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Unemployment Insurance

I promised myself I’d update more frequently once the World Cup was over (viva Espana, by the way).  So here goes.

As Daniel Indiviglio illustrates better than I ever could, extending unemployment benefits just plain makes sense.  It’s simple math: more unemployed workers competing for a constant number of jobs results in long term unemployment. 

However, Ezra Klein points out an interesting nuance that’s been lost in the politics of this debate.  Ben Nelson, A Democrat Senator that opposed extending benefits, argued that his state doesn’t need extended benefits.  He’s probably right, but he’s being disingenuous, because there are triggers built into extended benefits that solve this problem.  If your state doesn’t have unemployment above the national average, extended benefits don’t come into effect.

So unemployment insurance is, as it turns out, a pretty well-designed system.  And extending beyond 99 weeks is just plain the right thing to do.

UPDATE (7/14): Ezra Klein posts this pithy summary of how little the UI extension would cost.

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