The latest development in the unemployment-benefits-reform movement that has been gathering steam here is a really good Bloomberg News editorial describing programs in Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon that offer business coaching and income support to entrepreneurs. "Participants try to start enterprises, rather than being required to look full time for traditional jobs," the editorial says, reporting that "Britain, France and Sweden have operated similar entrepreneurial assistance programs since the 1980s, with good results. In the U.S., though, only about a dozen states have followed suit, and most programs are tiny."
The editorial says that three big states that are home to 30% of the nation's jobless — California, Texas, and Florida — don't offer any such self-employment assistance to the unemployed. It also recommends that "minor income from a side business ... shouldn't be automatically counted against jobless benefits. In some cases this year's hobby can be built into next year's business."
It makes a lot of sense to me — or at least more sense than the current unemployment system, which pays people not to work, and punishes them by stopping their benefits if they find or create a job.