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GOP Vindicated on Issue of Unemployment Benefits Extension as Millions Return to Work

GOP Vindicated on Issue of Unemployment Benefits Extension as Millions Return to Work


The House GOP has been vindicated in their 2013 high profile tussle with President Obama and Democrats over the issue of extending unemployment benefits. During the budget battle, the GOP argued that extending the benefits had to end at some point because ad infinitum extensions were giving people an incentive not to work. Admittedly, the Obama economy is producing mainly low-wage part-time work which makes collecting unemployment an acceptable alternative. For their part, the GOP also argued that adding to the deficit to extend jobless benefits was not a good use of taxpayer funds.

Democrats countered that the GOP was mean-spirited and seeking to punish those who were the innocent victims of Wall Street greed. In the end, the measure was so contentious that it was left out of budget agreements worked out by Harry Reid and John Boehner. Now, a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which can be seen in Bloomberg Businessweek, indicates that it was the loss of benefits that compelled millions of workers to re-enter the labor force. Last year there were 1.8 million jobs created as a direct result of the expiration of jobless benefits, which was good news to business owners like Zeca Oliveira. Put another way, 60% of the 3 million jobs President Obama boasted creating in 2014 during his recent State of the Union address were due to the GOP’s insistence on allowing jobless benefits to expire. The news is certain to be picked up by GOP presidential hopefuls as part of the party’s 2016 economic platform.