Economics

Jobs Are So 2009

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A real lifeguard never takes his eye off the water.

In the Wall Street Journal, economist Robert Barro makes the case against the 99-week extension for unemployment payouts:

In the past, this change entailed extensions to perhaps 39 weeks of eligibility from 26 weeks, though sometimes a bit more and typically conditioned on the employment situation in a person's state of residence. However, we have never experienced anything close to the blanket extension of eligibility to nearly two years. We have shifted toward a welfare program that resembles those in many Western European countries.

Barro proposes that extended benefits are contributing to the high unemployment rate by giving people incentive to stay unemployed. Various economists respond with raspberries. EconLog's Arnold Kling says the disincentive has been negligible, but suggests continuing the dole even after the chômeur has found a job, so that you're at least eliminating the disincentive to look for work.

Public policy scholar Robert Reich gets his shorts in a bind:

In theory, Barro is correct. If people who lose their jobs receive generous unemployment benefits they might stay unemployed longer than if they got nothing. But that's hardly a reason to jettison unemployment benefits or turn our backs on millions of Americans who through no fault of their own remain jobless in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Yet moral hazard lurks in every conservative brain. It's also true that if we got rid of lifeguards and let more swimmers drown, fewer people would venture into the water. And if we got rid of fire departments and more houses burnt to the ground, fewer people would use stoves. A civil society is not based on the principle of tough love.

Lifeguards do present a moral hazard problem, but not the one Reich thinks. Beach patrols are a cheap way for municipalities to claim the right to restrict access to public beaches. The city takes on liability on behalf of the shoobs, and in exchange the shoobs have to pay to get on the beach. It's a nice racket, but you would not see a large increase in drownings if all the lifeguards were sent back to their sandy shacks. You would see some! But if saving lives were the only benefit, and maintaining lifeguards were the only cost, nobody would maintain lifeguards. (Different economics apply to pools at hotels, apartment buildings and other private enterprises—which actually can get their asses sued off.)

Reich objects that Barro is underestimating the economic hyperpocalypse:

Barro argues the rate of unemployment in this Great Jobs Recession is comparable to what it was in the 1981-82 recession, but the rate of long-term unemployed is nowhere as high. He concludes this is because unemployment benefits didn't last nearly as long in 1981 and 82 as it they do now.

He fails to see – or disclose – that the 81-82 recession was far more benign than this one, and over far sooner. It was caused by Paul Volcker and the Fed yanking up interest rates to break the back of inflation – and overshooting. When they pulled interest rates down again, the economy shot back to life.

First, "Great Jobs Recession"? Reich—who is not a bad writer—can do better than that.

Second, Barro addressed the supposed severity of the current recession in his original piece:

This perspective is odd on its face because, even at the worst of the downturn, the U.S. labor market featured a tremendous amount of turnover in the form of large numbers of persons hired and separated every month.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, near the worst of the recession in March 2009, 3.9 million people were hired and 4.7 million were separated from jobs. This net loss of 800,000 jobs in one month indicates a very weak economy—but nevertheless one in which 3.9 million people were hired.  A program that reduced incentives for people to search for and accept jobs could surely matter a lot here.

But could reduced incentives really matter if there were fewer jobs available at the end of the month than there were at the beginning?

Probably a little bit, because businesses and jobs also get created out of desperation: Yes, we all know that when you are on unemployment you're finishing up that graphic novel or finally getting that silkscreening business underway, but there's nothing like no check in the mailbox to make you, in the words of America's two greatest economists, "put down your crusty bong for ten minutes and draw up some sort of plan." The business plan can be as simple as standing on a street corner seeking paid sex or day labor, but you are a lot more likely to make it if there is real consequence attached to spending your whole day with Spike's Hawaii Five-O marathon.

But at the national scale Barro is looking at, it's not cricket to gloss over the real softness in the job market. Some people – most people – are just born to be employees, and they're not going to be able to do that as long as the streets in my town, and probably yours, remain lined with For Lease signs.

There's a simpler argument against unemployment extension: Nobody can afford it. Not Albany, not D.C., not Sacramento, and not Topeka. We're out of money. So yes, as heartless as it sounds, we should be cutting unemployment even to those fantastically goodhearted people throughout this stout land who are pure as the unsunned snow yet really can't find a job. It's not tough love; it's sad love. Outside the world of school, where Reich has spent so much of his career, most problems don't have solutions.

Related: What has Barro to fear from Robert Reich when he's already suffered the slings and arrows of Pauly Krugnuts?

NEXT: Reason Writers Around Town: Michael C. Moynihan on Massachusetts' Cambodian Tea Party Candidate

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  1. Yet moral hazard lurks in every conservative brain. It’s also true that if we got rid of lifeguards and let more swimmers drown, fewer people would venture into the water. And if we got rid of fire departments and more houses burnt to the ground, fewer people would use stoves. A civil society is not based on the principle of tough love.

    Were they having a sale down at Bad Arguments R Us?

    1. Yep, without lifeguards, fewer people THAT CAN’T SWIM would venture into the water. In turn, more people would take it upon themselves to learn how to swim.

      So where’s the problem?

      “And if we got rid of fire departments and more houses burnt to the ground, fewer people would use stoves.”

      Who wants to get rid of fire departments? We have a private fire deparment where I live.

  2. If the government didn’t want me to camp out on the safety net, they shouldn’t have made it so ostensibly strong and comfortable.

  3. He fails to see ? or disclose ? that the 81-82 recession was far more benign than this one, and over far sooner.

    I don’t theenk so omeego…..the official “recession” may be on the books as 81-82 but there were lots of people having job problems starting in the late 70s when inflation was going ape-shit.

    Liberals are proud to be disconnected from reality.

    1. Trudat. Most economist says that the Great Recession ended a year ago, although I don’t think NBER has officially made the call yet.

      1. It has not. Further, the realists, who happen to be from the Austrian school, like Gary North and Jim Rogers, say the recession has not ended.

        1. It’s not over until I say it’s over. I have to keep The Fear going, otherwise I won’t get re-elected.

  4. I saw some whiny-assed bitch on the Ed show last night who had been out of work for more than 99 months and thought she should get unemployment indefinitly. She said that not only had she been looking for work for more than two years, but that she would take any job (she) could get.

    All I could think was what total bullshit. Anyone willing to take any job they can get doesn’t need two years to find one.

    1. 99 weeks, not months.

    2. “All I could think was what total bullshit. Anyone willing to take any job they can get doesn’t need two years to find one.”

      I wonder about that to. But jobs are really fucking hard to find right now thanks to Timmy and Obama. I would doubt her story to. But I wouldn’t say it was impossible either.

      1. I agree jobs are hard to find but I know a few unemployed people and their attitude is “I won’t work at _____” or “I won’t take a job paying less than _____.” If they get unemployment for 2 years why not stretch it out?

        1. Currently on the unemployment dole myself, thanks to the thrashing the aircraft industry took in 2009.

          It’s only been two months so far, but my attitude is why take X job when it pays less than the $$ from unemployment? I had 2 months to prepare for the layoff so the $$ from unemployment is enough to cover the bills.

          Personally I don’t want to stay unemployed for 99 weeks, since two years out of the labor force will hurt my skill-set and knowledge. I can see where it would be tempting though.

          1. I was unemployed for a while, but I used the entire time to improve my knowledge & skills and build a business for myself… I now have plenty of work as a freelancer. You could always do that.

    3. We need a new dishwasher at the restaurant that I work at, as the old one is going back to his home country. I’ll guarantee the young lady a job right now.

      1. And I’ll guarantee she wouldn’t take it and hasn’t even considered taking that kind of job at all.

        1. Perhaps if she was paid in cash she could work while still collecting?

    4. millions of Americans who through no fault of their own remain jobless

      That’s the problem. Advocates of an open-ended welfare program refuse to acknowledge that many jobless people are jobless through “faults of their own.” It’s a shift from the principles of self-reliance and taking responsibility for your own life, to an altruist/collectivist “shared” responsibility. All it requires is willing, working patsies to fund it, and an opposition party too timid to address the fundamental evil of it all. Republicans are not opposed to the concept of unemployment compensation; they merely disagree on the specifics.

    5. So, there were *two* whiny bitches on your TV…

  5. It amazes me how educated people can miss common sense points. It is a simple equation, if you are making $1,200 a month on unemployment, why take a job that pays less or even half again as much? I would rather have $1200 for free than $1800 for working. That is lost productivity. People are sitting at home doing nothing when they could be out doing something productive. That is lost productivity. And the longer they sit, the harder they will be to employ later. We are all poorer for that.

    1. Similarly, it’s amazing how many people don’t see the connection between unemployment and the minimum wage.

      1. We pass minimum wage laws and then allow mass illegal immigration of people who, because they are illegal, can and will take jobs at below minimum wage. And then we wonder why the youth and high school drop out unemployment rate is like 50%. It is almost like we want to create a dependent class of people.

        1. We are truly a schizophrenic culture.

        2. Add FICA to that list of disincentives. ~7.65% plus an employer match? I’m compliant (so fuck you, IRS) but I understand where these employers who hire under the table labor are coming from. If you can’t underbid and get the job, then no income PERIOD.

    2. Who says they are doing nothing? Maybe they’re working but not reporting anything to the authorities.

      1. Oh so we have turned them into criminals as well as welfare recipients. Even better.

        1. But at least you can talk English again to your gardener, instead of having to converse in espa?ol mexicano. Amen to that.

    3. I do believe that unemployment is taxable income. It kind of defies logic, but there you have it.

      1. Unemployment is taxable only over a certain income threshold.

        You have to declare it on your 1040 with your other income and depending on your annuall gross you have to apply a formula to determine if any or all of you UI income is taxable.

        Needless to say anyone who has been long term unemployed is not likely to hit the threshhold.

        It’s the same way they treat Social Security benefits, likewise nominally tax free.

        On the other hand in Canada, UIC benfits have to be declared and taxed as normal income, as are a host of other government benefits (eg Old-Age Pension, Canada Pension, mothers’ allowances AKA the baby bonus etc)

  6. BTW, is Lifeguard a porno movie?

    1. I was wondering whether it was John Holmes foray into non-adult cinema.

    2. Is that Mark Spitz? I didn’t know he did porn. Huh.

      1. Sam Elliot, back in the day.

        1. Hmmm, I think you’re right. People sure looked alike in the 70s/early 80s. There were like three looks for men.

          1. Three? I thought there was just one–butt-cut hair, moustache, keep all the body hair.

            1. You forgot the Alan Alda.

              1. Yes, how could I?

            2. blond guys, dark-haired guys, and black guys.

  7. I was on unemployment for a whole fucking year…couldn’t believe it. In that period of time, I looked for a job, (but always looked only at jobs that were better then the one I got laid off from)), filed a patent, and went to the California coast. It was kinda nice actually. It was even funnier when I got my shiny new job, because the very next day I got a letter from the Unemployment Office stating my benefits had been extended. Its pure honor system here that keeps me from filing more, because they are so overwhelmed at the office a lot of corrupt shit must be slipping through the cracks.

    My neighbor – whose watch always says its Beer Thirty – is the portrait of the Great Recession. He got laid off last year, stopped making house payments, got on all the doles: stamps, unemployment, HAMP, tuition horseshit, the works. But all he does is wait for the foreclosure auction (late September) and buys a 30 pack of Natty Lite every day…every fucking day. Its amazing. Its my tax-dollars (actually, given the nature of the debt, probably my kids’ tax dollars) at work watching my neighbor hit the Natty every day.

    It also got me thinking: Of all the public assistance – either through direct-cash payments or some commodity subsidy (Medicaid, stamps, etc.) – how many cents of every dole-dollar finances illegal drugs, gambling, and general chemical-powered vice? I mean, everyone I know whose unemployed smokes (discrimination!), and the government taxes the shit out of smokes, even while it buys what must be a significant plurality of all smokes burned in the US everyday. Its all just one huge made/financed-in-China fucking joke that would make me laugh really hard of I could just stop crying…

    1. buys a 30 pack of Natty Lite every day…every fucking day.

      Somewhere, a liberal read that and thought: “It’s a crying shame when an unemployed American can’t even have get government-provided alcohol addiction education.”

      1. Ithought you were going to say “It’s a crying shame when an unemployed American can’t even get a decent case of Sam Adams.

        1. I work in a liquor store. You’d be surprised how many 30-packs of Keystone and Miller High Life walk out the door, and how many men with mullets buy them.

    2. buys a 30 pack of Natty Lite every day…every fucking day

      Holy fucking shit. Fuck Jesus. That’s just an enormous amount of volume, period, not even to mention to intoxication. Wow.

      1. it’s lite beer…you got to drink 3 for the alcohol of two…it’s like he’s really only drinking a case a day.

    3. 30 beers a day? That is some massive farting. I bet you can smell him even from a few houses down.

      1. He was all crashed out on his porch last night. Got too tired to go back in the house I guess.

        He rarely enters the real world at this point; other than to acquire beer and the random Taco Bell mission he doesn’t get out much. Just hits the Natty…and plays Warcraft. I forgot about the Warcraft part.

        Oh, and hey ladies, he’s SINGLE!

        1. Is his name Edward or Max?

        2. Dave Weigel? I hear he lost his job recently. Does he ever call you a rat fucker?

          1. My office manager’s sister is likewise single. She is about 5’1 and three bills. She lives in Maine and has been known to consume TWO thirty packs on a Saturday or Sunday.

            Although she is a welfare gal, her bong is not crusty. Plus, she once beat the shit out of an off duty male cop so bad that he had to be taken to the hospital.

            TheZeitgeist, is your neighbor into chasing bisexual super BBWs who are chain smoking bong hitting cop haters?

        3. Hey, I’m employed fulltime and still managed to raid 12 hours a week on Warcraft.

        4. “He was all crashed out on his porch last night. Got too tired to go back in the house I guess.”

          Shit, dude! Are you trying to lure Steve Smith to your neighborhood?

    4. buys a 30 pack of Natty Lite every day

      Stimulating!

      1. At least it’s an American beer.

        1. Um… Natty’s made by Busch, owned by Budweiser, which just got bought by furriners.

  8. At least there aren’t any structural impediments to job creation, or easy movement from one job to another.

    1. And it is a really good thing we didn’t over inflate the housing market and convince people to buy houses they couldn’t afford and now have millions of people unable to move job markets because they can’t get out from under their house.

      1. No shit.

  9. if there is real consequence attached to spending your whole day with Spike’s Hawaii Five-O marathon

    If?! Jack Lord’s hair will make yours feel like a bitch. And a vulnerable person, someone whose self-image is compromised by unemployment for example, could be thrown into an inescapable well of depression by that kind of on his (or her!) feeling of personal bodily integrity. That’s a real consequence, you heartless ass!

    Teabagger crap like this is why I stay at Balko’s site.

  10. + “assault”

    Dammit.

  11. That guy’s stache is a force of nature. And I bet the chick behind him has some really good 70s boobs.

    1. And great 70’s bush that would require a machete to get through. OK, maybe that’s not such a great thing.

      1. I don’t see anything wrong with it.

  12. Okay, I finally looked it up. It is Sam Elliott, and the woman is probably Anne Archer. Which answers John’s question. A 1976 film that also starred Parker Stevenson and Kathleen Quinlan.

    A tour de force in summer lifeguarding movies. Okay, I made that up.

    1. And yes, Ann Archer did have a great rack back in the day. She looked great in Fatal Attraction. That was the flaw of that movie. Why would someone married to Ann Archer have a fucking affair with Glenn Close?

      1. She’s a Scientologist, but I doubt that would cause John to toss her out of bed.

      2. Anal.

        1. Xenu approves this message.

        2. Yeah. Archer’s uptight suburban mom character probably didn’t put out that much wild sex.

  13. Anecdote: I know two people who plan to stay on unemployment until age 62 when s.s. kicks in, passing up all but “dream jobs” in the meantime. You can get $500/wk. in Jersey on UC.

    Maybe after 13 weeks, the person on UC should report to a nursing home and read to the old folks, or clean up trash, or shelve books in the library, or something constructive while waiting for a job offer.

    1. One thing I’ve noticed with unemployment checks is how much more cash flow you get on the check, i.e. no deductions. In Idaho (check out Afro Man’s Idaho BTW) you get ~$400 a check. Works out to $9.50 an hour. But since there’s no deductions, you take it all home.

      To take home $400 on a paycheck, after the deductions, you’d have to make something like $13 an hour. In other words, people won’t take jobs that pay an hourly rate even 20% higher than their equivalent unemployment check because you actually lose money on a week-to-week basis. Just stupid.

  14. It’s a nice racket, but you would not see a large increase in drownings if all the lifeguards were sent back to their sandy shacks.

    Depends on where you’re talking. North Shore during big wave surfing season, couple people a day have their butts saved by lifeguards.

    Make it a fee-for-service deal — they save your life, you pay a fee — and there’d be a lot fewer lifeguards to reflect the actual risks and demands.

    1. What an excellent idea.

      “What the hell, dude? I was just swimming around.”

      “You ingrate. You were clearly drowning when I jumped in to save you. Will you be paying in cash or by credit card?”

    2. After the first week when a dozen or so die, most everyone else will learn what to avoid.

  15. So yes, as heartless as it sounds, we should be cutting unemployment even to those fantastically goodhearted people throughout this stout land who are pure as the unsunned snow yet really can’t find a job.

    I call bullshit. There are always jobs available. Not always the jobs you want — jobs entailing low pay and dirty manual work are always available — but people aren’t unemployed so much as seeking better jobs than actually exist, or just not wanting to work at all.

  16. Is a lot of the US like the pay-to-play Jersey shore? Sometimes a state park might charge an entrance fee, or maybe there’s a parking charge, but in my East & Gulf Coast experience there’s an abundance of fee free, and lifeguard protected, shoreline. So I don’t quite follow Tim’s argument.

    1. yeah I didn’t quite follow that analogy either, but then again my beach adventures all involved the Gulf Coast or atlantic side of Florida. What’s this “pay to go to the beach” stuff?

  17. Isn’t this a feature, not a bug, to many leftists? After all, if these people are on unemployment, they aren’t forced to work as wage slaves, and can instead pursue self-actualization/30-packs of Natty Light.

  18. Robert Reich’s sooper-genius-level of economic understanding:

    Bush’s 10-year tax cut was designed to end this year, so it’s not a tax increase.

    Got that? We can just call it something else, so it won’t actually go up.

    ? Yet extending the Bush tax cut to the richest Americans would give them a $36 billion bonus next year. ($31 billion of this would go to billionaire households.) And that $36 billion would be added to the budget deficit.
    ? And it wouldn’t even stimulate demand and jobs, because the very rich save (rather than spend) more of their disposable income than the rest of us.

    So, if someone “saves” money, he apparently buries it in a large pit out of spite. Gotcha.

    How does this moron get work? Has he ever done anything outside of academia, the Federal government, or preaching-to-the-choir gigs in the press?

    1. The guy is an economist. He knows that is bullshit, especially the crack about the rich saving the money. He is just lying.

      1. Actually, Reich is not an economist ,not primarily anyway. He has never had a post as one.

        He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC, Berkley.

        Look I realize that they don’t hand out Rhodes scholars to dummies and the guy is seriously well educated, but his whole approach to life can be seen just in the positions he has had. That is primarily as a professor of public policy. The guy’s mindset simply makes it impossible for him to conceive of people not being managed.

        I remember when he was a regular on the (misnamed) NPR show, Marketplace. Every commentary he did made me cringe, except that once in a blue moon he could come out with one of such blazing insight and clarity I would cry into the radio “Bob why can’t they all be like that”.

        1. Reich gets paid big bucks to be a professional wealth-envier. ‘Nuff said. You can’t trust fucks who get off on bitching about how much money some people make.

    2. Reich’s name is perfect. As in Third Reich. He loves socialism.

    3. If we really wanted to see the fatty cats suffer, then we wouldn’t have bailed all their dumb-asses out, right? Where were the fatty-cat haters like Reich when TARP was rolling?

      1. Shockingly, he was not that far off a reasonable course (i.e. he objected to TARP on the grounds that the state would get stuck with crap assets at a very high price), but he is a sort of stopped clock on matters economic.

        1. Yeah, one of the commentaries I referred to above was on TARP.

          He has quite a recognizable voice so it’s striking to hear good sense spoken with a voice that’s usually spouting socialist drivel.

  19. Put me down as someone who has experienced reality and so might have a different perspective from that of the armchair anarchists, presumably employed, thinking about people in the abstract.

    Yes I have a job, but my life has been saved by a lifeguard when I was vacationing on Long Island. So fuck you very much. Moral hazard, pfftt.

    1. And this is supposed to be an argument for lifeguards?

      1. Wow a massive negative externality created by the lifeguard profession.

        Tony still exists.

    2. Sam Elliott?

      1. You have just given Tony a month’s worth of masturbation material. I hope he is grateful.

    3. Ah, beaches on Long Island. Between the Hamptons and Montauk, a truly socialist paradise…at least in the context that the proletariat can’t swim that far from New Jersey. Keep the rabble away, Jeeves.

      1. Well we have a private beach at our home in Florida but it’s Gulf coast so there’s less risk of being swept out to sea. On the Atlantic coast there is definitely a need for lifeguards for idiots such as myself who’d never experienced a rip current before. Sometimes people do need to be protected from themselves.

        1. Fat cats with private beach front property in Florida. You sound like you’ve got a socialist M.O. thee alright Tony.

          Lemme ask you a quick question. In California it is illegal to own property right on the beach front, due to its being a “public resource.”

          Would you cut your beach property off from the ocean – give it to the State – so that the unwashed, under-beached masses can enjoy the beach as much as a privileged bourgeois family such as your clan?

          1. In Florida, the property line of beachfront property is set by state law at fifty feet from the mean high water line. Beyond that is state land and state waters where any riff-raff can roam at leisure.

            1. Sure. And in some places, they solve that little problem by cutting off almost all access, unless you want to come by boat, or walk a few miles each way.

              1. There are hotels on either side of our beach. At night, the riff-raff walk on through. Britney Spears, and such.

        2. You have a private beach? Isn’t that elitist AND doesn’t it deprive poor people of beach self-ownership?

          “Sometimes people do need to be protected from themselves.”

          Don’t you mean “always”?

          1. It’s okay for liberals to have private beaches.

            1. AND we have more than one home, which is also okay, as long as we’re liberals.

          2. You wouldn’t be one of those accusing me of wealth-envy because I want to tax the rich a little more? I don’t begrudge wealth, I enjoy it. I just care about everyone else more than you do.

            1. Prove it. You can’t read my mind, Tony, therefore you cannot gauge how much I care about others.

              Besides, your idea of “tax a little more” is not just a little more. Otherwise, you’d quit bitching about who 35 cents on the dollar is not sufficient.

              1. How can you enjoy your largesse, Tony, and not feel guilty that you aren’t doing more? Give up half your income, if you truly give a shit about the poor. Live what you finger-wag.

    4. Cavanaugh’s point was that you would never have drowned without a lifeguard because you would have been clutching your paul krugman blow-up doll that much harder.

      1. He said harder. Ah hahahahahah!

      2. I thought it made about as much sense as that.

    5. And back in the day, I saved many people’s lives as a lifeguard.

      So thank you Tony, for thanking lifeguards.

      1. What was it like working with David Hasselhof?

  20. “But that’s hardly a reason to jettison unemployment benefits or turn our backs on millions of Americans who through no fault of their own remain jobless in the worst economy since the Great Depression.”

    I have noticed that liberals like Reich are constanty using that “through no fault of their own” meme when attempting to justify forcing some people to subsidize the existence of others.

    I fail to see any distiction between whether someone’s circumstance is no fault of their own or not as it relates to whether anyone else should be required to assist them.

    Just because it is “no fault of their own” does not make it my fault or my responsibilty to assist them any more than it would if it WAS through a fault of their own.

  21. “A civil society is not based on the principle of tough love”

    Hey now, Cuban society is extremely civil!

    1. It’s not tough love anyway. Truth is nobody, not liberals, not conservatives, really gives a shit about anybody except those in their immediate circle of family and friends, and those that can be expoited for political gain.

  22. It’s pretty obvious the assholes that comment on this story haven’t had their jobs pulled out from under them by the shithead GOP. Someday you might be in the same spot. Then look in the mirror.

    1. Impersonation FAIL.

  23. [quote]I have noticed that liberals like Reich are constanty using that “through no fault of their own” meme when attempting to justify forcing some people to subsidize the existence of others.[/quote]

    Yeah, no fault of their own…

    So corporations so often go around laying off their BEST people, huh?

    ——————————-

    [quote]”Probably a little bit, because businesses and jobs also get created out of desperation: Yes, we all know that when you are on unemployment you’re finishing up that graphic novel or finally getting that silkscreening business underway, but there’s nothing like no check in the mailbox to make you, in the words of America’s two greatest economists, “put down your crusty bong for ten minutes and draw up some sort of plan.” The business plan can be as simple as standing on a street corner seeking paid sex or day labor, but you are a lot more likely to make it if there is real consequence attached to spending your whole day with Spike’s Hawaii Five-O marathon.”[/quote]

    It’s not like you have to start your own business. All you have to do is be willing to work for less than you were before the recession. That drives down wages, and sticky wages are the whole reason you have cyclical unemployment, right Keynesians?

  24. Just one question for ya’ll: Has Robert Reich EVER said or written one sentence of something…..anything!………..that wasn’t BS? If so, please post it, because I’ve never come across it. It boggles my mind that people get time on TV and space in the print media when they have never been right about anything!

    1. About public policy issues Reich is much more thoughtful than Krugman. Krugman is very smart but he likes to write about things he hasn’t studied or even thought about.

      1. Reich tops even Krugman in the arrogant smarmy bastard category, though. You have to give him that.

  25. “…the 99-week extension for unemployment payouts.”

    Woah. Uhh…I think I need to go use the bathroom.

    *Grabs Lubriderm and kleenex*

  26. It still astonishes me that Robert Reich ever got hired to teach anything related to economics. His ignorance of the topic is beyond parody.

  27. Gentlemen…gentlemen…Gentlemen!
    It’s demeaning to yourselves and to every reader of this blog for you to refer to this Democratic Party spear-carrier – Oops – I mean Nobel laureate as “Pauly Krugnuts”.
    Everyone knows his true name is Alfred E. Krugman.

  28. 99 weeks of unemployment benefits? Wow! Unfortunately, this time duration is too long, at least as far as skills go. Most professional skills would become rusty within 99 weeks.

  29. 99 weeks sounds good, but within that timeframe there is a very high likelihood that professional skills will become rusty. What then? 99 more weeks of unemployment?

  30. Does Robert Reich have a spotter tagging along at all times, to protect him from himself?

  31. Why exactly do we need to give people out of a job for over a year more unemployment? We do have an actual welfare system. Put these lazy middle-class crackers in an inner-city housing project and give them food stamps, and let’s see if they don’t get motivated to find a job.

    Oh, shit, my bad, the crappy side of welfare isn’t for us white folks. I forgot.

  32. Were do you people live and work ?

    1. On the internet. There are only 3 regular human commenters here, most of the rest are just alts and spoofs and joke handles. But you knew that, didn’t you SF?

  33. I was just wondering cynical , I knew you people didnt live in Michigan .

  34. It costs money to leave Michigan. We should be offering people assistance to leave and shouldn’t cut the assistance off because somebody finds a job in Texas. The idea should be that we are offering incentives to find a job. So Kling’s idea is good.

  35. johnl Im just saying its easy to dog people when you dont have the hardship that I face everyday.

    1. What hardship is that? Getting money for doing absolutely nothing, for years?

  36. To Fatty Im 46 years old and starting working when I turned 16 . Ive paid my taxes for over 28 years . Ive been unemployed for a year and a half now . The state of Michigan has a program called extended benefits ( e.b.) you have to fill out a form every two weeks stating where and how you are seeking employment fax or mail it to the state , guess what you dont seek employment you dont get any money . Come on up to Michigan Fatty lets see how you survive in this state .

  37. You are a stupid jerk not worthy to lick the boots of Krugman.

  38. You smarmy, skulking, soft-fingered sewer-scum smear.

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