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December 26, 2013 - 9:22am

Today's Poll: Should benefits be extended for long-term unemployed?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Dave Olsen
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“…for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” from Galatians 6:7. (in part)

The same holds true for the government. The long-term unemployment is a problem which could have been solved over time beginning with the first time the unemployment benefits were extended in 2008 over 5 years ago. But no, that didn’t happen. Wholesale changes in our economy and foreign interventions which cost this country so dearly financially could have been averted.

In 2008 and again in 2012, the American people (or at least enough) chose to put their faith in the authoritarian attitude of a polished politician who promised them health care, jobs and fairness for everyone by creating more laws, more bureaucracy and bigger government. Here in NY in 2010, the same thing happened, that can be changed in 2014. Other voices wanted to shrink government bureaucracy, remove regulations, cancel laws and free up the markets so they can make us all wealthier and provide solutions through competition for profits.

Let’s be honest, we know why one won and the other lost

It’s like a fad diet. If you want to lose weight in the long term, the best way to do it by far is to eat better and exercise more. But that’s difficult and doesn’t give immediate, dramatic results. Fad diets don’t often work, and when they do, their results are often dramatic but short-lived. Many times they cause even more problems as the weight comes back up.

When dealing with a problem like widespread unemployment, the fad diet is the political quick fix. Vote for me and I’ll pass legislation putting you back to work immediately. I’ll give money to certain industries to goose their employment numbers. I’ll shut down foreign competition to help American businesses make better profits, part of which they’ll pass along to their workers. I’ll expand government hiring, or mandate greater benefits for those who still can’t find work. I’ll give tax breaks to the rich “job creators” then they will re-invest the money into businesses that will hire you. I’ll bailout the banks so they will have money to lend to companies who will then expand and hire you. I’ll give tax abatements and subsidize low interest loans though a quasi-public IDA so a company can locate here and create jobs and hire you and your children and grandchildren so they don’t move away. The tax base will grow and we will all be prosperous. Just don’t look behind the curtain, that’s all I ask. Don’t go near the fruit of the tree of knowledge. It’s bad.

I’d like to ask those folks who’ve been on unemployment for longer than a year – How’re these “solutions” working out for you? Of course, most of these “solutions” aren’t really that at all. And, even if they do help some people today, they’ll make far more people much worse off tomorrow. They make entire industries less competitive, setting them up to fail in the future, creating a false basis for fiscal planning. They increase the costs of subsidized services, eventually pricing them out of the reach of the worst off. They stifle the very innovation that will, over the long term, radically improve our lives. It should be painfully obvious that Uncle Sam does not have a limitless supply of funds, if social programs increase, something else has to decrease. It’s been over 30 years since I took a physics class, but Ol’ Sir Isaac Newton’s laws haven’t changed that I know of; number 3 is the what I’m referring to here. (If you don’t know what that is, look it up)

Free markets work, but we can’t predict when the benefits will come or how exactly people will be helped. Is it any wonder, then, that if you’re an out-of-work voter, questing how you’ll provide for your family, the advocate of the fad diet sounds so much more appealing than the guy saying we need to eat right and exercise? I’m not trying to insult voters who still believe that staying the course will eventually work. I do understand that we can’t just turn a switch and change the entire economy of the nation to another track immediately. It is going to take time and require fortitude. Big fat guy that I am, I can relate to not wanting to eat right and exercise more. I know I should do both and I don’t much. But I also know that fad diets are not the answer. I know that sitting in the La-z-boy eating cheetos isn’t working so well either.

Extend the benefits for 1 year, attach the expenditure to programs which will allow more free market enterprises. End programs which do not. And most importantly, vote Libertarian in 2014.

We all need to get up off our big fat behinds and push away from the table. The big government table.

Jeff Allen
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Nominee for POTY (post of the year). Two great analogies, the fad diet and the Tree of Knowledge.

Michelle WIlliams
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Dave, your analogies are spot on. My mom was laid off for the third year in a row (-each time lasting 1 to 3 weeks) in November of last year. She has been a machinist for over 30 years and has worked in quality control, setup, programming, prototypes, etc. She also holds numerous certifications (OSHA, ISO, programming, etc) However, when she began looking for work after her layoff, she was told by many she was "overqualified" and by others that she needed a degree (of any kind) in order to get more than $9/hr. Fortunately I have talked my mom into getting said degree at 57 years of age while she continues searching for work. However, one of the most outrageous rules on unemployment (you can find it in the handbook) is that you cannot travel more than 1 hour or 50 miles from your home in search of work or for any other purpose. My mom has always had to travel out of the area in order to make a decent wage in her industry. Finding a job in that industry that pays a livable wage is very difficult right now. Many jobs are going overseas, many companies are closing the doors. There really is no help for someone who truly wants to work and is passionate about what they do. I must say that I am proud of her and the countless others at GCC (and any other college) who are finding ways to do the most with their unfortunate situation. I hear the same story from so many people. The government is not helping the industries that could really use the boost. Unfortunately more big box retailers are entering markets than large sustainable companies that would provide stable careers.

Ed Hartgrove
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Michelle, I was perplexed by your post that stated, "However, one of the most outrageous rules on unemployment (you can find it in the handbook) is that you cannot travel more than 1 hour or 50 miles from your home in search of work or for any other purpose."

Having, in the past, being unemployed and searching for work, I had never heard (or read) such a statement. So, I went to the NYS labor website at https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/ui/TC318.3e.pdf

I couldn't find any such statement that you alluded to. I'm not saying it doesn't exist - I may have overlooked it, as there are 37 pages of the 'handbook' on the NYS website.

I DID find where it said, "You must also be willing to travel a reasonable distance to obtain employment. As a general rule, travel of one hour by private transportation or one and one half hours by public transportation is considered reasonable."

I just found your statement to be worded a little odd. The way you posted what was in the handbook, a person couldn't travel 65 miles to visit relatives (which would fall under the "or for any other purpose" portion of your post). I guess I found it hard to believe that NY would ban a person from finding a job that existed any milage over 50 miles from their home.

Now, I may have been looking at an outdated version of NY's handbook. If so, could you post an internet address to the one you were talking about? I would appreciate it.

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