My comment on unemployment insurance.
This is my response to a Wall Street Journal editorial on unemployment insurance today:
I am currently unemployed and am not receiving unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance, like a great many other welfare programs, saps the individual of any desire to look for work because the inverse of unemployment insurance is true: if someone pays you to not work, then will you be incentivized to look for work? The greatest motivator for looking for work is not having a wage coming in. The bad experience of not eating or being able to pay your bills is what motivates us to look harder for work and to do whatever job that is available in order to prevent this situation. This all changes once the government determines that it is a good idea to take from people who are gainfully employed and struggling to keep their own jobs (because the unemployment insurance tax is paid by employers who reduce the employed wage to pay it) and give to people who are unemployed.
I had a discussion with this yesterday with my wife because I told her that no one who is on unemployment insurance is actively looking for work because of that inverse relationship. She got upset that I would generalize an entire group of people. I only had to remind her of my brother, who was on unemployment for almost a year and never looked for work, and another individual staying with my folks who is also on unemployment who alleges he is looking for work, but my other brother says he isn’t. I’m inclined to believe my little brother because this other individual has been on unemployment as long as my brother and, while he has been employed, he cannot keep a job. I also told her that the government does not even know how many people are actively committing fraud in the program because it is so easy to commit unemployment fraud. How is the government going to verify that a) you are employed; b) if you are not employed that you are looking for work; and/or c) you are you and that you are eligible for the program to begin with?
And I’ll just throw in this aside. I so tire of liberals who always go to the emotional argument for justifying their support for a government program. They act as though they are the only ones who act with righteousness and that anyone who is against their proposals are without a heart. Unfortunately for them, the premise upon which they base their arguments is entirely false. Yes, there are people who are suffering from the vicissitudes of life, but how can you address this by taking from others? Are you not increasing the suffering from the vicissitudes of life because not only does the person need to worry about his own, he must now worry about the government taking from him to give to another? Unemployment insurance, which was started in 1935 as a noble program, has quickly morphed into a program to buy votes. The program, like so many other government programs, has corrupted not only the pols making the unfunded promises, but the recipients of the program who justify taking from others as an act of compassion and the receiving of the benefits as being “responsible”. I’m sorry, but getting hooked on a government program is not an act of compassion or being responsible. It is dispassionate and irresponsible. That is not to say that I am not caring, but that socialization of private ills is not caring, but coercion of individuals at a weak point in their lives. It is time to start realizing that these government programs are not doing anything they intended except driving up massive debts for which all of us will be responsible for, whether we are employed or unemployed.