North Carolina became the first state in the country to forfeit federal long-term unemployment benefits.
As her state budgets continued to balloon and unemployment remains uncomfortably high, the Republican controlled legislature ended the state’s war on prudent fiscal policy by exempting herself from receiving further federal assistance for people unemployed longer than 26 weeks, as well as lowering the maximum potential benefit.
If you listen to Paul Krugman of The New York Times, you’d believe the GOP was doing this to upset President Obama and purposefully hurt the poor.
Is life too easy for the unemployed? You may not think so, and I certainly don’t think so. But that, remarkably, is what many and perhaps most Republicans believe. And they’re acting on that belief: there’s a nationwide movement under way to punish the unemployed, based on the proposition that we can cure unemployment by making the jobless even more miserable.
It’s a legitimate concern for someone looking to put food on their table but the difficult truth is that extended benefits play an unfortunate role in the stubborn 8.8 percent unemployment rate North Carolina currently lives with.
As of today, jobless benefits cap out at a pretax rate $350 per week (down from $535 prior to Sunday’s cuts). As Krugman notes, “some hammock,” in response to Paul Ryan referring to welfare’s changing role from safety net to entitlement hammock.
And he’s right, it’s not much money. Speaking personally, $1,500 per month would barely cover the cost of feeding my family of 6, much less cover electricity or water or any other of life’s essentials.
But the question remains: does receiving up to $1,500 per month purely as a matter of benefit for searching for a job hurt the economy as a whole? Or help it?
Read More: Red State