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Public Statements

Temporary Extension Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LINDER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this legislation.

This bill would increase Federal spending by $10 billion, or $125 per family of four in the U.S. None of which would be paid for. And that's just a fraction of $1,000 per family of four it will cost to extend these programs through the end of the year, as is already in the works. That, too, will get added to our children's already enormous tab of government debt. They deserve far better.

Ironically, just two weeks ago the President signed Democrats' ``paygo'' bill into law. He said ``the PAYGO bill ..... says very simply that the United States of America should pay as we go and live within our means again--just like responsible families and businesses do.''

Yet today, with this bill, we're not living within our means, yet again.

A second flaw of this bill has to do with jobs. This legislation simply won't create any.

Some say that extending unemployment benefits stimulates job creation. If that were so, we would be at full employment already. Today record numbers of Americans--over 11 million--collect unemployment checks instead of paychecks. They collect record weeks of benefits--up to 99 weeks per person. And Congress added another $100 per month to those checks, for the first time ever. Yet since these programs started in 2008, the unemployment rate has jumped from 5.5 percent to over 10 percent as almost 8 million jobs disappeared.

So if these unemployment benefits are creating jobs, they are sure hard to see. But what we can see are mammoth payroll tax hikes this year in most States, as they struggle to pay for these benefits. As employer after employer has said, those tax hikes will further harm job creation when businesses and workers are already hurting.

In fact, some respected scholars argue these record unemployment benefit expansions actually are resulting in more unemployment, not less. That seems more than plausible.

At this time I would request ask unanimous consent to insert in the RECORD an article from the November 17, 2009 New York Post, which states:

As Larry Summers, the president's top assistant for economic policy, noted in July, ``the unemployment rate over the recession has risen about 1 to 1.5 percentage points more than would normally be attributable to the contraction in GDP''..... Summers knows why the US rate is so high. He explained it well in a 1995 paper co-authored with James Poterba of MIT: ``Unemployment insurance lengthens unemployment spells.'' ..... (T)he evidence is overwhelming that the February stimulus bill has added at least two percentage points to the unemployment rate. If Congress and the White House hadn't tried so hard to stimulate long-term unemployment, the US unemployment rate would now be about 8 percent and falling rather than more than 10 percent and--rising.

Mr. Chairman, we have tried extending unemployment benefits again and again. And we have only gotten more unemployment. Yet what unemployed workers really want are jobs and paychecks. We need to start over and do the things that really help create jobs for unemployed workers. That means eliminating uncertainty by scrapping Democrats' government health care takeover and cap and tax energy plans, extending expiring tax cuts on businesses and individuals, repealing wasteful stimulus spending, and committing to not increasing any tax until the economy has fully recovered.

Until we do that, additional extensions of unemployment benefits will simply spend even more money we don't have without truly helping unemployed workers find jobs, which must be our real goal.


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