Congress fails to pass another extension of unemployment benefits. I’ve been self-employed for most of my adult life and thus ineligible for unemployment benefits. That status has certainly caused me great consternation from time to time over the years but it also kept me employed or looking for employment all that time.
On the other hand, I knew folks who built their lives around unemployment. Construction workers, for example, who worked nine months a year and vacation in Florida on unemployment checks during the winter when they were “laid off”. Some of these folks were my friends, but I resented their laziness, even if it was paid for by their employer and, through reduced wages, themselves.
But why do we have such a bifurcated system? Why do we self-employed pay full freight on social security, Medicaid, etc. and have no unemployment insurance while salaried employees don’t? If we can make do without those benefits, why can’t they, and vice versa?
It seems to me that this is a good time to revisit the whole employment benefit package and eliminate a number of programs that serve only to encourage slothfulness and greed. We should be prodding people back to work, not prolonging their idleness.