Thomas Lucente: Longer jobless benefits help no one

First Posted: 1/7/2014

The argument for jobless benefits is another example of Obamanomics: Why help people when you can simply hand them a check and make them dependent on government?

This has been the underlying theme of President Barack Obama’s administration. Don’t let them become self-sufficient. Do not let them help themselves. Just give them a check and make them a slave to the government.

But handouts, while making liberal lawmakers feel good about themselves, do not make a sound economic policy and, in the end, do not help anyone.

If you need proof, just look at the fact that we are in the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, when another economically illiterate president thought he could improve the economy by putting the country on the public dole building dams and by creating the biggest boondoggle in U.S. history, the Ponzi scheme commonly called Social Security.

Fortunately for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a world war saved his legacy, at least among the uninformed masses.

Fortunately for us, no world war is going to save the Obama administration.

Unfortunately for the economic health of the United States, the administration wants to extend long-term unemployment benefits. Apparently, it is easier to write a check than actually fix the problem.

And there is a problem. More than 11 million people are unemployed and millions more have left the workforce.

But the answer is not more checks and handouts. The answer is economic freedom, as U.S. Sen Rand Paul and one of my favorite economists, Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute, wrote last week in USA Today.

“Our view is that America needs a growth agenda based on reducing the burden of government,” they wrote. “The unemployed need a strong job market, not endless handouts that create dependency.”

This would seem self-evident, unless, of course, you have a leftist mindset where the government must DO something to solve a problem. To those who think like that, the idea that the government should do less seems counterintuitive.

Paul and Mitchell point to a 1990 study that essentially proves what we all really know, even if we don’t want to admit it. That is, the closer someone gets to the end of their unemployment insurance benefits, the more likely they are to find employment. That is because when the benefits near their end, there is an incentive to take employment that might be less than what they were — possibly unrealistically — expecting.

There are 2.21 million fewer jobs today than there were just six years ago. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009. In November, the unemployment rate was 7 percent after peaking out at 10 percent in October 2009.

Obama and Keynesian economists tell us that the best way to improve economic growth is to spend trillions of dollars. Yet, FDR proved this wrong. And now Obama is reproving it wrong. Since Obama become president, as Paul and Mitchell point out, the government has spent more than $560 billion on unemployment benefits.

How much more of this nonsense must we endure before Americans wake up and tell these big-government liberals that the time is over for this ignorant experiment with big government?

Democrats blame Republicans for not acting on Obama’s “jobs program.” There is no government program that can create jobs. That is a myth.

The only way to create jobs is for the government to stay out of the marketplace. Less government means more jobs.

“We need policies that unleash the private sector, encouraging greater job creation,” they wrote.

The time is now to renew America’s faith in the free market and reject this big government European-style socialism that will forever mire us in a stagnant economy and give the people a welfare-state mentality that destroys jobs, destroys incentives and lower the entire nation’s standard of living.

That would be better than a few more months of handouts.

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