Saturday, August 14, 2010

Unemployment Compensation - An Incentive to Stay Unemployed?

Was listening to Cavuto On Business today and they were talking about the "99 week" protesters who want an additional extension of unemployment benefits. The take was that they were lobbying, not for jobs, but for additional government dole.

A WSJ article was quoted as saying the government is in direct competition with business in that the $600 per week of unemployment exceeds the entry level pay in the private sector. Therefore many jobs are going unfilled. It was estimated that a full 1% to 1 1/2% of the 9 1/2% unemployment in our country could be eliminated if people took these jobs.

Since the employee and the employer pay into an unemployment fund, this "insurance" is a good thing to help, those unfortunate workers who lose their job, to provide for their families. However there has to be an end of benefits or you will perpetuate another form of welfare.

My idea, instead of extending the payments in perpetuity, is to have a phase out plan. Give full benefits for a period of X number of weeks, 75% for another X weeks, 50% etc., and stabilize it at a bare uncomfortable level. Somewhere in this downward progression, these lower level jobs will be more appealing and will be filled.

Another idea would be to give the basic benefits for a fixed number of weeks and then, for a year, give only enough to subsidize a base level wage to make it equal to the basic benefits.

Either one of these ideas would incentivize the true worker to actively seek employment, contrary to the current policy.

We must change the political climate in Washington, the liberal idea that government should be the "plantation owner" for its citizenry is no longer viable. Blanket extensions do not work and are unaffordable.

No comments:

Post a Comment