Fox pundit: Extending unemployment benefits ‘actually extends unemployment’

By David Edwards
Monday, July 5, 2010 10:29 EDT
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Congress may again extend unemployment benefits after they return from recess July 12 — but one Fox News contributor believes that it’s benefits that make US unemployment rates worse.

Fox contributor Nina Easton said Sunday that unemployed workers will refuse to get new jobs as long as they are receiving benefits.

In a press conference last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained that unemployment benefits were one of the most important types of stimulus to the economy.

“This is one of the biggest stimuluses to our economy,” said Pelosi. “The economists will tell you this money is spent quickly. It injects demand into the economy. And it’s job- creating. It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”

Easton, a contributor to Fox News and the Washington Bureau Chief for Fortune Magazine, disagreed.

“In the past, what has happened is it actually extends unemployment because people wait till the last minute before their benefits run out to find a job, to relocate to take jobs that they really didn’t want to take,” Easton told Fox News’ Major Garrett.

“And what happens is the longer you’re unemployed, the more difficult it is to find a job. So it doesn’t really help people in the long run,” she said.

Easton seemed to have a sense that her comments might raised the ire of unemployed Americans. “Before I get the hate mail I want to make clear that unemployment benefits are not cushy. They’re difficult and there’s a lot of pain out there,” she admitted.

Heather, a blogger for the liberal blog Crooks and Liars, slammed Easton for not understanding the difficulties of losing a job:

Easton just proves herself to be another heartless Republican that would rather call unemployed Americans lazy and willing to live off of the government rather than to admit that the GOP policies of outsourcing and the refusal of Republicans along with some ConservaDems to properly stimulate the economy have left them unemployed where they’re needing the help in the first place.

But Easton isn’t the first conservative pundit to try and cast doubt on providing extended benefits. Only a week ago, George Will suggested that benefits were not helpful to the economy. “We’re subsidizing unemployment, that is the long-term unemployment, those unemployed more than six months, is it at an all-time high and they do not think it’s stimulative because what stimulates is the consumer and savers’ sense of permanent income. And everyone knows that unemployment benefits are not permanent income,” he said.

This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast July 4, 2010.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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