Extending unemployment benefits is being talked about again lately.  On the face, this seems like it would be the caring thing to do to help out people who have not yet been able to find work.  Anyone who would oppose something like this is surely heartless and misguided.  Right?

Well, I am one of those people who disagrees with extending unemployment benefits.  When a person looses a job, unemployment will help them out, temporarily, so that they can keep their families running while they locate work.  Many people will go out fairly quickly and locate some kind of work so that they can get on with their life.  This is how it is supposed to work. 

Others on the other hand will see this as a temporary paid vacation and will ride it out till they are close to the end of their unemployment benefits and then they will find a job.  We all know there are jobs out there, they just aren't the kind of jobs that pay what people would like.  So when someone says they can't find work, it is most likely that they can't find the kind of work that pays them what they want so financially it makes more sense to stay on unemployment and see if something they like comes along.

Since many of these unemployed people have job opportunities which are not all that appealing and would actually pay less than they are making on unemployment, it logically makes more sense to stay on unemployment till they can find a better job or till their unemployment runs out and then they will have to take a job they don't really want or find some other alternative.  In addition, unemployment will allow them to spend more time with their families which is a positive thing.  They can even do odd jobs here and there to bring in extra money, so being on unemployment can seem like it isn't such a bad thing.  I think all this makes good sense to most people since they figure it really is their money that they have been paying into the system so why not use it.

So, what happens then when someone hears that their unemployment will be extended?  The people who have not yet gone back to work will continue on with what they had been doing previously instead of taking a pay cut to do a job they don't want to do.  Why take the lower paying job now when they can just stay on unemployment?

So how does this impact everyone else?  If a person continues to stay out of the work force and just live off unemployment, then the unemployment levels will continue to be low.  Isn't one of the goals here that we want to get people back to work and the economy going again?  If we continue to extend unemployment, people who have just been riding it out, will continue to ride it out waiting for a good job to come along.  Without that unemployment, they will be forced to take whatever job they can find, which in turn will help out the economy which will eventually provide the type of job they are looking for. 

Additional to all this, once we have people back to work, even if they are working lower paying jobs, there will be more tax revenue coming into the government.  Our politicians should love this since we have lots of bills we need to be paying with all the spending we are doing.

I know taking a job somewhere like McDonald's or as a newspaper carrier are not prestigious jobs that require an expensive college degree, but they do provide money.  Sure, you might have to work a couple jobs in the short term to bring in enough money for your family.  You might even have to pack up and move your whole family across the country to find work, but these are the kind of things that people do in order to provide for their families.  Slowing down the inevitable is not really helping anyone.  Keeping people artificially out of the work force does not help the economy which in turn will not help create the kind of jobs that these people would like to have in the long run.  It's like a vicious cycle.

If you want to get people back to work, you cannot continue to encourage them to not work.  With the unemployment benefit being extended yet again, logically it will make more sense for someone not to work.  It is like they are getting something for free.  That is just how the brain seems to work.  For example, it is amazing how many people will buy something just because it is free even if they don't need it.  That just seems to be human nature.  I know several people who got a flu shot because it was free, not because they actually wanted it.  But we know that nothing is ever actually free.   We always pay for it in one way or another.  In the case of extended unemployment benefits, we are paying by artificially keeping the economy from growing.

It won't be the end of the world if they extend unemployment yet again, but it certainly will not help bring the economy back or bring people the jobs that they are looking for.  It may seem like the caring thing to do, but it is similar to allowing your adult child to live at home instead of encouraging them to get out and on their own.  Parents can really hinder the growth of their children in the same way that the government can create people who are dependent on them.  A parent can be there to help out in the short term, but I think most people realize that if this arrangement continues for long, it will make it harder for the adult child to get back out on their own.  This is the same thing that can happen with unemployment if it is allowed to go on for too long.

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