Can we afford another extension? Is it really a solution for unemployment? That’s the bottom line. There simply is no clear message about how Democrats are going to cover the cost for extending unemployment benefits, and that’s a problem they keep ignoring. A temporary 3-month extension may have gotten a pass in the Senate yesterday, but it’s going to have a hard time getting passed Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
“One month ago I personally told the White House that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work,” [Boehner] said. “To date, the president has offered no such plan. If he does, I’ll be happy to discuss it.” (Lansing State Journal)
It’s a sentiment that Paul shared on ABC’s ‘This Week’:
Well, I think what’s really cruel is to have an economy that doesn’t have jobs in it. So we have to talk about what policy creates jobs. With regard to unemployment insurance, I’ve always said that I’m not opposed to unemployment insurance, I am opposed to having it without paying for it.
Extending unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks was only meant to be a temporary relief. Instead it’s becoming the default non-solution for an ongoing problem. It not only needs funding, but it’s not solving the core problem of long-term unemployment: lack of jobs.
Paul is currently working on his own solution for stimulating economy in areas of high unemployment with his ‘Economic Freedom Zones’ plan. His proposal provides dramatic tax cuts in these troubled areas. You can read more about it here.
Gene Sperling, director of Obama’s National Economic Council, offers another possible solution, unrelated to the benefits extension, involving tax reform and job creation:
“[He] said Sunday that Obama is offering congressional Republicans ‘a grand bargain on jobs. [Obama] has said he would be willing to do corporate tax reform that lowers rates to 28 percent, simplifies taxes for small businesses, but do it together with a major infrastructure investment.’”
“In his budget proposal last year, Obama called for $50 billion in additional short-term federal spending on infrastructure projects such as bridges, highways, and mass transit systems, as well as creation of a National Infrastructure Bank to make loans to such projects.” (NBC News)
It’s not exactly a great deal but infrastructure repair, particularly of bridges, has been on Paul’s agenda before. Many of Kentucky’s bridges and roads are deteriorating or in disrepair. …However, there’s still that crucial issue of funding; at least in this scenario, it’s spending money on job creation, not benefits. If Democrats are going to force the issue, why not on a solution that creates jobs? They can try to push a 3-month extension through, but what then? Ultimately, what those affected by long-term unemployment want are jobs.
WATCH: We Need a Policy that Creates Jobs, Says Sen. Paul
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