The Big Benefits Question

The Big Benefits Question

To say there's considerable debate about the extent to which enhanced unemployment benefits are holding back the US labor market would be a good candidate for economic understatement of the year. This debate, like almost every debate in America these days, is hopelessly politicized. The GOP relies on a tried-and-true tactic to argue that generous benefits for the jobless are an impediment to labor market progress: Republican lawmakers lean on what sounds like common sense, and declare the case
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11 thoughts on “The Big Benefits Question

  1. Thought provoking as always. Makes me think about Dalio’s commentary about who the economy is working for, by what percentage and how much that will change over time. Our elbows out way of capitalism needs a bit of an upgrade if the “working” ratio is to improve.

  2. As the wealthiest tribe on Earth, our tribal members deserve a living wage because no one should be living on the streets or starving.

    I generally don’t like handouts (money for nothin), but I am not opposed to more government programs that employ citizens. Especially because, as a country, we can get what we collectively decide we want/need not only for now but also for the future without concerns about making a profit. Better education and healthcare, more housing and protecting Mother Earth for future generations all come to mind. Probably could even redirect some existing defense workers but we certainly don’t need “pyramids”.

    Not only would citizen workers receive a living wage (because the government can decide to pay that) but our country could leave something of value for future generations as a result of the money that is either printed, borrowed or collected. Also, we would no longer need to argue over a minimum wage law and no one would be forced to accept a $12/hr bussing job- without healthcare.

    The problem with repairing roads, as compared to building the original interstate highway system, is that the construction of the original interstate highway system resulted in an economic boom (national commerce) beyond just the wages that were paid for the actual construction project. Believe me, our roads need repairing (I put about 20,000 highway miles on my car during covid)- but that is just “maintenance”, not “building for the future”.

    I have been reading up on the golden Edo period of Japan, when government projects (i.e, building of walls to contain marshes and a system of aqueducts to provide drinking and farming water) resulted in an economic and cultural boom to what was at the time, one of the largest cities in the world and is now called Tokyo.

  3. Mad dogs bite. There is no need to discuss the rationality of their behavior. The GOP is determined to end all government social programs, privatize the profits and socialize the losses of every endeavor. There is no need to discuss the rationality of its behavior either. They are what they are and eventually they will both doom themselves through their own actions.

    Case in point: Wyoming ended the enhanced unemployment benefits. At that time, Campbell County had 324 people filing unemployment claims. The unemployed lost the federal $300 per week, local businesses did not see the $388,800 per month (324 people X $300 X 4 weeks/month) that would have been spent on food, fuel, rent and services. The state and county did not get their $19,440 in sales tax either. Economists tell us that a dollar spent locally turns over seven times. If that is correct, the governor’s action will cost Campbell County businesses $2,721,600 per month. But that’s OK, we can blame it all on Obama’s war on coal and those ‘takers’ can get a job.

    After a brutal legislative budget session where the few existing Wyoming social programs got the ax due to decreased revenues, we learn that the American Rescue Plan funding represents a 22.7% budget increase for Wyoming. What to do? We’ll deal with it in the 2022 session. What are we going to do with the extra cash? We are the GOP so we will “support stimulus over relief” and “create capacity for the future” per our governor. Which means more stimulus cash for oil, coal and construction companies from other states. Will it trickle down? Nope, not here anyway.

    1. What a damning condemnation of GOP ideology.

      I’ve come to believe that the new “conservative” ideology is mainly based on resentment = why are blacks/other darkies/immigrants getting free child care, cell phones, cars and housing while I slave in two jobs?

      Or, as a musician friend complained to me the mother of his two kids was unable to collect more welfare because “those people are taking the money we should be getting.”

      The GOP has tapped into something wired into our DNA. And not just ours- chimps, dogs and crows will stop performing a routine that results in a treat if they can see another getting a better reward for doing the same task. “Why is he getting a grape when I just get a pellet?”

      The GOP base would rather see no one get anything if it means that some other group will maybe get more than them.

      1. Well put. And when does a society notice that a past dominant force has turned to the dark side and must be stopped. Not a good idea to try the remake without a well thought out strategy. The good news is that little spaceship earth seems to be able to take a punch or two.

      2. In the UK, it’s called “The Tall Poppy Culture”. This is America, what did you expect after 3 generations of a country that bombed it’s economic rivals back to the stone ages?
        Rags to Rags in 3 generations.

      3. Beneath the GOP or “conservative” ideology is a three legged stool …
        1) Greed
        2) Bitterness
        3) Ignorance

        Beneath the stool is a sandlike foundation of deep distrust against oneself and greater humanity.

  4. The US economy is a supertanker. 1980 began a serious march to huge economic inequality. That and close elections are very destabilizing. Demographics are also an elephant in the living room. 58% of bankruptcies are due to healthcare. Clearly if eveyone who has no money had free healthcare and if most of us didn’t get our healthcare at work the underpinnings of society would improve. Crony capitalism and regulatory capture need to be adressed as well. These are not only left right issues. I am a huge fan of the question cui bono? Somebody clearly likes things the way they are now. It’s not just what the political class does, it’s what they don’t do…..

  5. Conservatives create poor people who beg at the side door of the church to have their children indoctrinated.
    Imagine that, Americas working poor are taking a summer vacation. The only sad part is that they will be going back to work as the benefits end and the Republicans will take that as proof positive for what they consider a moral religious Highground.
    If Jesus didn’t take a break from being a Carpenter maybe the world wouldn’t be in such a mess.
    There is a lot of new business formation going on.

  6. As an ex- Republican, I agree with everybody’s opinion of the conservative outlook on society. Without those benefits, we would have had a second Great Depression, or worse.
    Instead of record homelessness, we have pre-pandemic box office tallies again.

    Let everybody keep spending, the rest will work out.

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