Next week, Senate Democrats will restart their effort to create a de facto permanent unemployment entitlement for those out of work for up to 73 weeks. Unfortunately, instead of uprooting the entire premise of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) extension, many Senate Republicans are prepared to go along with this scheme as long as the 5 month cost is offset through some notional promises of more revenue in year 2024.
This represents a lost opportunity. The Democrat request for a UI extension in light of their Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, labor and environmental regulations on the economy is akin to someone injecting a painful disease into a patient while simultaneously demanding a constant flow of morphine. It’s time for Republicans to stand firm and pin the tail of long-term unemployment on the donkey. The message should be resoundingly clear: stop creating a permanent part-time economy with Obamacare and there won’t be a need to create dependency with fiscal morphine.
The Hill reports today on the findings of a Brookings Institute study detailing the state of the long-term unemployed:
A new study released Thursday finds that only about 11 percent of the long-term unemployed returned to full-time steady work a year later.
The study found that people out of work for at least six months are having an increasingly hard time reconnecting with the labor force.
It concludes that even if the unemployment rate returns to normal levels long-term unemployment will remain a problem in the economy and that "the long-term unemployed are an unlucky subset of the short-term unemployed." […]
Between 2009 - 2013, the authors found that a sharp decline in job openings coupled with a decrease in labor force withdrawal rates accounts for the sharp rise in the number of long-term unemployed workers and the overall rise in the unemployment rate.
So what is the answer? What is the panacea? Do we subsidize even more individuals to stay unemployed or do we address the factors that have created the shortage of jobs?
That’s the choice Republicans need to communicate to the American people instead of getting mired in a dispute of which phony offsets to use in paying for the wrongheaded policy.
Republican leadership should block any UI bill unless Senator Harry Reid agrees to hold a debate on the real issues that cause unemployment. They should push full repeal of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and Obama’s new labor and environmental regulations. They should push Senator Ted Cruz’s new energy bill that will unshackle the private economy to create jobs. They should demand votes on lowering the corporate tax and repatriating foreign income – policies that Democrats claim to support.
Alternatively, they can agree to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and double our record-high level of immigration and guest workers. After all, isn’t there a labor shortage in virtually every sector of the economy – both high-skilled and low-skilled?
Obamanomics provides Republicans with an opportunity to create a bold contrast. Will they actually bite?