Republicans are being condemned for blocking passage of the House bill to extend unemployment benefits. But wait; how can that be when Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Presidency?
The answer is the Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi carried out a strategy of presenting the bill under rules that would assure its failure. A credible claim could then be made that Republicans blocked the bill and cut income off to the unemployed at the start of the holiday season. It was a knight’s move in the game of politics.
Here is how it was done. Under the normal standing rules of the House a bill only needs a simple majority to pass. The bill as it was just presented, garnered 63% of the votes, so under the regular rules, it would have clearly passed the House. Two special rules had to be invoked to assure the bill’s timely failure. First of all, amendment proposals were disallowed, and second, a special rule requiring a supermajority for passage was invoked. With these two moves Speaker Pelosi engineered the failure of the bill.
One more step was taken to insure solid Republican voting against the bill. The cost wasn’t funded. It was stipulated that new borrowing be undertaken to meet the cost.
Surely it must be less than 1% of the public that is familiar with the Rules of the House. The press is little more aware of the intricacies of the rules and how they can be employed strategically. The watch dog is asleep. There could be little fear the public would see the ploy. But the fact remains, only the Democrats had the power to kill the bill. This they did. It was an action against the interests of their constituency taken for political gain and the public is none the wiser.
Thanks for your comment, Ed. You argue that unemployment comp is a good thing. We agree. So is water, but not when it is a flood.
Your data is from a good source, but measuring human behavior is an inexact science necessarily replete with assumptions, including reversals of cause and effect. For 7 years I was an employer of 5 or 6 semi skilled workers and found about 1 in 5 who gamed the system. The first six weeks were probationary for new employees. The employer was not penalized for a dismissal and the employee could not go back on unemployment compensation on the basis of a job held less than 6 weeks.
About 1 in 5 would be saints for the first 6 weeks, then on the 7th not show up for work until Tuesday. Performance would steadily decline until they were given the “pink slip’ needed to qualify for unemployment comp again. Legitimate work with payroll deductions was a purgatory they periodically went thru to refresh their eligibility to remain on the dole. Did your source measure that?
Stimulating comment Ed, but you didn’t address the topic of the post. What do you think of Pelosi’s ploy?
“During each quarter of the recent recession, UI benefits kept an average of 1.6 million Americans on the job.”
How so? As an employer, I am more inclined to lay someone off if necessary knowing they have the safety net of unemployment benefits. That decision would be much more difficult to make and probably delayed longer if there were no such benefit available.
“UI benefits averted 1.8 million job losses and kept the unemployment rate approximately 1.2 percentage points lower.”
Exactly how do you measure “averted” job losses?
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the findings of a multi-year study of the impact of the Unemployment Insurance program in stabilizing the economy during a deep recession. The study was commissioned by the department and undertaken by IMPAQ International LLC and the Urban Institute.
Using UI data and the proprietary economic model from Moody’s Economy.com, researchers studied how gross domestic product, employment and other economic variables would have performed without the increase in regular UI benefits; federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation; and Extended Benefits, including the offsetting effect of the payroll taxes that pay for UI.
Thanks to the aggressive, bipartisan effort to expand UI benefits and increase eligibility during both the Bush and Obama administrations, the Unemployment Insurance program had an even more positive impact on the economy than in previous recessions.
Among the key findings:
For every dollar spent on UI, economic activity increases by two dollars.
During each quarter of the recent recession, UI benefits kept an average of 1.6 million Americans on the job.
At the height of the recession, UI benefits averted 1.8 million job losses and kept the unemployment rate approximately 1.2 percentage points lower.
UI benefits reduced the fall in GDP by 18 percent. Nominal GDP was $175 billion higher in 2009 than it would have been without UI benefits. In total, unemployment insurance kept GDP $315 billion higher from the start of the recession through the second quarter of 2010.
“Unemployment insurance is one of the best investments we can make, not only for the millions of people that utilize UI benefits to provide for their families in a time of need, but for the millions more whose jobs are kept secure because of the stabilizing effect it has on our economy as a whole,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.