Extending unemployment benefits (again) a dumb idea, time for an innovative approach

It’s time to get innovative in how America deals with unemployment. Washington Republicans who just supported a budget deal that broadly expanded government, but allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire, are now looking for ways to capitulate to demands from Democrats that unemployment benefits be expanded beyond 26 week (up to as many as 99 weeks) for 1.3 million Americans.

If the government keeps giving people money for being unemployed, you are going to get more unemployment. How about instead helping the unemployed Americans stuck in high-tax, low economic freedom states, get out of those states and find jobs in places where the unemployment rate is hovering around 5 percent or less? Areas like Midland, TX, the fastest growing city in America could also provide much-needed jobs for struggling workers in high-tax states like New York from which large number of Americans are fleeing (might be why Chuck Schumer is so angry at Rand Paul and others who oppose unemployment benefits w/o end).

Over the long-term, being on unemployment DOES hurt the very workers it is intended to help. And unemployment benefits can keep people in places that will take a long time to recover from this economic downturn. It’s time to incentivize people to move where the jobs are. This idea was actually written about in the Washington Post, so I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.

Update: North Carolina which reduced the length of unemployment insurance availability saw dramatic declines in its unemployment rate. Notably, North Carolina is one of the states to which people are moving according to the United Van Lines report cited above.

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