves ya, baby?

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  5. “Our approach must be ‘first, do no harm’ to the recovery” says Schumer. Chuck, quick qyestion if I may: if the econ is in recovery (ie things are getting better and people are going back to work), why would it be necessary to EXTEND unemployment benefits? Unless of course, Chuck, you are admitting that the economy sucks and is growing worse.

    jb (1d4887)

  6. Problem remains that the GOP does not fight the Dems’ misuse fo language. Rasining taxes is not “revenues” and spending is not “investments”. If you don’t fight that nonsense you lose the battle before it even starts.

    Ultimately though give the bastards what they want except a blanket debt raise(which would be unconsitutionla anyway). Instead of playing Charlie Brown to Lucy pulling the football, do the Pontius Pilate, vote “present” as Our Fearless Leader has often done on big issues, and let The One own the ensuing mess.

    Bugg (ba4ca9)

  7. Chuck doesn’t need to worry about harming the recovery, because there is no recovery to harm.

    redc1c4 (403dff)

  8. Democrats are incapable of understanding the concept of a trade-off.

    Whenever a Dem tries to sell stupid Dem policies to stupid Dem voters, s/he explains that their policy is the best of all possible worlds, with no downsides. It’s just super-perfect. Spend more on unemployment? Yeah, that’s great for the economy. Kick oil in the balls while subsidizing failed green energy companies? That’s going to increase energy availability and provide “green jobs” which will boost the economy! Yay! They can’t acknowledge that trade-offs even exist.

    And people say the Republican Party is anti-intellectual. Baloney. We’re too honest and thoughtful. We need some stupid populism.

    Daryl Herbert (8e02e0)

  9. Mr. Hennessey rescues his reputation, endangered by his ‘Obama dassent dare risk recession’ column of a couple weeks ago.

    http://keithhennessey.com/2012/12/11/option-c/

    It would appear Boehner, if he has any redeeming merit whatever, has a better option than to simply let the Bush Tax cuts die and the AMT wreak havoc.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  10. Look: if you want to argue for extending unemployment benefits, be my guest. Such benefits depress the job market but help out those down on their luck (as well as others). It’s a trade-off.

    Extending unemployment benefits any more than they have been extended hurts the unemployed in two ways:
    1. If you haven’t had a job in two years, you’re never going to get one. Well, maybe not “never”, or any job, but employers don’t like hiring people who have spent the last two years sitting around – they prefer people who have been working (if even at Stop & Shop).
    2. Those receiving unemployment insurance face the same negative incentives to hire full-time employees as the rest of the population. It makes it harder for them to get the kind of full-time, full-benefits work that they had prior to being laid off.

    Sorry for the rant, but I truly do not understand how this helps anyone.

    bridget (a44b32)

  11. More economic literacy, please.

    Scream that into your pillow, too.

    Remember we have a president who admits he cannot do 8th grade math. Hard to be economically literate when you’re innumerate.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  12. Another not so stellar US Treasury auction, Indirect buyers, those not selling to the Fed next week, were washing their hair.

    Mortgage rates down, 10-year T-Bills up. Watch that space.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  13. Market turning down as Bennie’s new end to QE digested. U3 6.5% milestone ends free money. With the BLS that could be 6 mo. as people exit the labor market for funemployment and disability.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  14. 16K Hostess bakeries workers would probably tell us that Biden’s milk and bread stimulus program didn’t work so well.

    d_fitz (217fe1)

  15. The national Reviw seems to have – I’m not sure – come out for extension of the payroll tax cut.

    They may think it is trap.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/335038

    Don’t Get Rolled

    By The Editors

    December 7, 2012 4:00 A.M.

    What if we were to tell you there is a tax on wages that hits working families hardest, that the purported purpose of this tax — to pay for old-age entitlements — is a fraud, and that John Boehner wants to raise it as part of a fiscal-cliff deal?

    Unfortunately, that is exactly where we are. President Obama and many congressional Democrats are on record supporting a one-year extension of the two-year-old payroll-tax cut, which reduced the employee piece of Social Security withholdings from 6.2 to 4.2 percent of taxable income. But buried in House Republicans’ counteroffer is the fact that it would let that cut expire at year’s end….

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

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