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Some Anecdotal Evidence That Jobless Benefits Make Things Worse

Kudos to Dan Mitchell over at International Liberty for finding this letter to the editor in the Marietta Times from an employer who was actually trying to hire people to expand his business, but has been thwarted by the state government's unemployment insurance program (which recently turned into a federal giveaway program). Dan wrote a blog post about the phenomenon this morning, and it's well worth the few moments spent reading it because it has some excellent links to information about what he describes as the "perverse impact" that unemployment "insurance"* has on actual employment. 

As I have previously explained in an earlier, well read piece titled  The Best Place to be Poor anecdotal evidence can be used to mislead people. But it always has some truth to it as well, and it's often a good way to illustrate a point. In this case, the letter describes what happened to one construction company when it tried to expand last year and hire some new workers to do so. Here are some excerpts to start you off:

"The plan was initiated, the additional contracts were signed up and then we set out to hire the employees. Little did I know that attempting to hire the employees needed, which I had thought to be the easiest part, would turn out to be a nightmare if not impossible. I'm sure that reading this you will be almost as surprised as I was directly experiencing it.
My experience: Before 2009 if our company advertised for an open position, on average we would get 20 to 30 applications, interview six to eight of the applicants, and hire one or two, based on the quality and potential of the candidates. This process has been deteriorating dramatically since 2009 and now at the end of 2011 it has completely hit bottom. Of all the applications that we have received this year, when asked why they were seeking a job with us, one out of three answered: my unemployment is running out and I have to go back to work. Earlier this year after I hired two new full-time employees, went through our company's orientation process, fitted them with our work clothing and booked them to start within a week, they both quit. One called ahead of the start date to apologize but wanted to inform us he would not be coming in because the government had just extended unemployment benefits again. The second one just did not show on his first day and when I called him he said he couldn't come in now because unemployment had been extended and he was making almost as much as we were planning to start him out with. If this is not frustrating enough to those of us that provide jobs and pay taxes let me give you my last two attempts this year." 
As you can see, no matter what you read that informs you to the opposite, common sense tells you that people would rather sit on their ass (if they are getting paid to) than answer to a boss and be held accountable for their contributions. It's just easier. And when it comes to sense, the common type is usually the best kind.
It's just one reason that government benefits, while trying to make things better, often make them worse.

* (quotations on the word, insurance, are mine)


Lista said...

The Problem is not the Existence of Unemployment Benefits, but the Fact that People are Payed more then they can Make while Working. The Pay for Working should be Higher then the Pay for not Working, yet to do Away with Unemployment all together would not at all be a Reasonable Solution.

Also, the Extending of Unemployment to People who have both found and been Offered a Job is Totally Idiotic. Don't they do any Research at all?! Shouldn't they have to Apply for the Extension? Don't Employers and those Offering Unemployment Communicate at all with each other?

In the Age of Computers, there is Absolutely no Reason why Employers shouldn't be Able to Enter those they Hire into a Data Base that would also be Checked by those who Distribute Unemployment Benefits. To me, these Things seem so Obvious and yet the Government Continues to do Things Carelessly and Foolishly.

Too Often, the Government just Acts and does not Think Through the Programs that they either Offer or Require.

There is a Balance, though, to what should be Offered and what should be Done Away with and many Libertarians are Willing to go too far when they Start Taking Things Away.

Grant Davies said...

Since I have not proposed, and no one in the article has proposed or even mentioned doing away with Unemployment Insurance, I'm puzzled as to why it would be brought up here.

As to the rest of your comments; all the problems you cite, which are quite numerous, make the case against a government program, not in support of it.

The state is where the programs started, it is where they should remain if the states choose to have them. The problems addressed by the article have everything to do with Federal involvement/interference and extensions, not the fundamental question of whether the same goals could be addressed without the use of government force.

As to what some/many libertarians are willing to do; you should consider taking it up with them, on their sites, or when you encounter them elsewhere.

Lista said...

"Make the case against a government program, not in support of it."

The Pros and Cons all Need to be Weighed, for there are Problems with it and Problems without it. Perhaps this is a Welfare Issue, rather then an Unemployment Issue. Since, in Reality, Welfare should be Temporary in most Cases, this is sort of an Unemployment Program, yet it Needs to be Modified and Reformed in some Very Serious Ways.

As far as the State vs. Federal Issue, though, Checks and Balances would most Definitely be easier on a State Level.

Since I do Enjoy these Conversations, I sort of Wish that I wasn't so Busy with Christmas Stuff, but so is Life.

My main Concern, for now, though, is that the Local Media is not as Efficient in Relation to Political Issues as the National Media is and that is Probably why the Public Focuses so much on the Federal Government when they have Grievances. Keeping Up with Local Government is Considerably more Effort and Work.

I'm going to Complain about Libertarians from Time to Time because I Know that you have some in you Audience and well, sometimes, I just have to Blow Off Steam. I am also Hoping for more and more Evidence that you are not also that Way.

Grant Davies said...

I'm happy you have found an outlet to blow off steam.

As to me not being that "way", I'm not sure what that is, but you can be sure that I'm fully in favor of the idea that government force is the very last option to be considered when addressing societal problems.

The size of the government I envision as the most optimum is probably one you would not recognize and probably would be aghast to contemplate.

But you won't find me insulting anyone on purpose while I try to convince them of my views.

Lista said...

I Feel Bad when I Blow Off Steam because I wish that I didn't have to. Sometimes Life is Stressful both on and Off the Blogosphere and when all People Want to do is Insult, rather then Educate, that just doesn't Achieve any Beneficial Political Purpose.

If the Size of Government that you Believe in would "Aghast" someone like me, though, then how in the World do you Expect an Avid Socialist to Understand? Such Critters are Among us, though, and Part of the Reason that they will not Compromise is because they Fear People Like you and you are not going to Appease them by Throwing Strong Libertarian Ideas Around.

I'm not Talking about you and Me at the Moment. I am Talking about Politics and about those who are Genuinely Afraid of your ideas, even more so then me. What Makes you Think that just because you Might Succeed at Pulling a Few more Republicans Over to your Corner that the Liberals and Socialists, or even the Independents, are going to Vote in your Direction During the General Election?

I Wonder if you would Find it Odd if I was to Tell you that Freedom can be a very Terrifying Thing and that Perhaps not Everyone in this Country can Handle it. For One Thing, the Weak have to Trust the Strong and Perhaps for some, Trusting the Government is Easier then Trusting the Rich to be Generous enough that there will not be those who Starve to Death in the Streets.

I'm Being Very Real with you Right Now about what I Think the Real Issue is. It's just like Sometimes when you Try and Set an Animal Free, it will Cower in the Corner and to Blame and Accuse of Laziness is not Going to Cause the Necessary Motivation.

If I'm Wrong, you can Correct me, but I really get the Impression over and over again that those who Believe in Removing Government Assistance from the Poor Think they every single one of them is Lazy and is not Trying. I can Scream at the Top of my Lungs that that isn't So and No One Listens.

It is Extremely Hard for the Weak to Admit what it is that's Really Going on inside of them, especially when the World is Full of Judgmental Attitudes and very little actual Love. If the Church really wants to Take Over the Job that the Government is Currently doing, then they are going to have to do a Better job at Earning the Trust of those who are Currently Relying on the Government.

There are a lot of People who have been Let Down by those who should be Showing Love and these Kinds of Hurts are much Deeper then any Annoyance caused by some Silly Government Regulation.

Sigh! I'm Sorry Again, but the Real Problems that Lie Deep within the Human Soul are Rarely ever Addressed.

Grant Davies said...

1. I don't expect avid socialists to understand.

2. I'm glad people who are trying to take my freedoms and rights away to further their goals are afraid of me.

3. I don't want them to compromise with me because I have no interest in compromising my core rights and beliefs.

4. I'm all about throwing strong libertarian beliefs around, it's my rights and the rights of my children and grandchildren I am fighting for, not acceptance by avid socialists.

5. I don't seek to win such people over. I seek to defeat them and thwart their attempts to take my freedom and property for their own purposes.

6. Of course people who are trying to force their immoral system on me are genuinely afraid of my ideas, just as I am afraid of theirs. Many millions have died because of such ideas taking hold. Socialism and fascism are evil.

7.I'm not trying to pull a "few more Republicans" over or anyone else just to win an election. I'm not in the business of politics. I'm all about ideas and concepts and morality.

I seek only to educate people about what the actual choices are and to dispel misconceptions about the freedom philosophy. They can then choose the path they want to pursue.

They can choose the immorality of the redistribution of wealth, or embrace the morality of living in a society where humans can thrive in a non-violent and non-coercive atmosphere.

8.I would be happy to correct you on the impression that those who believe in civil society instead of government redistribution of confiscated wealth (what you call removing government assistance from the poor) think every single one of them is lazy and not trying. But in a large welfare state such as ours, many of them are. I doubt if you will deny that.

9. I find that the "real problems that lie deep within the human soul" are hugely addressed. In churches, hospitals, by writers, and many others interested in morality and humankind. It's possible you are looking in the wrong places. Discussion areas of political blogs are generally the wrong place to find that.

10. There are many more people who have been let down by those who should be showing love to their neighbors instead of using government to take things from others, at gunpoint if necessary, and giving it to others who they personally find more worthy and to whom such things do not rightfully belong.

So think what you will, I have not been trying to change your mind, only you can do that, I have only been trying to disabuse you of the many misconceptions you have been laboring under so you can decide which system you think is morally acceptable to you.

Utopia is not an option.

I have been trying to do this in a very thoughtful and respectful way. I hope I have succeeded. And I have devoted much time and effort to this goal, so now I'm afraid you are on your own. I hope you will continue to enjoy what I write.

I wish you well.

Lista said...

There is a Verse in the Bible that says "14 If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."(I Chronicles 7:14, KJV)

Basically what has been Happening is that, as odd as such Seems, the Government has been doing a Better Job at Times of Earning the Public Trust then the Private Sector. Yeh, I Know that that Sounds Unbelievable, yet if the Private Sector had the Public's Trust, then they would not Keep Voting for Big Government.

Now the Verse that I Quote is Only Directed at Christians and what it Suggests is that if Only the Part of our Country that is Made up of the Christians would Repent and Turn from their Selfishness, this is all that it would Take, or another Way of Viewing this would be, if Only the Christians within the Private Sector would behave Lovingly, rather then Selfishly, then Perhaps the Mistrust of the Private Sector would be Turned Around.

I Guess this is another Way of Saying that we Need to Win People Over with our Behavior and Attitudes and with Our Kindness, not with our Words. This has been Said a Million Times and yet it's not such and Easy Thing to Apply.

Getting Back to the Frightened Animal. Sometimes Love Needs to be Applied Continuously and Repetitively Over a Considerable Period of Time before the Animal Finally Stops Cowering or maybe even Snarling and Finally Warms Up to it's New Owner.

All that was just in response to Number 1 in your Comment. After Writing this, I Scrolled Down and said, "Wow!!". You Wrote more this Time. If it wasn't Christmas Time, I'd Respond to the Rest of it, but as it is, I've Decided instead to Deliver a Biblical Message and then Move on to the Holiday, in Honor of the King of that Message.

You have a Merry Christmas Grant and I'll be Talking to you more after the Holiday.