Every time a reasonable, rational person points out that extending unemployment benefits for 99 weeks creates an incentive for people to stay unemployed, she gets cries of outrage from the left:
How dare she suggest that people might choose not to be formally employed?
This is non-sense.
The whole system is founded on the understanding that given the choice of being paid to do whatever one wants versus having to do what someone else wants, people will have an incentive to choose the former.
To convince people to do what you want done, you have to make them better off than doing whatever they want. Clearly, if they are actually getting paid about $400 to do whatever the heck they want to do, it is harder for you, the potential employer, to convince them to do what you want done.
Notwithstanding lifeguards in New York State who apply for unemployment benefits during winter months or Ph.D. students who do so in summer months because their teaching assistantship stipend only pays out when classes are in session, the law and the system do recognize the incentive issue to a certain extent.
That is why the self-employed are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
They do pay in to the system.
But, they cannot get unemployment benefits when they can't find work.
If the law and the system did not recognize the incentive problem inherent in paying people for not working, there would be no need for such a provision.
In that universe, every self-employed person could go to the unemployment office and say
I could not find any paid work this week, and get a paycheck.
There is a reason we do not live in the same universe.
It is the same reason why extending unemployment benefits constantly cannot increase employment. And, in the long run, this perpetual taking from the people who work to give to people who do not, is bound to do significant harm to any economy.
The U.S. economy still has a chance to remain the driver of global growth.
I would like that chance to be materialized.
No! to extended unemployment benefits.
Yes! to not just maintaining the current income tax rates, but also federal income tax reform that involves reduction of tax brackets, widening the tax base, and getting rid of destructive subsidies such as the mortgage interest deduction, ethanol subsidies, caulk subsidies, clunker subsidies …