Debra J. Saunders

No surprise, there now are organizations for people who have exhausted all 99 weeks of unemployment benefits -- such as the American 99ers Union and Advocacy for the Long-Term Unemployed. I have a lot of sympathy for the unemployed, but when I read the 99er rhetoric in favor of the 113-week plan, I can't help but wish these folks would focus more on getting a job than turning unemployment into a career.

Another caveat: Because employers pay for unemployment benefits, extended benefits hinder job creation. "It's not like a flaming stake to the heart of the economy," Sherk observed, "but on the margins, higher (unemployment insurance) taxes discourage employers from hiring."

As Sherk noted, it's a tough job market out there; 44 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. So the question is this: Is Washington doing these folks a favor by giving the jobless an incentive to remain "jobless workers"?

Debra J. Saunders

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