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Two items, the first from last June, from Roll Call:
President Barack Obama attacked Republicans Friday for failing to pass an unemployment extension — or anything else on his agenda — while voting for a tax cut for the wealthy… “They’ve said no to extending unemployment insurance for more than three million Americans who are out there looking every single day for a new job, despite the fact that we know it would be good not just for those families who are working hard to try to get back on their feet, but for the economy as a whole,” Obama said during a campaign-style speech on the economy in Minneapolis. “Rather than invest in working families getting ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.”
And this from USAToday, from last March:
Almost 2 million Americans who have been out of work for longer than six months have missed out on extended unemployment benefits since Congress allowed the program to expire in December, according to a new analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data.
In seven states, at least 100,000 unemployed workers have missed out on unemployment benefits they would have otherwise received, according to the analysis from the National Employment Law Project, a group that advocates for workers and has lobbied for an extension of the benefits…
The White House and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are interested in reinstating the benefits. Four Republicans joined Senate Democrats last month to almost pass an extension, and House Speaker John Boehner has said he’s open to an extension, provided the cost is offset with other budget cuts. But so far, disputes over how to pay for continuing the measure and how long to extend the benefits have derailed any deals.
And thank God they did. Because here’s what we learned today: the extended benefits actually hurt employment, and letting them expire fueled job growth. Surprised? Probably not, if you’re a Ricochet member. But in case you aren’t, here’s a summary from Marginal Revolution:
There is a new NBER Working Paper on this topic by Hagedorn, Manovskii, and Mitman, showing (once again) that most supply curves slope upward, here is one key part from the abstract:
In levels, 1.8 million additional jobs were created in 2014 due to the benefit cut. Almost 1 million of these jobs were filled by workers from out of the labor force who would not have participated in the labor market had benefit extensions been reauthorized.
There is an ungated copy here (pdf). Like the sequester, this is another area where the Keynesian analysts simply have not proven a good guide to understanding recent macroeconomic events.
Once again: sometimes help isn’t very helpful.