UI Extensions Raise Unemployment, Not Lower It

Posted: March 5, 2010 in economy, finances, politics, rants, work
Tags: , ,

So, all the talk about extending unemployment benefits lately has got me thinking. Instead of extending the benefits for everyone receiving them, why not just extend the benefits for those who have secured a job but don’t start immediately?

All extending the benefits for everyone does is subsidize a nonproductive sector of the country. It continues to discourage those people from looking for a job, keeping unemployment numbers at inflated rates. If people knew their benefits would expire, they’d search for a job day in & day out.

Now before you go thinking I’m just a callous, cold-hearted SOB, you should know I’m one of those poor unfortunate souls currently collecting unemployment. I lost my job September 18, 2009. I make enough with my benefits to get by. What incentive do I have to search for a job if my unemployment benefits keep getting extended?

Luckily, I have a job lined up that starts a few months from now (between June & Dec). I have a contact in a high place that has more or less told me I have a job when he starts hiring.

But I still will have been unemployed for at least 9 months, maybe longer) by the time I start. I will still be collecting unemployment by the time I start working again. I have no encouragement to look for a job to hold me over till my friend calls.

Sure, there aren’t as many companies hiring as there were three years ago. Yeah, it’ll be harder for those looking to find a job. But extending unemployment benefits is not the way to encourage them to look or to encourage companies to hire (the latter is a subject I won’t look into here, but there is a way to do it that isn’t happening).

I’m not saying end the benefits immediately for those currently receiving them, only that they need to be allowed to expire.

Update: 4/13/2010: Found out yesterday that I exhausted my benefits a week too late to qualify for an extension. Despite my feelings on extending unemployment benefits, I couldn’t help for my initial reaction to be one of contempt for congress (both sides) not passing an extension before they recessed for Easter holiday.

But then I reminded myself of what I wrote in this post. I stand by what I’ve written. Although this will be a difficult period for me, I will get through this. I have a tremendous support system in my family & friends.

  1. Sunny Johns says:

    That’s good for you, but what if the individual that you know in the high place renigs on his offer? You an one of the unfortunate ones who has been “promised” employment. My telephone has not rung more than twice since I was laid off in 2008. The temp services that I worked so hard for and did a “bang up” job for seemed to have forgotten I exist. Believe me, the unemployment compensation I get will never stop me from looking for another job. I have a mortgage, car note, utilities, a student loan and other things to pay, and whereas your unemployment benefits may be enough for you to “get by”, I stress out every month. I think people should stop thinking more about their selfish situations and consider their fellow man. Everyone deserves a good “quality of life” and do not deserve to lose everything they have worked so hard for all their lives. Luckily, I am not one to sit around and wait for things to happen, I get out there and make them happen. Right now, extending unemployment benefits is the only way that a person is going to take care of their responsibilities. It’s definitely not a luxury being on unemployment.

    • Mike says:

      It may not sound like it, but I sympathize with your situation. That being said, I should have mentioned that I disagree with the unemployment benefits system completely. I don’t think that employers should have to pay taxes for the sole purpose of looking out for “their fellow man” (and now all taxpayers are on the hook). Without unemployment taxes (as well as Social Security & Medicare taxes), employers could afford to pay higher wages & employees would be able to save more, thereby bypassing the need for an unemployment system. Would they pay more? We can’t say for sure, but it would be a more preferable system than what we have now.

      Does that make me a hypocrite for collecting unemployment? Probably by some peoples standards. Personally, I believe that since Social Security will most likely be bankrupt & nonexistent by the time I retire, I’m getting what’s rightfully mine.

      I do apologize for not being completely clear. In my post I should have included those who prove they’re looking for work. Sure, recipients are supposed to provide proof now, but that’s too easy to bypass if you have internet access or file by phone. Not very efficient.

      As far as my friend is concerned, how many preachers do you know personally that renig? I’ve known him for the last 7 years (he was the HR manager at the last place I worked) and he’s never lied to me or backed out on an offer. I believe 7 years is enough time for someone to earn my trust. He’s looking for people he can rely on & that’s why he approached me about the job.

      As far as bills, we’ve all got ’em. I also know if I need to, I have family and friends I can rely on to help me through any hard times. I’m not going to rely on the government to provide for me.

      If you’re having trouble finding steady work, perhaps you could relocate to a place that hasn’t been hit as hard by the recession. There are cities, even a state or two, that have been consistently adding jobs the last few years.

      One last thing: if you were calling me selfish, thank you. I happen to believe selfishness is a virtue. Moral selfishness, that is. I believe that by doing what is right for me, without intentionally bringing harm to others, that’s the best way I can help others. If everyone felt that way the world would be a better place. Personal responsibility is my only responsibility. A better explanation than I can give for my philosophy can be found in anything written by Ayn Rand (about the only place she and I differ is religion).

      Anyway, thanks for commenting. I always look forward to an intelligent discussion, even with those who disagree with me. Good luck on the job search. I hope things turn around for you (and all of us) soon.

  2. Sunny Johns says:

    My thoughts ran away with me. In the first sentence, I was trying to say you are one of the “fortunate” ones who has been promised employment, not one of the unfortunate ones.

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