Friday, November 21, 2008

To Get More of Something (e.g., Unemployment), Subsidize It (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs on the stupidity of Congress extending unemployment benefits:

Ronald Reagan was no economist, but his economic logic was impeccable when he declared, “If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.”

So, as the current recession deepens and the rate of unemployment rises, we might have confidently predicted that Congress, in its infinite compassion for the little guy, would extend the period during which the unemployed may collect unemployment-insurance benefits. President Bush signed a bill today that will provide as many as 13 weeks of additional benefits, on top of the additional 13 weeks of benefits approved last June, which was on top of the 26 weeks the basic program provides.

The Associated Press notes that “Congress has enacted federally funded extensions seven times in the past 50 years during economic slumps - in 1958, 1961, 1972, 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2002.” Thus, this particular sort of counterproductive economic policy is almost as predictable as the sun’s rising in the east.

Read the entire article

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