On Thursday, the Labor Department announced an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, but with a June labor-force participation rate of 62.8 percent, which some have suggested has skewed the unemployment number.
On Fox News Channel’s Thursday broadcast of “Special Report,” Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton explained how the growth of the labor participation rate could be tied to the growth of disability entitlements, which have turned into a form of permanent welfare. She argued those entitlements have discouraged some from finding work, which has lowered the labor-force participation rate.
“To pick up on Charles [Krauthammer]’s point, there were studies that did show that extending unemployment benefits would actually add a percent to unemployment rate and that’s possibly been proven now,” Easton said. “The other question, though, when you look at labor participation being so low, that you have to look at the disability rolls, which are exploding. And disability has become a form of permanent welfare for a lot of folks. It’s not that hard to prove a mental illness, or mental issues, or pain issues. And there’s this explosion of law firms on daytime TV advertising on places like Fox that will help you get disability. And yet you have to wonder if you likewise clamp down on disability, if you might see some of the people go back into the work force because, again, it’s enforced poverty. You are stuck in — you are ghettoized in a level of poverty whereas a job has the potential to increase your income, disability does not.”
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