Unemploy This Argument
Some coworkers and I (lucky us) were discussing the decision to not extend unemployment benefits further. I heard some standard objections like “They could really find some job if they tried hard enough.” “You can’t extend them indefinitely or there is no pressure to keep looking.” “What about the deficit?” “I know people who just collect unemployment benefits who could work.” etc etc…
First of all, failing to extend unemployment benefits because of deficit concerns is not only cruel but ridiculous. Those benefits add almost nothing to the deficit and are just a temporary measure anyway. Also there is evidence that they have stimulative effects and would cost much less than billed (and could potentially even lead to increased revenues).
Let me set aside that concern and focus in other the others. It is true that studies have found that unemployment insurance can lead people to set off taking jobs – but those focus on normal times. This chart should dispel any notion that the unemployed are choosing to be that way because of the benefits. It also should remind everyone that anecdotes do not constitute data. Read on for the shocking reveal.
(chart via: Daniel Indiviglio)