In an unprecedented wave of public assistance spending, the federal and state governments have shelled out more than half a trillion dollars in unemployment programs over the last five years. If Congress decides to extend unemployment benefits yet again, it will cost the federal government at least $30 billion this year. Even CNN reports:
The federal government has spent far more on unemployment insurance in recent years than it had in previous economic downturns because of the unprecedented response to the Great Recession. Federal benefits were extended to a record 99 weeks in November 2009. That safety net was extended multiple times until this year, when Congress extended the deadline to file but shortened the duration the jobless can receive checks.
While Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other economic illiterates may consider extending jobless benefits a form of stimulus, the fact show that lengthening unemployment benefits merely decreases incentives for job searches. Yet the Congressional Budget Office continues to pretend that the Keynesian worldview is correct, and that there is some sort of magical multiplier effect present in redistributing wealth from those who have earned it to those who are unemployed.
No doubt the Democrats will complain that unemployment benefits are set to run out during the Christmas season. But for too many unemployed, every day for years has been Christmas.