fresh voices from the front lines of change







Minutes ago on the Senate floor, the Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl just defending Sen. Jim Bunning’s filibuster by attacking the entire premise for unemployment insurance during a protracted period of job losses.

Sen. Kyl argued that unemployment insurance would not lead an increase in jobs, and then said:

It could be argued it is a disincentive for work because people are being paid even though they are not working.

I suppose that’s true. You could argue it!

But you’d be economically illiterate!

As McCain presidential campaign economic adviser Mark Zandi testified to Congress at the end of 2008:

Extra benefits for workers who exhaust their regular 26 weeks of unemployment insurance [UI] benefits
and expanded food stamp payments have been part of the federal response to most recessions, and for good
reason: They are the most efficient ways to prime the economy’s pump. Simulations of the Moody’s macroeconomic model show that every dollar spent on UI benefits generates an estimated
$1.63 in near-term GDP.

People who receive these benefits are hard-pressed and will spend any financial aid they receive very
quickly. Another advantage is that these programs are already operating and can quickly deliver a benefit
increase to recipients. The virtue of extending UI benefits goes beyond simply providing financial aid for
the jobless to more broadly shoring up household confidence. Nothing is more psychologically debilitating,
even to those still employed, than watching unemployed friends and relatives lose their sources of support.

Furthermore, it’s hard for unemployment insurance to be a disincentive to finding jobs when we’ve just lost 8.4 million jobs! You can’t find jobs that don’t exist.

This is the whole point of long-term unemployment insurance, help folks get by while we work to recover the jobs that have disappeared. It helps the jobless and the rest of the economy at the same time.

But now you can see why Senate conservatives are so callous about subverting the majority will to cut off unemployment insurance.

Because they don’t believe in unemployment insurance, no matter what the facts are.

And apparently, it doesn’t matter what the votes are either.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Sign the petition.

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