Despite unemployment benefits serving as a necessary last resort for jobless Americans, former George W. Bush labor secretary nominee Linda Chavez thinks Congress shouldn’t bother with them for now.
“Extending unemployment benefits is a terrible idea,” Chavez told Fox and Friends Monday morning, as Congress prepares to take will decide on whether to extend them this week.
“In fact, that we have 99 weeks now in some places available for unemployment has actually increased our unemployment rate. And they’ve been studies going back to the 1970s that show that for every week you extend unemployment benefits, you extend joblessness from a half a week to a full week.”
Chavez’s “facts” on unemployment benefits are, however, untrue. Many studies have clearly illustrated how beneficial unemployment benefits are to the overall economy.
Economists estimate that the economy grows by $1.61 for every dollar spent on extended unemployment benefits, mostly because recipients usually spend all of their benefit payments quickly. Unemployment benefits also directly affect small and medium sized businesses who would see fewer customers without them.
Chavez’s statement that extending unemployment benefits has increased unemployment is also a major falsehood. As renown economic figures Paul Krugman, Lawrence Katz, and Irwin Kellner have noted, unemployment is caused by a scarcity of available jobs, and not the availability of benefits.
Chavez became the first Hispanic woman nominated to a United States cabinet position when George W. Bush selected her as Labor Secretary in 2001. She withdrew her candidacy after being accused of hiring an undocumented immigrant. Chavez later claimed she’d merely given the woman money out of kindness, and not in exchange for work.
WATCH: Video from Fox News, which was broadcast on November 28, 2011.