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Your Take: Does Unemployment Insurance Reward Laziness?

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Jobless Men Keep Going, Try Wall Street, They Pay BonusesThe Huffington Post shared the thoughts of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on unemployment this week:

Unemployment insurance “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,”

The title of the article is a little misleading. In quotes, Kyl said that benefits dissuade people from job hunting, not that they “make people not want to get a job,” as the title states. While I didn’t hear or read about the debate, it seems like a stretch to take the quotes and twist them to match the title.

However, unemployment benefits do act as a disincentive. You get unemployment benefits when you are unemployed, you don’t get them when you are employed. If you remain unemployed, you get paid for not working… so in that respect Kyl is right. Given that base unemployment benefits lasts 26 weeks (not including the extensions from the stimulus package), I’m inclined to think that it’s not unfair for Bunning, or others, to ask how we are going to pay for these things especially if we’re extending benefits again.

While the initial 26 weeks are funded by my employer and myself, through past payments, the extensions, in theory, aren’t. They’re funded by current workers and are taken from their future benefits, should they ever need them. I’m not well versed in how it all works but that’s just my layman’s understanding of it.

If I lost my job and was on unemployment, my initial sense of urgency at finding another job would be much lower than if I didn’t have unemployment benefits (once I got over the sting of being fired). If I just need to meet the job hunting requirements to receive unemployment benefits, I’ll do that while I search for the “right” job and not the “right now” job. I would rethink my career, a la Lemonade, and not rush to find income. Without unemployment benefits, I would be less likely to do it… so in a sense the benefits act as a disincentive.

What are your thoughts on unemployment benefits and whether they reward laziness? Did you think Bunning blocking the bill because he wanted the Senate to follow its own PAYGO rules were justified?

(Photo: notionscapital)

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190 Responses to “Your Take: Does Unemployment Insurance Reward Laziness?”

  1. Marc says:

    This writer mistakenly claims that he paid into Unemployment Insurance (FUTA). This is 100% paid by employers. Employees pay nothing into FUTA. Jim Wang, the next time you get a pay check, actually look at your deductions. You will not find a deduction for FUTA. NOTE: FICA is Social Security, not Unemployment Insurance.

    • jack says:

      NOT true at all…here IN NJ, EMPLOYEES pay for Unemployment. same is true in Pensylvania, and Alaska. what u Said is only true in the other 47 states.

  2. Leslie Fox says:

    Unemployment Insurance: the reason that wages have been literally (not hypothetically) FLAT since the 1970s tells the whole story. Remember, corporations ALWAYS pass along the costs to the “consumer”, in in the following case, to the “employee”.

    Since Reagan the worker has been paying tax oon unemployment benefits, has been “paying” for the so-called employer unemployment fund, and has also been paying for his or her own health insurance. The corps even admit that when they have to pay for health insurance, they take it out of wage hikes. I don’t know about you, but I am earning the exact SAME amount that I earned in the early 90s. At that isn’t incompetence on my part because I’ve been promoted. But the last four places I worked there were not or little increases–and when there were, it was to pay for inflation (which we know is not calculated properly because they don’t even include housing–in fact they only include FOOD).

    If you are doing well, then thank yourself or your higher power who is successfully taking care of you.


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