With The Barack recently stating publicly that he believes unemployment creates jobs, I have to wonder about something. Specifically: Where is Nancy Pelosi? That used to be her line. The left used to send Mrs. Pelosi out to tout the old chestnut about unemployment insurance being a job creator as if it were her own original idea and she was going to get us to believe it no matter what the facts are. Of course, I could be mistaken, I could be thinking of Mrs. Pelosi telling us what a great economic benefit food stamps are. In my mind the two issues are pretty similar, and since Nancy Pelosi is “down” for increases and extensions of both, I get the two mixed up. Normally, I would say that there’s no way she actually thinks either is true, but we are talking about Nancy Pelosi, and frankly, she might actually believe it. Or not. Going by recent history, I would have to say that understanding the “Nancy Pelosi way of thinking” is beyond me.
I will say this though, since it’s now The Barack himself trying to get us to believe that paying extra unemployment insurance is a job creator, I have to wonder if everybody else on the left (including Pelosi) is looking for a little “distance” on this one. For most of my life I’ve always thought that almost anybody would take a call from the President of the United States. Until recently, say the last five or six years, I always thought that even if someone didn’t like the present occupant of The White House, respect for the office would dictate that a call or request from a sitting President would be taken and/or listened to. Now however, we’ve undergone “fundamental change” and I no longer believe a call from The White House is something that will be automatically taken. Is this why Barack Obama himself has to try and convince us that unemployment payments are an economic stimulator? Has the word gone out not to answer a call from The White House because it might be The Barack trying to enlist you in a campaign to try and convince the American people that paying people to not work creates a positive economic impact? Is the advent of telephones with caller I.D. reducing Obama to having to push things he’d rather not be caught saying?
Personally, I think pretty much any thinking person who isn’t a government economist (well maybe except Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden) is capable of figuring out that pretty often people do what they are paid to do. Since one of the requirements for collecting unemployment benefits is that you not be working, oddly enough, the trend for many of the people collecting unemployment is to not get a job. Hmmm…, there must be some kind of cause and effect there but I can’t quite nail it down. Just kidding, I’d have to be brain dead (or maybe a government economist) to not figure this one out. Oh, by the way, as far as my comments about government economists, since any economist employed by the federal government is working for an organization that is somewhere between sixteen and two hundred trillion dollars in debt, I would say whatever it is they “know” about economics, it isn’t working very well.
Having said all of the above, as bad as it is that people in our own government, who clearly should know better, are trying to convince us that unemployment is actually an economic stimulator, that’s only one facet of the problem. As a person who has worked all of my life, I find it saddening and disappointing that unemployment insurance has become something people both depend on, and more importantly, attach no social stigma too. While there have always been (and always will be) people who will “ride” any handout program they can, unemployment insurance used to be something that most working people avoided if at all possible. Not only that, but if they did have to collect unemployment, the money it paid was not enough to support a family and the length of time it was available was pretty short. I think it was something like three months and then you were on your own, but having never collected it myself, I’m not sure about the three month figure. I do know it wasn’t figured in years. At that time, I think the basic intent behind unemployment was to help a person, and their family, stay housed and fed for a short period of time while they found another job. I’m pretty sure the idea wasn’t for an extended, all bills paid, vacation. In fact, I can remember during the Jimmy Carter years, when the dismantling of Detroit was really getting into gear, a lot of people from Michigan coming to Texas because Texas had jobs, and Michigan didn’t. Having worked side by side with a lot of those people, I can tell you that they didn’t come to Texas because they wanted a warmer climate (any more than you would find me working in Michigan because I had a sudden desire to experience six foot snow drifts). They moved because that was what it took for them to find jobs and support themselves. When the economy in Michigan improved (temporarily as it turned out) the majority of them moved back, or went home, as they phrased it.
So just to compare apples to apples, why aren’t we seeing a lot of people from Michigan moving to Texas during this current (longstanding) economic downturn? After all, the economy in Michigan is terrible, and Texas is adding jobs. First of all, comparing climates and knowing how much people like to stay with what they are familiar with, I would be willing to bet that the people who are willing to move from Michigan to get a job are more likely to wind up in South Dakota, where the economy is also booming, than they are in Texas. Knowing full well how much hotter Texas is than what they’re used to, I can’t blame them. Secondly, and more importantly, I bet that the extension of unemployment benefits from something around three months to two years has greatly cut down on the number of people willing to uproot themselves to go where the work is. Couple that with a state income tax of about four percent and the people who do want to work and produce are being economically encouraged to leave Michigan. At the same time, because of the greatly expanded unemployment benefits, people who aren’t as determined to work are being paid to stay. Hmmm…, wonder how that’s going to work out. Detroit on a state wide basis, what could possibly go wrong?
Frankly, public officials being willing to publicly try and convince Americans of something as idiotic as positive economic benefits being attached to extended unemployment worries me, a lot. However, that doesn’t concern me nearly as much as a public that has been trained to be receptive to the idea.
Bruce Kreitler is the author of Obamageddon (the Culmination of the Progressive Looting of America) and posts this and other articles at BruceKreitler.com.