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Public Statements

Continuing Extension Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. LINDER. Mr. Speaker, the legislation before us would extend for another 2 months special Federal programs that today mean unemployed workers can collect up to 99 weeks of benefits in most States. This compares with a total of up to 26 weeks of benefits in almost all States during normal times. Other Members note the massive expense of all this spending, which would grow by another $18 billion in just the next 2 months. None of it paid for, just as none of the more than $100 billion in ``emergency'' Federal unemployment spending has been paid for since this program began in mid-2008.

* But stepping back, what are those 73 weeks of additional benefits, at a cost now of $7-8 billion per month, buying American workers and taxpayers? The answer is a whole lot of disincentives to work, according to recent articles.

* The April 13 Wall Street Journal (``Incentives Not to Work: Larry Summers v. Senate Democrats on jobless benefits'') put it this way, summarizing the effect of unemployment benefits on returns to work:

The second way government assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment is by providing an incentive, and the means, not to work Each unemployed person has a `reservation wage'--the minimum wage he or she insists on getting before accepting a job. Unemployment insurance and other social assistance programs increase [the] reservation wage, causing an unemployed person to remain unemployed longer.'' Any guess who wrote that? Milton Friedman, perhaps. Simon Legree? Sorry. Full credit goes to Lawrence H. Summers, the current White House economic adviser, who wrote those sensible words in his chapter on "Unemployment'' in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, first published in 1999.


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