Unintended Consequences of Unemployment Benefits

This letter of mine ran in today’s New York Times in response to Paul Krugman’s July 4 column.

To the Editor:

Paul Krugman is at a loss to explain why some people oppose extending unemployment benefits. One reason people hold such an opinion is that when government subsidizes something, there tends to be more of it.

The more government subsidizes unemployment, the more people will indulge in it for longer periods of time.

Ryan Young
Washington, July 6, 2010

The writer is a journalism fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

One response to “Unintended Consequences of Unemployment Benefits

  1. I mean, you’re not wrong, but the question then becomes: are people on unemployment longer because they’re delaying a job search, or because it’s available and the alternative would be nothing at all?

    If you’re out of work and looking for a new job, of course you’d take another three months of unemployment while you continue your search, as opposed to nothing.

    I think you’re implying that no one who takes these benefits actually deserves them. Unemployment is not something we “indulge in.”

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