Here are a few things on unemployment that I’ve been saving up.
First, Anthony Randazzo reminds us that hard cases make for bad policy. He sympathizes with a relative of his in the Detroit metro who has been unemployed for a long time. At the same time, he opposes extending the period for which people can collect unemployment insurance. (At some point–perhaps we’ve already reached it–the “premiums” run out, and instead of insurance, we’re talking about welfare.)
He speaks two hard truths. The first is that extending unemployment insurance does, in some cases, induce people to not seek a job, or turn down “inferior” work. The second is that state and federal policies make it more difficult for people to create jobs. “There just may not be enough jobs available in Detroit for everyone that want them. Certainly not with the restrictive economic laws in the state of Michigan.”
Meanwhile, Jim Powell lists 10 job killing policies promoted by the Obama Administration. The first two items on the list should be familiar to Michiganders: Compulsory unionism and the forced restructuring of GM.
Francisco Gonzalez comments on a new phenomenon, “fun-employment.” People in that state “have been laid off and (apparently) have enough funding to make ends meet ” perhaps that funding is coming from a spouse, a parent, or simply their personal savings.” The silver lining for the economy is that this phenomenon might lead to people creating start-up companies, the only source of job growth of late. He reminds us that “too big to fail” policies stunt the development of start-ups.
Finally, a personal observation about unemployment and free time. During a recent one-week trip back to Michigan (during which I was sure to do some amount of work each day), I made several trips to the beach with the family. We went to a city beach and to a state park beach. In all my years of visiting Michigan beaches, I don’t recall ever seeing so many cars in parking lots and parked along nearby roads–and this was midweek, not weekend.
I don’t have a definitive explanation, but I suspect three factors are at work: First, people who have jobs and go on vacation are staying closer to home rather than traveling out of state. Second, some people have gotten discouraged and have simply given up looking for work. Third, the continuation of unemployment benefits (which are of course not lavish, but not nothing) makes the life of the unemployed beach-goer possible.
From The Detroit News:
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