Thursday, June 05, 2003

More Lucky Duckies

Unemployment continues to rise, incomes remain stagnant, public infrastructure in Washington State is crumbling thanks to anti-tax demagoguery. What is the GOP solution?

Shoot the wounded.

[L]et's ask a radical question: Why does the modern American employee need unemployment insurance at all? Since 1935, when this program was created, work and wealth have changed in America. Recessions are shallower, with a smaller proportion of Americans laid off. More kinds of jobs are available, and workers are better educated. Wages are up sharply, and the two-paycheck family has diversified the risk of layoff. The typical American family now has tens of thousands of dollars in net assets and several bank cards.

Unemployment insurance is not a program that mainly benefits the poor, because the truly poor don't earn enough to get much out of it. Millions of Americans face unemployment without any benefit at all, because they didn't work long enough to qualify for it. The interesting story is how successful they are without it. According to studies cited by consulting economist Bill Conerly in Portland, they get jobs in half the time — seven weeks versus 14.5 weeks — as people receiving unemployment checks.

I really hate it when some laid-off programmer lays around the house all day sending out resumes, rather than joining the ranks of the unskilled working poor working at McDonald's and mortgaging their houses, don't you?

If I live to be 200, I'll never understand why ordinary Americans vote for these people.