Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Unemployment Insurance

I don't know if there is a better example of the difference between Liberals and Conservatives than the debate over extending unemployment benefits in the midst of this current recession.

Conservatives in this current debate have insisted that any extension of unemployment benefits be paid for in some way. Given that Conservatives seem to reflexively oppose any proposal that raises any taxes in any way for anybody, that means that they insist the some other program get cut enough to pay for the extension of unemployment benefits.

Liberals in this debate argue that in the current economic recession, the stimulative benefit of extending unemployment benefits more than justifies the small impact such an extension has on the current deficit or the accumulated debt.

Conservatives are, as usual, wrong on the issue. Allowing 1.2 million Americans fall off the edge of Unemployment Insurance because extending that insurance might add a whole 0.3% to the national debt is both cruel and insane.

Senator Jon Kyl, the Minority Whip in the Senate, stated his firm belief that we as a nation could not justify increasing the national debt by $10 billion dollars to extend unemployment insurance but he is equally firm in his belief that retaining the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest of Americans, at a cost of almost $700 Billion, is obviously justified despite its direct impact on the national debt. Almost 70 times the impact on the national debt of the unemployment insurance extension he opposes.

In doing so he talks about the stimulative impact of the tax cuts and ignores the stimulative impacts of unemployment insurance despite studies that show that every 1 dollar or tax cuts results in $1.03 in economic activity while every 1 dollar in unemployment insurance payments results in $1.63 in economic activity. Unemployment insurance payments have a far far greater stimulative impact than tax cuts and add far less to the deficit than the tax cuts yet Republicans/Conservatives like Senator Kyl are always in favor or tax cuts that overwhelmingly favor the rich and almost always opposed to unemployment insurance that benefits those in need.

Any wonder that I am a Liberal??

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