unemployment benefits

Obama’s State of the Union proposals would cost $40 billion

Barack Obama

The proposals outlined in President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address would cost taxpayers at least $40 billion, according to an analysis by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

““Even though the President largely reiterated or reframed issues that have long been on his party’s current agenda, the proposals for new federal expenditures he outlined last night would still add up to a hefty price tag,” said Demian Brady, Director of Research at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. ”Moreover, his push for new mandates, regulation, and tax hikes, particularly on energy, will give taxpayers and business owners plenty to be wary of.”

Of the 29 proposals outlined in the speech by President Obama, only one would reduce spending, according to the analysis, while 12 would increase spending. The costs of 16 proposals couldn’t be quantified.

The most costly proposal outlined by President Obama was the Senate version of immigration reform — the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act — which would cost $20.2 billion each year. Extention of federal unemployment benefits was the second-most costly item, at $12.8 billion.

President Obama’s universal pre-K proposal is would cost $3.5 billion each year, making it the third-most costly item in his State of the Union address.

The only proposal that would cut spending is the FHA Solvency Act, a measure that President Obama supports. This bill, which would protect taxpayers from bearing the cost of another housing crisis, would reduce federal outlays by $103 million, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

Barack Obama’s economy makes it hard for the unemployed to get up off the couch

Unemployment in the Obama Economy

The agonizingly slow Obama recovery is taking a toll on American couches, according to Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight, who painted a picture of the long-term unemployed American — “Mark”:

Mark, 22 and unemployed, sleeps late in the morning.

His roommate has to get up for work, but Mark has nowhere to be. He rolls out of bed at 11 a.m. He checks his email — still no response to his last round of resumes — and heads out for a run. When he gets home, he spends 45 minutes filling out job applications, then plops down in front of the television for a couple hours before cleaning up the house — he’s taken on more chores since his roommate is cutting him a break on the rent. In the evening, his buddies are catching a game at the local bar, but Mark has class at the local community college, where he’s working toward a certificate in HVAC repair.

Mark isn’t a real person. Or rather, he is an amalgamation of thousands of people struggling to get by in an economy still stuck in second gear.

Today in Liberty: Facebook CEO expressed NSA frustrations to Obama, CFOs say minimum wage hike would curb hiring

“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” — Edmund Burke

— Pen and Phone: In its latest executive action, the Obama administration has decided to reverse cuts to Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies that it previously said would be trimmed because of the Budget Control Act, better known as the sequester. “Last year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the subsidies would face a roughly 7 percent cut under sequestration,” The Hill reports. “Budget officials changed that in their latest report, removing the subsides from a list of programs the sequester will hit.” Presumably, the administration will have to cut elsewhere in the budget to make up for preserving these subsidies.

Today in Liberty: Conservative groups blast House GOP on debt ceiling, jobs more important to voters than wage gap

“ We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” — Charles Bukowski

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Economist: Eliminating corporate income tax would help American workers

Staring down what could be a tough year, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are focusing their message on the tired theme of “income inequality,” focusing state-based measures to raise the minimum wage and extend jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed.

But the focus on heavy-handed and expensive government programs is misguided. In an op-ed yesterday at The New York Times, Laurence Kotlikoff explained that the best way to help American workers is to eliminate the corporate income tax.

“That might sound like a giveaway to the rich. It’s not,” wrote Kotlikoff, an economic professor at Boston University. “The rich, including Boeing’s stockholders, can take their companies and run — and not just from Washington State to, say, North Carolina.”

“To avoid our federal corporate tax, they can, and often do, move their operations and jobs abroad,” he noted. “Apple’s tax return says it all: The company, according to one calculation, paid only 8.2 percent of its worldwide profits in United States corporate income taxes, thanks to piling up most of its profits and locating far too many of its operations overseas.”

Huntsman wrongly criticizes Paul unemployment benefits comments

Congress will soon weigh whether or not to extend benefits for unemployed Americans for another year, at a cost of $26 billion. Though the country has seen growth and job creation has picked up the pace, many Americans haven’t been able to find work in what is still a slow-moving economy.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits past the normal six-month period.

“When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy,” Paul, a potential Republican presidential candidate, told host Chris Wallace. “And it really — while it seems good, it actually does a disservice to the people you’re trying to help.”

Jon Huntsman, for Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China, criticized Paul on the issue on Monday. “This is language that’s suitable for the Republican primary, plain and simple,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, according to Politico. “This isn’t the language that’s good for all Americans and that gets us closer to solving the problem,” emphasizing the need for bipartisan solutions.

Huntsman, a failed Republican presidential candidate in 2012 who has made rumblings about 2016, may not like the “language,” but he didn’t do anything to prove Paul’s underlying point wrong. Why? Because he can’t.

Why the Areas Affected by Sequestration Should be Cut

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

The scheduled implementation of the sequestration spending cuts is a little more than a week away, which has Republicans, Democrats, bureaucrats, special interests, and the media warning that the apocalypse is nigh. Sequestration isn’t the ideal way to cut spending, but it would be a start. And despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the areas of federal spending targeted by sequestration should be cut.

Many of these areas have been covered by Cato’s Downsizing Government website. The following is a “guide” for those who are interested in alternative points of view (and who haven’t already sought refuge in a bunker):

Unemployment benefits do not create jobs

While Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and others claim and insist that extending unemployment benefits is some sort of economic stimulus that creates jobs, Dan Mitchell, an economist at the Cato Institute, points us to some research showing that the exact opposite is true (emphasis mine):

Fed downgrades economic forecasts, questions arise in Europe

The Federal Reserve delivered some bad economic news yesterday, as if we haven’t had enough of that this year, as the central bank revised forecasts downward:

The Federal Reserve has lowered its growth forecasts and raised its unemployment projections, suggesting the economy has a longer path to recovery.

The central bank’s latest forecast released Wednesday predicts that the economy will grow just 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent for all of 2011. For 2012, growth will range between 2.5 percent and 2.9 percent. Both forecasts are roughly a full percentage point lower than the Fed’s projections from June.

The unemployment rate has been stuck near 9 percent for more than two years. The Fed doesn’t see that changing this year. It predicts it will fall between 8.5 percent and 8.7 percent next year. In June, the Fed had predicted unemployment would drop next year to as low as 7.8 percent.

The new forecast takes into account the substantial slowdown in growth that occurred earlier this year.

We did get some good economic news this morning as new jobless claims dropped below 400,000. We’ll find out Friday if the economy added a significant amount of jobs (meaning over 125,000 or above population growth) last month

Do extended benefits encourage people to stay unemployed

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler thinks that extended unemployment benefits may actually be contributing to our unemployment problem.  According the Augusta Chronicle report, that argument isn’t without some merit either.  You see, people who are on unemployment often ride those benefits until they get a job as good as their previous one.  It’s not hard to sympathize with that.  It’s also hard to not relate to someone who opts to not take a job that pays about what the benefits pay.

“Somebody who’s been on unemployment for a very extended time, and this is not everybody … will say ‘I’m not looking for anything right now but will when my benefits are about to run out,’ ” he said Monday.

He bases his comments on conversations with Labor Department managers around the state who tell him they see people get the most energetic about finding a job when they approach the end of their benefit period. At the same time, some employers, such as temporary-staffing companies, tell him they can’t find workers to fill their openings.

Butler said the unemployment insurance program shouldn’t postpone people’s recognition that they might have to move, take a job in another field or take a lower-paying position.

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