In 2014, a Harris Poll of 1.5k unemployed Americans found that almost 50% reported they did not look for work as hard as they could due to the benefits. In addition, 82% would search “harder and wider” for a job if their unemployment benefits ran out.
Prior to the financial crisis of 2008, unemployment benefits lasted 26 weeks in most states. For the next five years, a Democrat-controlled Congress extended unemployment benefits and by the end of 2013, the average duration of unemployment benefits across the 50 states was 53 weeks. In December 2013, a Republic-controlled Congress defunded the program. The average duration of unemployment benefits dropped ~53% from 53 weeks to 25 weeks.
Guess what happened? According to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research:
- In 2014, 1.8M new jobs were created. Remember President Obama and his minions in the mainstream media touting the so-called “economic miracle”?
- 1M workers—the unemployed who were not participating in the labor force and who would not have participated in the labor market had the extended benefits program continued—filled those jobs.
- In 2014, cutting those extra benefits accounted for 61% of aggregate employment growth.
- The first year without the extended unemployment benefits demonstrated employment growth that was 25% higher than in the best preceding years.
What conservatives offered in 2008 as an argument concerning why unemployment benefits should not be extended—extending them beyond a certain point provides a disincentive to work—has proven accurate. However, as a minority at the time, the liberals—President Obama and his Democrat-controlled Congress--had their way then and would probably vote once again to extend unemployment benefits, despite the evidence.
Better yet, what President Obama fails to tout about all of those so-called
“jobs created” during the past 3 years is that 61% of that growth is due to cutting the extension of the very unemployment benefits that he championed.
Evidence of yet another jobs killing and income redistributionist entitlement that has failed. Not only that, not a peep about that failure in the mainstream press.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the 2014 Harris Poll results, click on the following link:
To read the National Bureau of Economic Research report, click on the following link:
“The Impact of Unemployment Benefit Extensions on Employment: The 2014 Employment Miracle.”