Despite all that good, on-the-ground reporting in New Jersey, the Post gets a little careless closer to home:
Congress’s inaction has been accompanied by a growing sentiment among lawmakers that long-term unemployment benefits create a disincentive for the jobless to find work.
“Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “That is not to say that anyone is getting rich off unemployment, or that unemployed people are lazy. But it is simple human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as a check is coming in.”
There’s a quick rebuttal from Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who cites a recent study and declares that benefits “do not inhibit job seekers from vigorously looking for or accepting work.”
But that she-said hardly takes care of it.
As Dean Baker points out, that first part is just some doe-eyed attempt at analysis:
How does the Post know what sentiments members of Congress have? Furthermore is there any reason to believe that their sentiments explain their votes on important issues?
There’s also, as we’ve said before, the flimsy economics behind the claim that the existence of unemployment insurance discourages people from looking for work.
Here’s what the Post had to say on this very question back in March:
Although the availability of long-term unemployment benefits “could dampen people’s efforts to look for work,” the Congressional Budget Office said in a February report, that concern “is less of a factor when employment opportunities are expected to be limited for some time.”
Well, employment opportunities have certainly been limited, and they’re expected to be that way for some time. Hopefully the Post can point this all out, the next time someone tries to make that argument.
In the meantime, good job in pointing to the plight of the 99ers.