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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Meet the Democrat's New Constituency: The Unemployed

Lately, I have seen the Democrats crying foul constantly, because Republicans are adverse to voting for extensions for federal unemployment benefits.

It seems the unemployed have become the Democrat's new constituency. They now see it as their job to take money from income earners and redistribute it to those who are not working--making no distinction between those justifiably unemployed and not, following no rules (not even their own), and accepting no boundaries.

The first major example was Sen. Jim Bunning (R. Ky) who blocked an extension months ago. He was attacked relentlessly by Democrats, despite offering a perfectly legitimate explanation, (which mainly was that his obstruction didn't really change anything one way or the other and that the manner of extension violated the Democrat's own "paygo" rule). Recently, the attacks continue.

There are plenty of unemployed people who are truly working hard to get back on their feet and find new jobs, and I have no problem with some redistribution to help them, because helping them helps everybody. However, the research shows clearly, that unemployment welfare prolongs unemployment. Therefore, policy makers may have to actually think a little bit before acting viscerally and blindly to always extend unemployment benefits.

However, are we even surprised? Since the Democrats treat the unemployed as their constituency, they have an incentive to keep people unemployed as much, and as long as possible. In fact, this hearkens back to a long argued point--that Democrats use welfare benefits to keep people needy, purposefully, while they hold themselves out as the champions of the needy. Recently, Michael Barone laid out a strong article, showing the British history of why only those with property were originally given the right to vote--mainly because they knew that those without property would vote to take property from those who had it. Barone's argument was that the US never had such a problem because most people, even the poor, owned property. So therefore, US citizens have always been less likely to vote to redistribute property.

We see this problem persist in unemployment benefits. The Democrats encourage high burdens on business, whether that be through straight taxation or high regulatory compliance costs. This drives up unemployment because it makes jobs more expensive, and the expense of jobs more unpredictable. When something is more expensive, there is less of it. This is why the US had high unemployment throughout the FDR presidency, and why unemployment remains high today.

Once they drive up unemployment, they then hold themselves out as the saviors of the unemployed. They wag their fingers at Republicans for objecting to the whole cycle.

But even Republicans relent on this issue far more than they get credit for. For example, in the recent unemployment extension battle, Republicans proposed a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits with TARP funds, but Democrats would not vote for it.

This is part of a larger pattern for Democrats. They use poll-tested-rhetoric that we all can be comfortable with, for example "helping the needy," or "taxing only the rich." However, "the needy" seem to become virtually anybody, and so do the rich. For example, if you make over $250,000 and you lost your home through mortgage foreclosure by taking a loan you couldn't afford. In this case, given your income, the Democrats have designated you as "the rich," upon which, you are a distributor of wealth, in their redistribution of wealth schemes. At the same time, you are "needy" because you "lost your home through no fault of your own," and in this case, you are a distributee.

And the examples abound. It seems the definition of who is rich and needy grows and grows.

I would propose that we be more disciplined in defining our terms. Just because something bad happened to you, does not make you needy. Some people are unemployed and temporarily need some help, but some others are just taking advantage of the system. Democrats have been feeding off of American generosity for a long time, and the people are starting to see that its being taken advantage of for their party's greed.

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