Reader comment on: Kristof on the Hedge Fund Republic
Submitted by ben (United States), Nov 18, 2010 10:13
If there is one thing that Fox News has proven, it is that to generate a story line that breaks through the cacophony of the 24 hours news animal, the same point must be made by many people, in many places in a similar way. It is nice to see some columnists take this lesson to heart, and these things can't be said enough. The criticism of unemployment benefits made on the right is that it is "paying people not to work." This is a grossly ignorant way to see the situation. We currently have 5 job applicants for every job - the jobs don't exist right now. But more important than that, being unemployed is a depressing and degrading place to be. Most of the unemployed would rather be working than not for their own self esteem, not to mention that unemployment benefits are so low that just about any job a person were to have would earn more than the unemployment benefit.
I would also question how many people in the top 1% actually "earn" their money. Look at the Forbes 400 and it is littered with people who inherited their money and do not work at all. It is also chock full of people who are essentially retired living off their mountain of money. Government redistributes money to achieve a just society as it should. The point being made is that there is a false sense of opportunity in the country. Something is seriously wrong with our society when those at the top have so much while so many struggle to pay the rent, pay the dentist or buy a winter coat. A society that is so unequal hurts everyone, not just the poor.
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The Future of Capitalism replies:
Not even the NYT agrees with you on the incentive effects of unemployment insurance. See here
The "jobs don't exist" argument is static analysis. Without the unemployment, people would be starting businesses and creating jobs.
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