12/08/2008

New Op-ed at Fox News: The Unjustified Unemployment Panic

My new piece at Fox News starts this way:

Does a 50 percent increase in unemployment insurance benefits increased the unemployment? You would think everyone would say “yes.” Yet, after the unemployment insurance benefits were increased the beginning of July, I was unable to find a single news stories, including Fox News, that attribute any of the increased unemployment or the loss of jobs to the increased benefits. If you believe the news media all of the bad employment news is just additional evidence of the weakening economy.

But why is it so hard for the media to understand or even mention that if you increase how much people get paid for being unemployed, you get more unemployment?

This hasn’t always been the case. On Fox News Sunday on December 16, 2001, Tony Snow understood the point:

Senator Daschle wants to extend unemployment benefits even though the economic research indicates that when you extend those benefits, you extend unemployment. In fact, that was one of the insights behind welfare reform. If you set a date certain for getting rid of benefits, people find jobs.


Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, isn’t very surprised by the media ignoring the impact of unemployment insurance that, “The liberal parts of the media tend . . . to ignore the negative impact of welfare.”

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11 Comments:

Blogger Terry said...

I don't know what world John Lott lives in, but there are no jobs available in my area. There used to be three pages of help wanted ads in our local newspaper. Now, there are two lines. It's not surprising that people like Mr Lott want to take the hardship of other's, politicize it , throw it on Fox News, and blame the Liberals for all of it. That's how they make THEIR money. I'd rather be unemployed than make a living doing that.

12/08/2008 10:08 AM  
Blogger Seth M. Livingston said...

Excellent op-ed. Linked to at http://www.hawk-reformer.com.

12/08/2008 5:35 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

The bottom line here is Mr. Lott is on the political side of the fence where as we the people who look for two maybe three jobs to offset the loss of income to ensure our CHILDREN do not feel the impact have ran into the wall of reality, there is no jobs Mr. Lott! And another thing, when 4 million Americans are out of work we are not entitled to the wgaes we were used to making so no sir, we can't live on unemployment when we have mouths to feed and bills to pay! Mr. Lott you should embrace the American people, ask how we can make it better and then go on FOX and address the problem which by the way Jack Ass it is not the unemployed.

12/08/2008 6:10 PM  
Blogger John A said...

Over the weekend, there was a story about employment problems in South Dakota.

Seems SD may lose Federal funding because there are more available jobs than people on unemployment [who could qualify].

12/08/2008 6:20 PM  
Blogger 1 said...

"I don't know what world John Lott lives in, but there are no jobs available in my area"...

Then move Terry or acquire a job skill that is in demand in your area...

"It's not surprising that people like Mr Lott want to take the hardship of other's, politicize it"...

Its NOT suprising that liberals like Terry would rather whine than work...

"I'd rather be unemployed than make a living doing that"...

Well its apparent you are doing a good job of that LOSER...

12/08/2008 11:04 PM  
Blogger Midlife Mommy said...

I am a moderate conservative, and while I can intellectually agree with this proposition, the fact is that there aren't jobs to be had in many parts of the country. And, unemployment benefits are usually so low that offered a choice, I think that most people -- most people, not all people -- would prefer to find gainful employment where possible.

One contributor said that the solution is to move where there are jobs, or develop skills that are more marketable. I agree -- except -- who will buy that house right now to allow you to move to a place where there are jobs? Do you walk away from your house, destroy your credit, lose your equity, and eliminate your chances on getting another home loan in the state that you locate to? And, if your children are hungry now, can they wait for two-four years while you retrain for a job in an area that is hiring?

Our party got its proverbial butt kicked in the last two elections. There is a wide-held belief that we are out of touch, and that we do not care about people who are in the shadows. I think that we can be compassionate and conservative.

12/09/2008 9:51 AM  
Blogger 1 said...

"I agree -- except -- who will buy that house right now to allow you to move to a place where there are jobs? Do you walk away from your house, destroy your credit, lose your equity, and eliminate your chances on getting another home loan in the state that you locate to? And, if your children are hungry now, can they wait for two-four years while you retrain for a job in an area that is hiring?"...

Very valid questions midlife mommy but if people feel that folks without a job deserve/need unemployment insurance to feed the kids and continue to pay the house note then how come they don't step up and put their own money where their thoughts, hearts, and talk is?

12/09/2008 3:15 PM  
Blogger 1 said...

Speaking of unemployment note the following from CEP News:
Men Losing Far More Jobs Than Women in U.S. Recession

(CEP News) - It's not a recession, it's a man-cession. And the lipstick economy may have only just begun.

The U.S. recession has been a catastrophe for men, but merely a downturn for women. According to Friday's payrolls report, eight out of every 10 pink slips in the past year have gone to men.

Mark Perry, a professor of finance and business economics at the University of Michigan-Flint, has written about the phenomenon. (there's more)

12/09/2008 4:03 PM  
Blogger Midlife Mommy said...

1 said: "[I]f people feel that folks without a job deserve/need unemployment insurance to feed the kids and continue to pay the house note then how come they don't step up and put their own money where their thoughts, hearts, and talk is?"

Actually, I believe that most of us do, through contributions of money, clothing, and food to our local communities. And it is not "my money" or "your money" funding unemployment insurance (at least in my state -- your state may be different). Unemployment insurance is funded through payroll taxes, which rise and fall based on claims made, but no lower than a minimum level. Now, one could argue that we are all paying for this indirectly, because the cost of goods is increased (as it is with every business expense), but it is minimal, at least with regard to unemployment insurance.

12/09/2008 4:39 PM  
Blogger Juli said...

Mr. Lott if you feel that enemployment is a hand out that is undeserved - why don't you work to require free public service of the unemployed? The last time I was unemployed the only jobs in my area for women were for unskilled jobs making less money than what unemployment paid me. Why should I throw away a college education and learn how to work at a fast food restaurant? I got a job in my field which requires that i spend considerable time commuting but I can cover the bills and by child can go to daycare instread to being a latchkey kid - giving employment to other people. This is besides the fact that the lower level jobs that I interviewed for rejected me because I was "overqualified".

12/11/2008 7:48 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Quite a response here, and yet many here have missed the point that Dr. Lott was pointing out.

To extend benefits, simply gives folks less encouragement to seek new employment.

Yes, it is a safety net, but seeking votes, by pandering to folks does nothing to increase employment numbers.

I'd love to have a paid vacation myself, and in knowing it will be extended, does not motivate me to find a new job.

If I have missed some arcane point, or lack the intelligence to understand Dr. Lott's original post on the subject, I invite all here to enlighten me on the subject.

12/13/2008 10:19 PM  

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