If Unemployment Benefits Are Worth It, They’re Worth Paying For

Unemployment insurance is probably one of the more useful government programs you’re going to run across. It’s designed to be temporary in nature, it often provides a useful benefit to people who actually pay taxes, and it fills a genuine need. A lot of people don’t have large cash reserves. That means, if they lose their main source of income, they can get in deep financial trouble in : a : hurry. Unemployment insurance helps prevent that from happening. So, on the whole, I think unemployment insurance is good for the country, particularly when we have an economic downturn and a lot of people lose their jobs.

That being said, anything worth having is worth paying for. Republicans, quite rightly, are insisting that we cut 40 billion dollars out of the budget elsewhere to pay for the latest extension of jobless benefits.

The Senate today defeated a Republican substitute to the bill that includes an extension of federal unemployment benefits by a 41-57 vote.

The measure, offered by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), proposed to use unspent stimulus funds to pay for the bill so it would not add to the federal deficit.

Democrats maintain that unemployment benefits are considered emergency spending and not subject to pay-go rules.

This is not a debate over unemployment benefits. It’s a debate over whether or not to pay for them by cutting wasteful spending from a failed stimulus package. All we’re doing with the stimulus package is throwing good money after bad. So, why not actually use the money to pay for a beneficial program?

Oh, but we don’t need to pay for it because it’s “emergency spending?” Only in DC could funding a program that :  has been in place since roughly 1935 be considered “an emergency.” Setting that aside, is there some sort : of : magic unicorn dust that Obama will be using that will prevent us from having to pay back funds that are spent in an “emergency?” There’s not, is there? So, if the Democrats meant any of the lip service they gave to getting spending under control, they’d : have : already agreed to cut the stimulus funds, and the unemployment benefits package would have already passed.

I already know the response from the Left, “I didn’t hear this kind of complaining from Republicans when Bush was in office.” That may be true. But, you’re hearing it now and you publicly claim to be as serious :  taking on the deficit as we are. So, if you mean what you say, you should be encouraging more Democrats to join with the GOP on this.

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